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Finding the Right Cultural Mix

Ghanaian leader helps African immigrant church in Maryland rebound.

A season of adversity left Miracle Temple Assembly of God of Silver Spring, Maryland, with a dwindling number of attendees and a pastoral vacancy. The situation presented a unique set of challenges because the congregation’s primary demographic is African immigrants. The Potomac Ministry Network attempted to fill the pastoral vacancy with an Anglo pastor, but soon realized that Miracle Temple needed a leader who could understand and meet the congregation’s cultural needs.

The Potomac Ministry Network summoned Samuel K. Asiedu to find a new pastor for Miracle Temple. Asiedu, 63, is president of the African Assemblies of God Fellowship, USA, responsible for helping African congregations that fall on hard times. After evaluating Miracle Temple’s needs, Asiedu knew that George Gyasi-Baaye, 58, would be the right fit for the struggling congregation.

“He is an effective leader and an effective preacher,” says Asiedu. “He delivers the Word of God clearly.” Gyasi-Baaye’s dynamic ministry style and his humble, family-oriented personality are the qualities that Miracle Temple needs.

Bringing hope to difficult situations is familiar territory for Gyasi-Baaye, who spent more than 20 years ministering to undocumented immigrants in Israel. Gyasi-Baaye migrated from his native Ghana in West Africa to Israel so that he could study for his master’s degree. During his studies, Gyasi-Baaye had an encounter with God that would alter the course of his life.

“God spoke to me that if I were to remain faithful to him, He would make me a fisher of men,” says Gyasi-Baaye, who attended church only sporadically at the time even though he grew up in a God-fearing family. “Being a pastor was the farthest thing from my mind.”

At first, Gyasi-Baaye did not know what to do with the message God gave him, so he prayed. Soon, several people shared Scriptures and prophetic words with him that God used to confirm the sense of calling. He left graduate school and enrolled in an Assemblies of God Bible college in Israel.

After graduating, Gyasi-Baaye began an evangelistic ministry. However, no longer being a student, he couldn’t renew his visa in Israel and himself became an undocumented immigrant. Eventually, he benefited from new policies that allowed undocumented persons to achieve legal status.

The change in immigration status opened the door for Gyasi-Baaye to enter the United States legally almost five years ago after accepting an associate pastor position at Jesus Power Assembly of God in Columbus, Ohio. Gyasi-Baaye, who received his AG ordination last year through the Ohio Ministry Network, served as associate pastor and outreach director at Jesus Power when he received the call from Asiedu.

Since Gyasi-Baaye arrived at Miracle Temple a year ago, the church has stabilized.

Ally Henny

Chicago-based Ally Henny is a writer, speaker, minister, and vice president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, an organization committed to encouraging, engaging, and empowering Black Christians. She has her Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary with an emphasis in race, cultural identity, and reconciliation,