I went to one of those people group partnership meetings for churches last week. These are the gatherings of churches to hear from missionaries what God is doing among a specific people group in another country and to consider how the church can participate in the ministry there.
I’ve been to a lot of these. The script is similar. The missionaries who live among the people have statistics and stories, PowerPoint and prayers.
This one added three interesting elements. The first one was a presentation by a team of missionaries who are Muslims that live in the States. They gave a presentation on the basics of their faith and various ways people can connect with the team relationally in order to promote Islam. It was very much like a presentation a Christian would give in a Muslim country. See http://worldchristians.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/surprise-ending/
The second one was a series of short video clips of Turkish people’s beliefs on God, Jesus, Heaven, the Bible, and salvation. After each clip participants in the conference were asked for their impressions of the clips and for what their response might me. This is a brilliant way to introduce the conference participants to key elements of the Turkish worldview and to begin to consider the best responses to the worldview.
The third element was a focus on preparing churches in the States to not just get involved with the unreached people group overseas, but also recognize that there may be hundreds or even thousands of people from the unreached group who live within a reasonable travel distance to the church. At the conference the team from the field gave a host of suggestions for ways to meet and build relationships with the unreached groups in order to share the Gospel of Jesus with them.
While I enjoyed the unique elements of this conference, I have some areas of challenge that I’ll include in next post.