Moving Out with the Gospel

By Davud Pumaya

Gospel in Life is privileged to share stories from Redeemer City to City (CTC)—stories of gospel-changed lives and communities (like the one below). Gospel in Life is a ministry of CTC, which was co-founded by Tim Keller. CTC exists to multiply churches and Christian leaders committed to a shared vision for gospel movements in the great cities of the world. Through a worldwide network of regional affiliates, CTC accomplishes this by training, coaching and equipping local leaders and pastors to start and strengthen churches and initiatives that serve the flourishing of their cities. Please pray that God will continue to bring about gospel change through this worldwide network of leaders and trainers. To learn more, visit their website: redeemercitytocity.com.

David Pumaya has started churches and pastored in the rural areas of the Northern Region in Ghana since 2015. He and his wife live in the city of Tamale, but had never sought to minister in the city until the pandemic. Tamale is Ghana’s third most populous city and the fastest growing city in West Africa. We had the opportunity to ask David about their work in Tamale and how a connection with CTC Africa has changed everything.

What prompted you to turn your ministry focus to your home city of Tamale?
D:
In 2020, I had a growing conviction about reaching out to the city, because I realized that reaching the city meant reaching the entire surrounding area. Tamale is the capital of Northern Ghana. We have a lot of people traveling in from many other parts of the Northern Region to this place to look for livelihood. COVID-19 also played a part. It became difficult to travel to the rural areas, and because we were coming from the city, villages didn’t want us to come for fear we would carry the virus. So as we were at home in Tamale, thinking and praying about what to do in this season, we realized the gospel is very much needed in the heart of the city. So we said, “Let’s start working here and see what God will do.”

Sam Boateng, a catalyst for CTC Africa, heard about David through a friend and invited him to a three-day Immersion event, hosted by CTC Africa and held in Accra, that focused on the gospel, city and movement.

Tell us about your experience with the Immersion training.
D: The Immersion training was God’s way of removing the uncertainty of city ministry. I had been doing ministry without a structure, without any ministry design. I now know what I have to do. I am no longer stressed. I know what message I have to put across. It also helped develop my personal spiritual self in the aspect of the gospel. We studied a lot on the gospel: rediscovering the gospel, gospel renewal, contextualization and ministry design. And I’m so thankful to God for that.

Finally, I used to mostly preach the gospel from Matthew, but the Immersion training changed the way I’m able to present the gospel from Genesis to Revelation. We are a Muslim-dominated area, and this is our target group. Returning from the Immersion, I sat with my leadership team to determine our target group, and it’s the Muslim community. So presenting the gospel from the Old Testament really helps someone who is Muslim relate to what I’m saying, because they are familiar with those stories in the Quran. I’m now able to explain how to see Jesus in the Noah story. And I see more Muslims responding to the gospel. Some of them will say, “We’ve never heard the gospel preached this way.” And I say, “Well, I also just learned it.” And I’m not seeing the same hostility toward the gospel. When I begin to pick up the stories, they are able to flow with me. Some of them will even narrate parts of it for me, only for them to realize that Christ is in all of these things.

Some of them will even narrate parts of it for me, only for them to realize that Christ is in all of these things.

You mentioned “rediscovering the gospel.” Can you talk more about that?
D: The gospel really had an impact on my personal life before the people of Tamale experienced it. And I think that’s the essence of the gospel. It must have its way in us. And I really never got the gospel in that context. I also learned that the gospel is not only meant for the unsaved. I thought once you are saved, you move on to other things. But I realized that no, you never graduate from the gospel. Graduation from the gospel means deviation. And one of the things I can’t forget is that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. If the gospel is the power of God, what can I do so that it’s released unto the land, through the ears and to the hearts of the people of Tamale? And that’s where we have been focusing. That is the only tool.

I understand you’ve already seen the gospel exported from Tamale.
D: We met with a woman from the Upper East Region of Ghana. We met her with the gospel. She decided to give her life completely to Jesus. And now she has moved back to her hometown and is moving out with the gospel. Now she has started a church in that area. This is the whole idea we got from the CTC Immersion, that when you reach these people, they go back with the impact of the gospel. And once the impact of the gospel is taken anywhere, then there’s the possibility of breaking the ground there. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
D: One of the things I realized is that most people are giving up on the land of Tamale. And when we started this work in the city, we were not so sure. But I have begun seeing things differently. I’m riding through town and all I’m seeing are lost sheep without a shepherd. That has not been the way I viewed Tamale. I viewed them as very difficult people, hard-hearted people. And I realized that wouldn’t have gotten us anywhere. But everything has changed. I don’t see them as hopeless. When Jesus saw the multitude, he had compassion. I think that love that brings compassion has taken over our hearts.

I thought once you are saved, you move on to other things. But I realized that no, you never graduate from the gospel.

And now we’re beginning to pray on how we can reach the other cities around the Northern Region. So we don’t just rest in Tamale alone. We have Wa, which is the capital city of Upper West. We have Bolgatanga, which is the capital city of Upper East. I’ve made two moves to these two cities, just to get to know the kind of people, get to know the kind of churches, what the churches are targeting, so that it could inform us as to what to do for these cities as well. These are some other plans we are trusting God for. I can’t forget the CTC Immersion training in 2021.

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