Wednesday, 17 October 2018 04:23

Passion and Fruitfulness: Church Planting in Africa

Women worship in a central African church. Women worship in a central African church.

Oumar1 is an unlikely church planter. Born into an Islamic family among one of the least-reached people groups, he was the son of the village witch doctor. As a youth, he entered the military trusting in amulets to keep him safe. At one point he was falsely accused of murder and imprisoned. That’s where God met him.

Oumar heard the gospel and responded while he was incarcerated. After his release from prison, Oumar attended the Bible Institute (which is now the James Gribble Leadership Training Center) and received training to become an evangelist.

Since his conversion, Oumar had a heart for the least-reached people groups around him, particularly the one he grew up in.

Following his graduation, Oumar has worked among unreached peoples in his area, particularly Muslim cattle herders. He has worked hard, together with his wife, to learn the language and culture so he can make disciples among those who would otherwise not hear the gospel. The strategy is simple: invest in the lives of individuals, share God's word, disciple like Jesus, start cell groups, and then continue to coordinate and support the cell groups as they grow in their knowledge of the Bible.

The area where Oumar and his family live and work as church planters have experienced civil war and persecution. Even now, he and his new converts face some opposition. He does all he can to protect them, even as he also works to support his family and continues his education at the school of missiology.

Oumar and other African pastors work hard with courage and love.

They oversee the evangelism and church planting efforts of the Charis Fellowship in the Central African Republic—Charis is a church network partner of Encompass. They seek to bring the gospel and a biblical worldview to a deeply ingrained animistic culture through small-scale disciple-making ventures and Bible teaching hoping that every new disciple will share the gospel with their neighbor resulting in a catalytic movement of faith.

Similar church planting efforts are going on in Chad, Cameroon, and other areas in Africa. In Chad, more than 100 churches have been planted with over 100 "points of light" in existence, and over 100 local evangelists are currently at work—all of them trained at the School for Evangelism begun in partnership with Encompass World Partners in 1999. In Cameroon, there are over 40 new churches with 38 points of light, all the work of ten trained evangelists and their colleagues who have studied and graduated from the Bible Institute in Yaounde. Encompass has contributed to the strategy and teaching, and God has produced the fruit.

Director of Africa Frank Puhl summarizes the church-planting movement in Africa this way: “People are going where there is no light, the least-reached zones, and finding open doors. The gospel well preached and taught . . . and disciple-making the way Jesus intended it, produces much fruit. It is exciting to see.”

What Oumar and evangelists like him need is partners like you. The SAM project—short for “Send-A-Missionary”—connects financial partners in the West with Encompass evangelists in Chad, the Central African Republic, and Cameroon. A little goes a long way. In the Central African Republic, it takes only $14 to support the ministry of one national evangelist for one day. In Cameroon, it costs just $6 per day.

 

Consider This

How will you invest in these courageous, self-sacrificing evangelists and their work among least-reached peoples in their African neighborhoods? To learn more and give online, visit EncompassWorldPartners.org/Africa.

1 Pseudonym used due to the sensitive nature of this individual's ministry.