The forgotten communities
July-2019

       The traditional approach to mission usually depends on the presence of other missionaries already in locations. But SIM’s Faithful Witness in Forgotten Communities initiative looks to address the needs in places that don’t yet have any Christian or gospel worker present. 

What’s the vision?

       To launch and support long-term ministry teams of 12 to 15 faithful witnesses in new communities over the next two years. Right now we are mobilising three critical areas of support for these teams: prayer, finances and people.  Once a team launches, they will:

1. Build friendships, seeking opportunities to share the gospel amongst their neighbours.

2. Develop a ministry strategy that is appropriate to the context.

How will teams engage?

       The most effective way to introduce people to the gospel is through relationships, which begin while mission partners are still learning the language and culture. Growing trust and friendships move people to want to know more about the gospel. Over time these relationships develop and deepen; for example, through sharing meals or community projects. As local friends are exposed to the love of God in the gospel, the Holy Spirit convicts them of truth and draws them to relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As they are discipled, these new Christians become a church. These long-term ministries will be further honed and tailored to specific communities as the team gets to better know their community.

Who will lead the teams?

       Leaders will either be SIM workers or workers from partner organisations and will usually already have experience doing ministry with that culture for example, Thai, Arabic-speaking Africans, and so on. They’ll also be willing to take on necessary roles and to help others start ministries.

Where will teams be placed and who can join?

We are currently mobilising teams and funds for Chad, Mali, and Thailand, but have opportunities in many more places. Teams are designed to have workers from a wide variety of locations with more focus on supporting missionaries coming from places outside of traditional sending countries. There can be up to four missionaries from any one country. The make-up and dynamics of the team are critical to its success (John 17:22-23).

What’s the cost?

       The total cost of funding work in a single community with no gospel witness is $1.5 million (NZD) over five years. This covers most of what is needed to launch 12 to 15 workers in a new ministry location. The funding will supplement the fundraising efforts of Faithful Witness workers through matching contributions for a limited time. Resources will provide recruiting, training, leadership development and the development of prayer networks.

Looking to the future

     If God is willing, we believe this project could transform the face of the missionary enterprise. We aim to place 10 new teams every year by 2025.

Michelle Krewson, SIM Global Missions Engagement

If you’re keen to know more go to global.faithfulwitness@sim.org or talk to us at nzletstalk@sim.org.