The “B” people group were the original tribal people in a region later overrun by foreign invaders. The “B” people speak a distinctive language and have a strong sense of ethnic identity which has been repressed by the invaders who have now occupied the region for a long period of time. There may be as many as 20 million “B” people though no one is certain due to government repression and intermarriage between the various groups in the region.
The region, following hundreds of years of influence of the invaders is strongly Islamic. In fact, 99% of the population, both the original “B” people as well as others would call themselves Muslims.
The region has recently become independent following a long period of colonial rule. The new government is trying to encourage modernization within a “progressive” Islamic context though Muslim fundamentalists are creating considerable pressure on the government leadership.
Missionary work, though extremely difficult, has been underway in the region for at least fifty years. However, only a few converts are known to exist. Due to Islamic and political repression, the few small fellowships of believers meet secretly in private homes and live in a constant climate of fear and persecution. The few national leaders that have begun to emerge do not have very good relations between themselves due lack of communication, mistrust, and lack of modeling of unity by expatriates.
A “B” people Partnership focused on evangelism and church planting is being considered. Preliminary research in the region has revealed the following:
One ministry is involved in Scripture translation. A second is committed to developing radio programs for the people groups, a third is doing literature production and has mounted a Bible correspondence course which is promoted by radio and leaflets distributed in the country. Two other ministries have a total of six missionaries “on the ground” in “tentmaking” roles. However, so far, these missionaries have been learning the language and progress has been slow — with limited success in establishing effective relationships with the local people.
There are several other groups that are beginning to work in the region or are planning various forms of outreach. There is limited contact by the mission agencies with the handful of emerging national leaders.
Your mission has loaned you to the region for an initial period of two years to explore a possible working partnership among these ministries for more effective outreach. Initially, the partnership felt the greatest need was for better information on the people group, the needs in the region, and the opportunities for witness which these needs might provide. You believe you have a full inventory of the ministries in the region; what they are doing; and, who is providing leadership in each case. However, there is a lingering sense that there may be more activity that is presently known.
Assignment – Developing An Effective Evangelism/Church Planting Partnership:
- What do you need to know about the social, political, economic, ethnic, and spiritual factors in the country?
- What are the initial practical steps you need to take to turn the possibility of partnership into reality?
- What are the most likely challenges or roadblocks you feel you will face in exploring and/or seeing a partnership effectively launched?
- What are the two or three absolutely essential things that must happen before you feel you can call the ministries together to seriously, prayerfully consider the partnership option?
- What will you, personally, have to do, step by step, to turn this vision into reality – your personal activity?
- What will be the primary personal qualities and skills that you will need to have and actively use to effectively undertake this vision?
- What would be your projected plan for moving from dream to reality: identify key steps and a likely timetable?
- If you are successful in getting a majority of the existing ministries ‘around the table’ to pray and talk about the potential of such a partnership, what would be your plan for this meeting: Define the main elements, a draft possible schedule, and overall objectives.