Reaching Unengaged People Groups
How your church can reach an Unengaged People Group? By Partnering with them.
In my first post on “How your church can reach an Unengaged People Group”, I discussed the use of project management skills inherent in many of the businessmen and women in your congregation as a way of assembling a plan with a specific goal of establishing a reproducible church among a currently unreached and unengaged people group.
With a goal established and a plan in process, the next important element is Partnering. Success depends on the people who are on the ground every day of every year. One of the joys of embracing the challenge to adopt a people group is the interactions you will have with those who live and work in the area of or near the unreached people group. In our case we have three key Partners; a large international mission organization, and two local churches.
The international mission organization was identified as one that, although not engaged in outreach to the specific unreached people group we were targeting, had the best overall position in the country and a corresponding passion for the unreached. After several meetings we were able to write a specific contract that established the resources we would provide over a 3 year period and outlined the specific tasks that they would be responsible to accomplish, such as, helping to translate the Jesus Film to the language of the unreached group, establishing and training an evangelistic & discipleship team specifically focused on our specific people group, and regularly providing strategic direction and oversight of the team. Also identified were reporting mechanisms to allow us to see the activities on a monthly basis between our twice a year face to face meetings in country. Regular communication is key because in most cases the process is far from linear. There is a reason these people groups are unreached and regular adjustments to the plan are necessary. Coming alongside the local leaders of the mission organization also provides unique opportunities to help encourage and strengthen their ministry.
Our second key Partners were the local churches that provided the manpower for the team and the day to day supervision of the team and associated compassion ministries. Typically, they are challenged to literally “reach across the road” to a people group that has been their neighbor for a 1000 years, but because of cultural and language differences have been isolated. Historically their mission has been limited to “their” people so it is important to make sure they share the vision to reach everyone within their sphere of influence for Christ. Once again you and those in your congregation who get involved with this ministry will be blessed as they are able to help and encourage true mission pioneers within these local churches. Examples of your “gifts of service” to their church become a model they can replicate as they reach out to other churches in their area. What seems like a small thing to us in our churches, which are blessed by a long history and enormous resources, can quickly get multiplied a 100 fold to impact their effectiveness as a local congregation.
You will quickly see that you’re true Partnership is with God as you, “see where he is working and join Him there”. As a church focused on reaching a specific people group you have the benefit of bringing in whatever Partners are necessary to accomplish the task at hand. This can vary over time and by people group. I believe this is also the spirit of the Issachar Initiative; to be able to link those with a common goal and to help them identify the resources that are out there to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Written by Randy Howard
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