Welcome To Street Church: The social media page using street language to preach the gospel

You might have come across those yellow and black images on social media platforms that feature Bible passages laced in pidgin English and slangs.

From Instagram stories to Whatsapp status updates, the images courtesy of Street Church, a Nigerian religious group, often go viral as they preach the good news with a mix of street cred.

Created on February 22, Street Church’s motto is “the gospel according to the street.” And many Nigerians on social media are relating to that.

Every morning, as people crawl out of bed, they start their day with the Bible passages which are shared alongside expressions very common among Nigerians, often in Pidgin English.

“The idea is to church the unchurched,” ‘Tobi Oreoluwa, a creative entrepreneur and founder of Street Church, told TheCable.

“We want to reach people that would normally not want to relate with the church or have related with the church in the past but lost touch.”

Less than a month after its emergence, it has become the fancy of many, including non-Nigerians.

On Thursday morning, the day’s gospel was taken from Ephesians 2:8-9, which talks about God’s saviour of mankind.

“Na tree near tree, no be say Monkey sabi fly,” Street Church had told its more than 70,000 followers at the time, driving home the message as best as it could.

One hour after the post went up at 7:35 am, it generated over 5,000 interactions; seven hours later, about 18,000 people have engaged it. And the impression keeps increasing rapidly.

“Kilode streetchurchh… I tuale for you ooo,” a user writing via @qayblaq01 tweeted in response.

“You make me come to Twitter every morning just to see what my yellow and black community will have for me and community people. Well done guys. I love you.”

David Agunowei, another user, could not also hide his excitement: “You guys are wonderful. I always anticipate your posts every day because it helps me a lot. The Bible has become so easy to relate to. Thanks again guys and keep doing the good work.”

Since its first gospel shared on February 22, Street Church has posted 27 more Bible passages, one day at a time.

The message on Wednesday was “weyrey dey disguise”, in reference to 2 Corinthians 11:14 which reads: “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

An Instagram user commenting on the post via @leelee_alison wrote: “You all make reading the Bible so much fun.”

And that, Oreoluwa said, is exactly what he sought to achieve with the platform.


Oreoluwa, the face behind Street Church

Running Street Church with a team of four, he admitted that “it is mind-blowing” how the platform has grown in such a short while, gaining more than 120,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram in less than a month.

“It started a few years back during my personal devotion. The idea came to my mind that instead of just reading the Bible, why not put it in slangs and street expressions?” the writer told TheCable.

“I understand street culture very well; I am very conversant with the street. So, I sat back and decided to start doing something with my Bible in a different form that I can really understand.

“Then I would take a street slang and find a Bible verse that suits it. So, I started using that in my devotion. From there, I started putting it on my Instagram story and a lot of people engaged with it.”

From there, he started uploading the posts via Instagram, which was welcomed by many people.

He described what he felt then as a “cultural re-engineering” although his updates were still unsteady until February 2018 when everything changed.

“Before, I didn’t want to go all out on it but I got an instruction to do so in February 2018. And if you get an instruction like that, you don’t joke with it,” he said.

After that instruction, Oreoluwa began working on a more stable platform with a steady online presence. And, less than a month after Street Church was created, both Christians, Muslims and other groups have fallen in love with the idea.


He told TheCable that some of those reaching out to them are non-Christians with many others from outside Nigeria. 

“We get a lot of DMs from people thanking us. We get DMs from different countries – Sierra Leone, UK, Ireland. A lot of people thanking us and saying you’ve brought us close to home,” he said, excited at the prospects that lie ahead.

On Twitter, while responding to an update from Street Church on Wednesday, a user identified as Toheeb said that although he is a Muslim, “I so much love this handle and their content.”

Another user writing via @TobiAdeyeme recently said: “My Muslim friends are sharing daily updates from the @streetchurchh on Whatsapp. It is beautiful.”

Today is Saturday and the day’s message from Street Church is taken from Romans 6:1-2.

Its gospel according to the street says: “O wrong nau!“, in reference to how the gospel admonishes sinners not to take God’s grace for granted.

Post a Comment