Daniel LinsㅣUnity in Mission
2:38PM Dec 18, 2020
Jonathan J. Armstrong
unreached people groups
Well, I work with two organizations, one is called UnfoldingWord. And there are primarily focused on helping church networks to translate scripture for themselves and empowering that process. And another network that I work with is called Operation Agape, based in India, and through them, I help in a variety of ways, and one of them is in research. And so if I can just share, "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me that they may be one even as we are one." So, I want to talk briefly about unity movements, and then open it up for some discussion and question and answer. And these are specifically indigenous unity movements, unity movements among church networks in the countries that I've been working in and traveling with. Just briefly introduction, I want to share four stories one about a Chadian executive committee who came together a second about a South Sudanese consult- consultative body and a third about an Indian network that I've been working with Associated Ministries along with that, and then fourthly a Singaporean prayer Alliance. And then I'll make some observations and conclusions and perhaps we can discuss. So really, I come with the perspective that I want to share what I've been learning and seeing, and then even perhaps, ask, if you all or your networks have been seeing similar things. So when I see, I believe, is a trend that I believe the Holy Spirit is doing. But I'm curious if you're also seeing this trend, and then perhaps we can discuss what does this mean for global ministry? I spoke to one mission leader and I asked him, Why is this happening? And he said to me, this is literally the Father answering the Sons prayer from John 17, before He sends his Son back. He said he had no other answer than that. So I just wanted to review, Jesus's high priestly prayer, "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me that they may be one even as we are one. And I believe we're seeing this begin to happen in the world. So in the winter of 2019, I had a gracious invitation to attend a workshop in Jimena in Chad. And this was an invitation by a Chadian and group called PCET, P C E T program for the growth of the church in Chad. And they were engaged in some Bible translation, sorry, translation of Bible stories as an entry strategy to reach unreached tribes in their nation. So you're probably familiar with the Joshua Project. Here's one of their maps for Chad. Chad has about 50, even maybe up to 70, unengaged, unreached people groups, and about 26% of them are Christian. So most of them, as you see from Joshua Project Map are in the south, and in the north, are the Muslims. So I went there, and I came into firsthand contact with a group of men, about eight Muslim tribes who came into town for this translation workshop. And they were working alongside Christians from the city to translate Bible stories into their own languages, only a few of them were believers, maybe even just one or or not even one from each group. But they were invited by the Christians to do a job. And so they came. Now this was an economic relationship that was there, the Christian group had invited them to do the translation, and they were actually paying the men to come in. And so I got to connect with a number of these men most of these in the pictures are, are Muslims. And as I work with them, you know, being in the field of Bible translation, that's my field. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that these Muslims were doing translation of Christian material. And so I began to investigate. And I had an opportunity to speak with their strategic leader who was kind of the COO of the mission organization there. And he brought me into his office and he said, Daniel, you know, we have an eventual goal to reach all the Muslim tribes of our country. And he showed me their plan. This is a photo from it. And he said, this translation work that we're doing is an entry strategy. It allows us Christians to have contact with the Muslims. Apparently, they have an entire plan for church planting that begins with the envision includes entry strategy, which includes medical and water. And that's how they're going to link up and have contact with these guys. And then it goes to evangelism strategy, which includes the Jesus film and others. And then effective discipleship and establishing churches. So this strategy is comprehensive. And as I sat there, I looked at the building that they had another page that the map that they've that they've done, and some of the ethnic groups that they've targeted. And, and I looked at the building, and I said, How did they get all this stuff? Because as you know, Chad has a very poor nation, the church in Chad is poor. It's primarily agricultural. And so I asked him, and he said to me, Daniel, this, this body that you see here, he said, PCET is the fruit of 22 different denominations in Chad, coming together with a common vision of reaching their nation for Christ. And he began to explain these 22 denominations represent about 98% of the Christians in Chad, that's significant, because most of the Christians in Chad are part of mainline denominations. And he said, this comes on the wings of two years of prayer of these denominations. And they crossed the denominational borders, they said, We want to reach out to the unengaged unreached peoples, in our, in our nation. So it's very broadly represented, I said, How did this come together. And he gave me some more names. I followed them up, eventually, I got to their top leader. And I had a chance to speak with him. And he also connected me with a man from Christian aid, one of the leaders there, and, and I got to interview David as well. And so he said to me, you know, Daniel, there was one leader, I'll call him Robert for security, he really had a lot of influence. And, Robert, just to share a little bit of his story, he was very well connected in the political levels in chat. In fact, he was very close friends with the President. But I one point, there was an investigation, some kind of allegations, in a governmental structure, and he was part of a investigative body to, which actually exposed some stuff, and because he had to flee the country, for his life. But in that process, he this may maintain his integrity, and developed a lot of rapport with the churches. And so because of that, influence in the governmental system, he was able to pull together these 22 different denominations. And he helped to unify them into a core team, where they, each one devoted a person from their leadership to be part of this core team, this kind of board, if you will, which then elected an executive committee to accomplish their work. And so this executive committee was what I what I had come in contact with. So they formed this body, excuse me, this was about four years ago. And then, four years ago, Robert, approached Christian aid. And he said, Hey, can you help us? Here's our goal. This is what we've done as a unity movement, can you help us to reach that? And at that point, they asked for resources. And just to show kind of a summary, that's how it started. At this point in 2020. There are many people from these red dot groups that have come to Christ. At this point, the strong relationships are growing. And the work is proceeding but it's slow, right? Probably they're in a stage of tilling the ground right now. And in fact, Bible translation, sorry, Bible story translation is proceeding and the churches are continuing to growing to grow. So I just wanted to notice some trends or some some bullet points here from this story. One is unified prayer. We saw that they were praying together for two years. Prior to the inception of this committee, two is unity, a unity movement grew across denominational lines. At three is there was a leader in that system, who had cross disciplinary influence by that I mean I'm talking about this man I call Robert who had a lot of influence he was well known in the community and and widely recognized as a man of reputation and integrity. Next, they came together behind behind a common mission. And in this case, it was a great commission vision to reach every unengaged, unreached people group in their, in their country with the gospel and plant churches there. That resulted in unified action. As we saw, they were doing translation in eight different languages, they had targeted, another 10 at that point. And they were they were doing other entry strategies as well, including medical camps and water wells and other things to reach these Muslims. And then it resulted, or it is resulting now in significant impact. So I just want to kind of catalyzed our thinking as I go through these next few stories to be looking for these, these bullets. The second story I want to share in the spring of 2019, I had a great opportunity. I was invited, along with the president of unfolding word gave rise to join a conference in South Sudan. in Juba there, and this, this conference was called Mach-4 like speed of light for MACC. But it was really an association of local churches, and church planting organizations along with some mission organizations, from the area in Sudan and surrounding Sudan. And I remember sitting there in the blistering heat, sweating every ounce of liquid out from my body. And, and beginning to see this great vision that these local men had, and women, men and women. So just just a peek at the Joshua project, looking at the reached and run unreached people groups in this region. Now in the south, of course, in South Sudan, you have a lot of Christians, but in the north, many of them are still largely unreached. As you see those red dots signify less than 2% are believers. So keep in mind, this is on the wings of the Civil War. That was there, many of the people in Sudan had been, as it was explained to me, many of their families, they've had family members killed, or even they themselves have have killed, and many of them are suffering from the trauma of that. So it's a very wounded and traumatized country. And it's, as you notice, it's right there in that kind of regional conflict in the Sahel region between the northern Muslim and the southern, largely Christian part of Africa. And so they put the map up, they told me their story. And now I had been invited along with my--, here's another map of their- of Sudan, with the languages that are there, just kind of some research that they had done to map out the different language groups that were there. And they had 149, in combined Sudan and South Sudan that they identified. So this was their idea that they wanted to reach their nation. And this was their desire to do Bible translation for their people. So as we were invited, unfolding word, as part of that process, the Bible translation process, but I was I was there, I began to learn more about the history of this program. And it turns out that these, there was a there was another influential man named James, who was Sudanese. And at one point, he connected with a man named David from Nigeria, who had worked in ministry all his life, he was very strongly connected across Africa, and including some ministries in the US, including Finishing the Task. And I believe 2414, and some others. And David had worked with these Sudanese leaders to develop this vision of bringing churches together across denominational lines. So I was attending Mach-4 the fourth conference. And the first one, they had a list of all the ethnic groups in Sudan and South Sudan. And they presented this to the church leaders. Now I'm talking about the the Sudanese leaders presented it to the other Sudanese leaders. And perhaps that list came from finishing the task group, I'm not sure. But they said, Hey, which ones of these ethnic groups already have church presence? And secondly, what ethnic groups do we know of in our territory that are not on this list that should be perhaps that don't have church presence. And so during that year, the different churches got together, and they did their own field research, and they came back the following year with their lists. And in this picture I have you can actually see that pink sheet that's in the background there behind the speakers. That's a list of which church denominations have adopted, which ethnic groups? And so that was the second. That was the second year. And so they came back and they said, Okay, let's adopt these groups and different church networks will send resources evangelists, church planters, pastors to these groups, to endeavor to establish a church presence. And so they did. So many people went, so I got to listen to story after story, almost every one of these people in this room stood up and gave the reports amazing reports of miraculous workings of God, where in many cases, excuse me, the Lord had gone ahead of them to these villages and done miracles and showed visions to the chieftains or to the to the witch doctors who were there in advance of the arrival of these evangelists. So they came back and they reported. And then in Mach-3, they had an update, and they did it again. And they said, how's this going? So So for these first three years, they they did a process of identification, adoption of these people groups. And then in the fourth year, which is the one that I attended, they, they had a new focus on international partnership. And they invited mission agencies and resourcing partners, to their conference to see how they could expand the work. They said, We can do this better together, then we can do it alone. So that's how I got invited, along with numerous other partners. And while I was there, I learned that there were more than 25 different denominations, local denominations who are there represented, and they had adopted more than 45, unreached, unengaged people groups. And, of course, you saw the slide more than 140 languages that they were considering. So now these two examples that I share, they're not the only ones in Africa, I spoke with the Christian aid contact, he said a similar thing, as what's happening in Chad is also happening in Mali, to the north, where they have even fewer Christians. And that's actually connected to a resourcing partner as well called Samaritan's Purse, many are you familiar. I've heard of other examples of this in Nigeria, northeast Nigeria, and then also in Madagascar, among church planting networks as well. So third story that I want to share is in India, where I've been working primarily, it's maybe you could call associated ministries is the church network, they have more than 100 different ministries connected to them. So the one that I'm most connected with is called Operation Agape. Operation love, as many of you know, or some of you know, at least, Andy might know, we had a Bible translation project there that just happened over the last few years ended in in March last year, which was very successful where the local church network translated 12 New Testaments on their own and with outside help. And so, Operation got they also started as a prayer network. It started in Punjab in northern India. During the height of the terrorism movement, there was a Sikh attempted rebellion, where there's a lot of killing, shootings, bombings, many people died, a number of train cars were set on fire with people in them. And the Christians got together. And they they said, the only way we're going to have peace in our country is through prayer. So the churches of Punjab, unified and they prayed for the peace. And as they began meeting and having these committees that were meeting, they realized, really, the only thing that's going to bring true peace is the Holy Spirit of the Living God. And so they organized an evangelism campaign, where many of the churches gathered together and over the course of a short period of time, they distributed tracts and went really doing door to door evangelism in the villages. And they shared I forget the number, but it was something something hugely like a million or some. Some hundreds of thousands of people heard the gospel all within one year. Really incredible. But out of that many people came to the Lord and and they started a house church planting movement. And so that's that's actually grown into tens of thousands of house churches, not only in Punjab, but across the north of India. And started just have a photo that they shared with I mean, these are some of the early leaders who started this. And then just a quick picture of, we had this dedication, and it's just very wonderful fruit that's happened over the last 30 years of this church planting, movement and 100 plus associated ministries that are involved. I had a privilege to attend this. And at this conference, more than 600 pastors, that the photo here is, is they're all pastors and church planters, more then 600 attended, and they do that twice a year. So one of the founders of this, just to mention, it had a his background as a medical physician. And he was very well known neurologists. So he also had an influence across another stream as well. So this is the one I've been working with for about three years. And it's really grown. There are others connected to this as well. In fact, it's grown into that we just mentioned there across 18 states of India, including Nepal, and Bhutan, they they're working and not just targeting but they have churches in 110, unreached, unengaged people groups, now they're Of course engaged. But, but the work is continuing just to share some of the impact of that. Out of that, and and some of the leaders that were connected to that there was a similar or maybe you could say, a second stage unity movement that they call united, Christian prayer for India. And that that grew across a number of denominations, including the Catholics, including many of the Pentecostal and the house church movements as well, including Baptist, Methodist, you see there, so that more than 10 million believers across India are represented in this group, they've done a lot of effort to kind of politically maneuver among the leadership in the church. And they've had a lot of success over the last four years. So some of their action items are to pray for the nation and preach the Great Commission, obviously, and the different church networks and denominations adopt districts or areas, they hold meetings together, they organize a day of prayer, and they mobilize their people. This is in the church networks. They're mobilizing the normal people to share the gospel. here's just some a picture of one of the recent meetings that they had hundreds of leaders, these are all, maybe you could say apa stalock leaders or denominational leaders who met. And they've had a lot of success since 2014. The one on the on the bottom there is in from 2017, hundreds of leaders showed up to this. So out of that, I just I spoke with the one of the leaders of that last week. And he said to me, you know, Daniel, our goal this year is to start a campaign over the next 10 years to increase the Christian population in India from 2.3%, Christian to 10%, and maybe even 20%, if they can through church planting, and, and focused evangelism by the churches in this network. So that's their goal. We'll see if it happens. A fourth story I want to share is about a Singaporean prayer alliance. And I don't have as much data on this. But I was speaking with one of the leaders, I had an opportunity I was invited to a meeting of global leaders in the church. Many of these are denominational leaders, and they come to this network for the purpose of really of networking, it's and synergizing actually the name of one of their conferences synergize. But while I was there, I met a man named Eddie Chen Singh- is from season one in the front speaking there. And he told me about a prayer movement that had started back in 1991. In Singapore, were started with about 10. Leaders pastors in their in their various churches, and they got together and they wanted to reach their nation. And so they began to work together with their churches, and organize these prayer movements. And now in Singapore, the government, according to Eddie, the government has, is very uncomfortable with with large meetings, especially in the street, and they wanted to do a prayer walk in the city. And so what they did, they called it a charity walk and different churches in different regions would walk around the city and do charity. And they would ask people what they need. He shared with me one story some young people went up to a police officer in the street who's directing traffic and they asked him if he needed prayer and other people These officers said later reported to one of the one of the leaders, he said, You know, I never, I never in all my years of experience had anyone asked me if they would, if I needed to be prayed for, and much less these young, these young people and other other stories, they would they would go out and clean the public waste, clean the streets in the public parks there. And one woman came to Eddie, not a believer, but she came to him and said, You know, I, I saw the CEO of this local company, outside my my door, and I was so surprised because he's quite famous. And and I walked over to him, I said, What are you doing? He said, Oh, I'm cleaning. I'm cleaning the park. And then he was picking up trash. She was so shocked by that. So this, this network has grown. It's it's called now it's called Pray Singapore, and they're having Pray Singapore 2020. This year, you can search for it online. And it's it's a huge movement that's happened that started with prayer. And I asked Eddie, you know, has this actually had any impact or any change? And he said, Yeah, you know, the Prime Minister joined us a couple years ago. And so we'll see if it results in maybe a church planting movement or something like that, but has had other other positive impact for the church. Oh, here's a Joshua Project Map of Singapore, because you know, it's at the southern tip, very small country. But they do have a lot of foreign workers there that that represent some of those UPGs. So other movements that I've heard of, and some of them directly connected to, but I haven't really worked extensively with them, as I mentioned, Mali and Nigeria. Also, there's a group in Vietnam, that has, has gotten together and committed to reaching the 50 plus, UPGs that are, that are in Vietnam, and another in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan, there's a group actually across a number of this thing stands there. Of course, Nepal, many of you probably are familiar with the associations and Federation's of churches in Nepal, there's another one in Iran that we're working with, and then in the Caribbean, as well, that I know of that, that are similar unity movements. So just some, I wanted to make a few observations and then open up for discussion. Notice some trends, talk a little bit about the impact, mention some of the barriers that I've come in contact with, and then possible takeaways for us as ministry leaders. So to review the trends, unified prayer, people are coming together, praying for the same things. And in a spirit of unity, also, a real movement of communication, even even as Eddie shared To me, this is not just about prayer, or accomplishing a task. This is about friendship in the church, the unity to move across denominational lines. Also, leaders with influence are key types of things, and sometimes from other disciplines outside the church. And then, of course, they come together behind behind a common vision. That's our same vision Great Commission, to fulfill Jesus's commission and then they result in unified action, and have the potential for significant impact, as we saw, now, some of the some of the power of a unity movement of church networks, especially indigenous, is the power to convene. So when you think of a pastor, that pastor has influence in his 100 or 200, or 4000, church, church members and when you get a network of these, they have the ability, huge influence to bring together people. And within those networks are also availability of skills as we saw in in Chad, there was a sound technician. And the one in India, there are Bible translators and consultants, their teachers, administrators, you have as a foreign ministry group coming in having a goal in a country. These types of unity movements are so powerful because of the skill sets that are available within them. Also, there's inherent motivation. The people there have a heart for reaching their nations, and that has huge implications for sustainability and growth and awareness of local needs. Also, of course, the people are local, they're not going to get kicked out. Excuse me, they're not going to get kicked out when things get tough. And they're their families or their, their, their networks, their communities are there. So there, they have a huge motivation to stay and figure out the challenges. Again, local ownership, they know what the needs of their region are, they know how to do it in the most efficient ways culturally appropriate and they will continue it. Some of the barriers, of course, why don't everyone do this? Why don't we see unity movements everywhere, there are real barriers, as we, as I've listened to some of these leaders, and many of them are experienced, you know, mature leaders, and they're 65 year old range, and they have serious wounds from other Christian leaders. Right, this is a major, you know, due to, due to real offenses. And, and sometimes not, not real offensive, but sometimes very legitimate sin against, you know, as we all do, as all Christians, all believers sin against one another. But un-undealt, with wounds also different doctrinal beliefs. Many of us in America, of course, are familiar with those. And then, of course, many of them have fear of losing, you know, sheep stealing, or even losing influence in the community. Of course, you may be able to imagine other other barriers to unity as well, as we see in the United States is very difficult to unify across denominations, some possible takeaways. I will-- alert to these types of movements. As I mentioned, I, my in my brief travels and experience I've been seeing them, I'm curious if you're seeing them too. Second is that if if we as ministry leaders, I know, in this group, there are groups that are sending missionaries, and then also Bible translation focused groups and church planting groups and theological education. Excuse me, if we can access these movements, I believe there's huge potential for significant Kingdom impact long term, and then also potential for our ministries to change in some way to serve them. So at this point, I just want to open it up for discussion. These are some of the things that we can perhaps talk about or, or you can bring up your own your own things.
I can jump in Keri Kennedy with the Jesus Film project, I would say I was been with Jesus film for the past three years and have gone to different network meetings, and have seen denominations working across lines within different areas, seeing the Sehel network work together, seeing Vision Five-Nine work together, about basically coming together to say how are we going to go after the unreached? engage people groups of the world? And how do we offer our resources to come together? And so all the things that you would talk about as far as unity and trends? I would say that's true across the board. Oftentimes we look at, people will say, how do you work across denominational lines? It's sticking to the core fundamentals of the faith? Do we have a common vision? Is there a complimentary contribution? Is there trust is there humility and a commitment to action. So even coming together around the Great Commission alone, I think helps. But then also not trying, there's a phrase within Africa, where they'll say, no egos, no logos, let the gospel go. And so just this reality, to say we want to work together for the sake of the kingdom coming about. So the same would be true within India. I work within predominantly the 1040 window. And even in that, there's positivity around that. So I'll stop for now.
Thank you so much, Keri. Hey, we just got chatted a question. You can also chat in your questions from Mark Morgenstern. Daniel, do you think that it tends to work better when these movements start with one, quote, unified action unquote, at first or better to start immediately with several projects?
Yeah, I'm, I'm young in this and I'm just beginning to learn. But I think that they see, what I'm observing is that when the indigenous leaders or the local leaders band together, typically they're banding together first in prayer, sometime around a catalyzing event, for example, the terrorist movement in India, or sometime, sometimes around chaos, political chaos that was happening in Singapore. And typically, it's just a movement to be together to be as one right the UCPI movement for years now. They've just been focusing on prayer, without kind of what they've-- actually been holding their agenda of, of action in order to spend that time building trust, and coming together and just realizing, hey, we're people also. So I-- which, for me, who loves to be action oriented and impact oriented, this, this is not a happy answer, right? It's a slow answer, but it seems to be a work of the Holy Spirit to bring his people together to do that, yeah. And maybe an answer maybe a one, one thing would be better than several projects? Who knows?
May I throw a question on to you, Carrie, also Daniel, everybody else. So does the Jesus film identify these types of movements? Daniel's been calling them unity movements? What does Jesus film call them? And like, how do how does cooperation with these type of movements fit into your broader strategy? Thank you.
I think I don't know if I've not heard the term unity movements. But I would say a lot of the networks like vision, Synergy, vision Five-Nine, Sehel, depending on geography. Like, you just see a commonality of people coming together over a purpose of going after unreached engage people groups, you might find the same people at different things like FTT, Finishing the Task, you know, again, trying to see how how does this happen? I think your data actually helps me to know from a macro scale like it going down to a micro scale and the different countries, I think hearing what's happening in Chad is amazing. One of our visions within Jesus Film is seeing everyone everywhere reached but a church per 1000 people. And as you all know, we're not a church Planning Organization. But we work with church planters. So we want to put our resources into their hands, to basically feel what they're doing. And step out of the way we don't want to tell the field worker, this is how you do it, this is what you need to do. But I would say a commonality I see is people that are doing T for T, DBS, and DMM. Those are three common church planning themes that seem to be the most successful, I'm not saying that others aren't. But this is just a commonality that when we're interacting with church planners, this is how they're seeing multiplication, move forward. So also being able to interact with other people. When it comes to languages where we may be stuck on a script translation. It helps us to know workers that are in different areas that might need a language and how we can come alongside them. So that also helps. So yeah.
For those that don't know, I work with Wycliffe Bible translators, how have you, Have you seen areas where connecting to using your term unity movements, how is that done best to avoid some of the pitfalls that happen, or I've seen places where you'll have an indigenous movement within a country, and it becomes about an individual or an organization, and external money projects, fame, international travel and recognition, wind up getting in the way, or, you know, creating it for jealousy, and it becomes fractured. Um, any particular things that you've seen that help avoid that? Or how do we best engage with these without causing disruption?
Yeah, so you're talking about pretty mature movements, right? are mature network stuff that would be there where that could have developed? I, I want to be careful, I don't really have an answer for that. I've seen that as well. Definitely, you know, in particular parts of the world. Yeah, you get this kind of big man syndrome, right, where that can happen? I don't I don't know. You know, definitely in any situation where you're bringing resources into it, where there's especially resources from the west, there can be that I think, you know, what I've, what I've seen, that works well is when the local groups take the initiative. And then on their initiative, they invite the outsiders to come in, you know, in each of the examples that I shared, they, it was started by local people, and then it was invited that external resourcing was there. So I, you know, as a Western organization, I am not sure what to do about that. I think it takes probably a lot of discussion, conversation, and probably even involvement of the leaders from those countries as well. Yeah, that's a good question. And thanks.
Daniel, my name is Wendy Der and I serve as the global mobilization director with United World Mission. I are organizations based in Charlotte, but I have actually a missionary in Mexico City, Mexico. I've been here for over 16 years, actually, since 1998. And something that I've seen in terms of unity movement or network coming together is that we are part of the (comics) network, which is under the umbrella of (comi bomb), which is mission agencies and churches across denominations and individuals coming together to work together to bring the gospel to the unreached. And so with (Kami Max), there's four areas that they're really focused around with most mobilization, training, sending and field care. And it's exciting to see that they have a meeting once or twice a year. We've been to it several times. And they have research where they were looking at Joshua Project statistics, they also have a website called, that they worked on called (ethno Pavia). It's also in Spanish. So for the Spanish speaking countries. And what they did is that they pretty much divided all the unreached people groups among the countries in Latin America to help the countries adopt these groups. And it's been exciting because what they did, at least for Mexico, they, they gave us these prayer cards, which I have here in Spanish, you can kind of see it, but they did prayer cards for I think 60 different groups that Mexico has adopted or should be praying for. And so across organizations and church denominations, were praying for these groups. And these groups are ones where the mission agencies or churches within Mexico have a representative or a link or someone who's actually working with this group. And so there's a key person in Mexico who's coordinating this this prayer time together, not not necessarily together, but prayer. And so that if those as we're praying, and as we're sharing about these groups, if there's people that are interested in serving among these unreached groups, we contact this key person who knows which organization is working with these groups. So it is a prayer movement together, even though we're not literally praying at the same time, but within our networks and organizations, and working together to bring the gospel to the nation. So it is kind of exciting to see, at least from Latin America, how they've been coming together, and it's led by Latina.
Wow, Praise the Lord. That's so exciting. Thank you for sharing about that.
And Wendy, if I can ask just as a brief follow up, can you can you tell me, what was the origin of that movement? How did it begin?
Yeah, I'm actually not sure with (comi bomb). I know that met for the last it's at least 20 years. So they have it every 10 years. They're made-- their main awesome layer their forum together. They did in Spain, I think maybe about 15 years ago. And then the last one was in Colombia, where they have these, you know, every 10 years is gathering. But they are like I said, there is through (Evo medica). And then each, each country within Latin America has their own local network. So with ours and Mexico is called (me mix). So again, their denominations, mission groups, mission agencies, individuals coming together to see how we can partner together to share the gospel and bring the gospel to the unreached.
Thank you so much, Wendy.
Daniel, my name is Michelle Atwell, I'm with Send International. And I just want to confirm what I had seen on one of your slides about a movement starting in Russia, we were actually involved with helping to produce the unreached people group guide for the 151 remaining unreached people groups in Russia. And my question is, have you seen any-- have you seen any tactics or practices emerge that help denominations to level the playing field and to prevent certain denominations from exerting perhaps more power over others? And how that becomes sustainable over time?
Wow, that's that's an excellent question. I do have an answer for that one. Thank God. So in in the Chad situation is very interesting. The the man who I described I call him I called him, Robert, he was involved with initiating the project, if you remember, but from the very beginning, he said, he has super integrity, super humble man. He said, I am not going to manage this. And so he helped to convene the churches, they came together. And then very quickly, he stepped out. And another another component of that Chadian system is that of those 20-- 22 different denominations who came together, there were two of the largest denominations that had about 40% of the Christian population of Chad. And both of those denominations, they stepped out, they did not include a representative from their denomination in that core body in that core governing board. So the board only has 20 denominations that were there. And that wasn't that wasn't because of jealousy. It wasn't because of a negative impulse. It was because they intentionally did not want to overwhelm or overpower that that body and so they are continuing those to large denominations and Chad continuing to offer resources. And in fact, personnel they have they have numerous personnel on that kind of executive committee. But, but for that purpose of not overwhelming it, they, they both did not have their their people and I you know, I just praise the Lord for that super humble, I believe God, Holy Spirit driven decision that was there. Yeah. And there are other cases similar to that as well, I think that's really cool. Yeah.
I'm Jeff Park and I serve with JAARS. And as director of church and community relations, and I've been working with a Nepali pastor that has a network of churches that flow from Northeast India, Nepal, China border, Bhutan border, you're largely using the tool of the Jesus Film in areas where there's not openness, very much to the to the gospel, or there's threat of persecution for that, but just a very humble pastor with a great influence. I've traveled with him two years ago, and actually had opportunity to do training for about 200 pastors in those areas, and then was supposed to go last fall, and wasn't able to raise enough money to actually go with him, so set with him. And our first training was supposed to be in Siliguri, India, and found out that pastored Naman from Tennessee was arrested there, about the same time that we were supposed to do training, and I think he's still under house arrest, but we're just looking for support working together with other organizations for a effective, passionate Nepali church pastor that has many building relationships among those that are just beginning being introduced to the gospel movement. Just looking for resources and, and networking. that possibility.
Yeah, I know many Nepali pastors, and many well connected Nepali pastors who are in NCFN is one and there's another group that's there, we could perhaps Connect offline for that
That would be awesome.
Jim Roberts is served with SIL International. I really appreciate to Daniel what she had to say about, particularly recognizing that this is a movement of the Holy Spirit is happening globally. And I think was really refreshing is that Western organizations are largely Western organizations that probably most of us represent, are kind of moving away from the practical, pragmatic, managerial approach to ministry and starting to recognize more and more that these are movements of God that we need to join into, as we see them happening locally. And one of the things I heard Wendy talking about was prompting me to think that in, in our experience in, you know, having a foot in being founded in the West, and yet being very integrated into a lot of local contexts around the world, there's always this challenge of how we, how we engage in these local movements in ways that are genuinely supportive, and we participate in them in and avoid our perhaps very pragmatic managerial tendencies as we do that. But Daniel, or anybody here, you know, how do we how do we balance that where we, we see God at work, we see the Holy Spirit moving and something is born locally. And, and God is at work, and we should join. And yet often our very presence in joining can be disruptive. And Andy mentioned this as well. It's, you know, how do we how do we best engage as Western often very powerful organizations in these local movements, and maintain that level of humility and participation and not let our knowledge or our resources to damage these local movements? You know, that's something that we as an organization have struggled with for four decades and we've made mistakes and we've got a few examples of successes but I'm I'm just curious, it's so great to see how God is moving and yet it's it's scary to get involved in realize it sometimes we can be a problem.
Yeah, really. Thanks. That's a big. That's a big topic. Thanks, Tim, for mentioning that I would I do have some thoughts. I would love, as Jim said, to hear from you all. First, though, I mean, seems like many of you have much more experience than I do in ministry. So maybe I'll go after some of you.
I don't know if this is an answer, but I appreciated you sharing the example coming out of I think it was Sudan, that after a number of years, finally, you know, other Westerners were invited to the table to figure out how to multiply and exponentially expand the work that was happening. And I think that's really key is to look for those invitations and don't insert ourselves. And the only way I see that actually happening within send right now is in Ukraine, where we see the church maturing in such a point right now where they're just ready to send out people, and they want to go to unreached people groups. But because we've been there for, you know, 20-30 years, there's been relationships established. But were we to come in right now, in some of these areas. Without that invitation, I think it would be really hard. And so we find ourselves, when you have those relationships, it's great. But if you don't to really humbly wait for that invitation, and, and then come alongside to resource to expand and multiply what's happening in those regions. And I think that's a great way to really show and demonstrate the kind of support that those local networks are looking for.
Two things, two examples that I've seen, as Jim was saying this that came to my mind. One was in the DRC, I was talking with some church leaders, a bishop from Kinshasa, who said, we were talking about Bible translations specifically. But he said, We view Bible translation not as a job to be done, but one of the best training platforms for future leaders in our church. So when we build Bible translation teams, we want everyone working on those to be employed by our church, at the kind of wages that our church pays, so you can help us pay them, but we don't want you paying them like Bible translators, or like, you know, some highly technical people, because they'll never return to the pastorate, you know, you guys will mess them up. So that was one example. Another is a statement that I've heard from a variety of YWAM leaders, for those that aren't aware of YWAM, you know, started in the US, but it's really now a global organization. They've got you know, YWAM from countries all over the world languages, you know, hundreds and hundreds of language communities represented within them. But they've said to us, you guys can pay for training, you can pay for an event. But please don't ever pay for something that you also need to pay for next month. So in other words, don't pay salaries, don't pay some don't pay office rental. Because what you do is you set up expectations, you set up dependency. So if there's a event that you'd like to help people get to, or somebody wants to go to an event, and they're lacking 800 bucks, sure, chip in the 800 bucks to get them there. But that doesn't set up this dependency. So the whole dependency and the power of money. Really, I think we just need to be really cautious with that. It can be paternalistic for us to set, you know to say, well, all we do it new circumstances, but being a good partner is often listening and understanding and adapting to individual situations, but with cautious principles that we don't, you know, don't do things that have caused problems in the past.
To follow up with Andy was sharing there, one of the challenges that we have as Western organizations is we're very goal oriented, we're driven by our strategic plans. We, you know, we're, as SIL where we work very close with Wycliffe. We set goals together, we, we have vision goals that say we're going to start all the Bible translation by a certain date. We also participate in, in some networks, unreached people, group networks, like Table 71. And again, there, it's mostly Western organization, we set our goals we have, we have our lists of unreached people groups, and we target certain groups and we divide them into categories and kind of dice and slice up the world and who's going to who's going to go after which people groups we do in a very structured managerial kind of way. And that can be very effective. God can work through that. And yet when we get out there in the field, that sort of approach to ministry is so foreign to our partners that are working locally in parts of Asia or Latin America or Africa. And, and it is often it's often in those strategic planning processes that we run into our biggest tensions. And then we throw into that our resourcing partners that are providing financial resources that often are also goal driven and target driven. And it creates this very challenging, nuanced dance that we do as kind of global organizations, how do we relate to our own culture and our resourcing engine, which tends to be very managerial, and our local programs and our partners and these movements that were part of that tend to be driven by the Spirit in the wind? And I have no answers for that other than one of the things Daniel said, It usually starts by praying together, that's where we find the common ground. And
I'll just follow up really, really well said, I think that's a huge topic. It's, my answer would be, just to echo what Michelle said, regarding invitation, one of my friends, Dell Anderson, who works closely with Every Tribe, Every Nation said to the Indian group, one of the most impactful things he said was, thank you for inviting us to work on this project with you. And as he was coaching me, said, Daniel, we as resourcing partners are looking for invitations. And I think, I think that's key for us as Westerners, just like Michelle said, and then second, is to maybe echo what Andy said, I think it's so valuable to ask to ask really to ask the local people, hey, what are your needs? How can we help you? And in the words of my my Missions professor at Moody, he said, Daniel, you know, the best way to make these decisions is to have every bring the people to the table, have them all sit around the table and discuss together, if we had this money for this situation, how would we spend it? Right? And just as Andy shared those guys, they wanted their their people to get paid this much. And in India, we see very often that the leaders there would spend it very differently than that than the Westerners would. I think another in addition to the expenditure of money is the discussion of priorities. Right? So maybe the local groups have different priorities then than we would for example, in in Chad, they were saying, you know, we, we don't work in medical stuff, or in or in water, wells digging, but the the Chadians they said, No, we want water, well, digging help, and we want training for medical for health issues, we need that. And we said, No, we're just gospel focused church planting focus, right? And they said, No, you don't understand this is so that we can have relationship with the local people. And so that those types of conversations of what the local people see as a need, I think, are super valuable. And then, of course, you know, for we many of us have donors and donor relations and promises that we've made to our people in in in the US or sacrificing financially. And I think that is a huge tension that we live in. And perhaps maybe an answer is to begin educating our donors and bringing them along with it to understand the needs the needs on the ground, in a little bit more complex way there.
Anybody want to state any questions that are auxiliary questions that ought to be researched in future meetings like this? They're ques-questions on your minds that would help your organization that we just didn't get to. Would you state those?
I have a question. I know that Daniel, you shared about different unity movements happening around the world. I'd love to know if you see this happening in the US and how we could get involved.
This is Daniel Cho from international project. We're based in New York City and in other gateway cities, but um, yeah, I mean, I'm, I like that previous question. Is there any talks about how, how this is being done in a diaspora setting, or any other gateway cities? And I'd love to if there's another time to continue, I have a ton of questions, but I'm, like not, they're more specific, each of the examples, but I think they would, they would help us understand what you actually you know, like, kind of dive a little bit deeper on what you what you mean by coalition. Or them getting together? Who's getting together? How are they praying? When are they praying? And then I'd have a couple of are like, what are you looking for when you say unity movement in? Yep. A
key question for me would be centered around the influential person or leader with cross disciplinary influence. What does that really look like? If you don't have someone in those positions? Are there other character traits or things that we should be looking for? So usually, when we talk in the, you know, church planning world, we talk about looking for, you know, person of peace. And so in my mind, I'm trying to wrestle with, are we talking about someone who's like a person of peace? Or are there other characteristics and things that we should be looking for that would help us look out for potential in-movements, or if we longed to see a movement or instructing where we have missionaries and unreached people groups, how we could start building and working towards identifying those those people.
from a research perspective, maybe I may just be writing up what we've learned, but it may not be new research, more understanding of sort of the life cycle of these movements, how they're born, the nature of them, how to identify the robustness at the points at which it's more helpful to engage. And at points, it's more helpful to withhold engagement. And maybe that's just, you know, category, categorizing people's experience with different movements, successes, failures to come up with sort of some best practices as we identify, and seek to engage, what could we learn from one another, from our own engagement?
maybe what separates unity movements from just normal movements? Or not normal movements, but non unity movement?
A question that I would have, since we've got so many different organizations that are gathered here, one of the things that that we really cherish at Cafe is the ability to work together with other organizations. And as we're looking at these movements on the ground in other countries, among different denominations, and things of that nature. How can we as organizations come together to work together to help these unity movements happen? on the ground in country? making those types of things happen? What are the best steps that we can take forward? How can we kind of bridge the gaps in between our different organizations and the different viewpoints and missions and strategies that we have to really supplement and augment each other and what we're aiming to do?
Again, we want to say thank you so much to Daniel, Daniel, that was really informative, really helpful. Wendy, could I call on you to dismiss us in prayer, to be willing to do that?
Sure. Sure. Heavenly Father, we just acknowledge that you are our God, our, our Heavenly Father, the Lord who loves us, Lord, who has called us to you and to one another Lord. We thank You, Father, that you've given us your spirit. And we pray for unity, Lord, amongst us as brothers and sisters, among amongst your church, Lord, in the countries where we're serving and around the world, Lord, we do pray for unity, we pray that you would give us more of your spirit of creativity and of wisdom, and of humility, to know how to serve together, how to partner together, how to be attentive to your spirit, as you if we know it's your heart, to bring people together to bring your church together, so that all people would come to know you from every tribe, language and nation. So, Lord, thank you for this time you've given us to hear from one another to hear what's happening around the world and guide us, Lord, teach us lead us where you are the way the truth and the life and we need you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Amen. Have a wonderful afternoon, everybody. Thank you.