Taking the Church Where It’s Needed Most
The Lewa Kunbi people live in the Western Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. They have gotras such as Shendilya, Kashyap and Bharadwaj. They are known as Lewa Patil.
They speak the Marathi and Telegu languages and use the Devanagari script. A few of them also speak Hindi. The incidence of colour-blindness is reported in 5 percent of the Lewa Kunbi population.
The Lewa men are non-vegetarian but their women are vegetarian. Jowar is their staple cereal and they eat rice occasionally. The economy of the Lewa Kunbi is mainly based on agriculture. They either cultivate their own land or work for others on a share-cropping basis. They participate in the local weekly markets. The problem of alcoholism is prevalent among the men.
The Lewa Kunbis generally follow monogamy. The women contribute to the family economy as wage earners and take part in socio-religious activities. In a marriage a series of rituals are performed simultaneously at the bride and groom’s residences. Marriage rituals include the thread wearing ceremony, the exchange of garlands and circumambulating the sacred fire seven times.
The Lewa Kunbi has an association, which looks after the socio-economic development of the community. They cremate the dead and observe death pollution for ten days.
The Lewa Kunbi worship both family and village deities. The Brahman officiates as a priest at their rituals. Their traditional customs prevent them from exchanging water and cooked food with certain communities, such as, the Bhangi, Chamar and Mahar. Ancestor worship is also prevalent among them. Diwali is the main festival celebrated by the Lewa Kunbi.
– For the salvation of the Lewa Kunbi people and that God may send several Christian workers to work among them and meet their spiritual and physical needs.
– That the Lewa Kunbi people may be freed from alcoholism, ancestors’ worship, colour- blindness and be able to accept all the communities without caste prejudice.
Text source: Copyright © India Missions Association – Edited by Philipose Vaidyar. Used with permission.
Nai, Muslim of Bangladesh
The best definition I know of which describes church planting is the word “missions.” Church planters are missionaries. If church planting isn’t about missions it’s only about rearranging Christians. You can start a new church using attractive programs, dynamic worship, and fancy PowerPoint displays, but if all you’re doing is drawing other Christians from other churches That’s not missions. We call that “sheep-stealing,” or “swapping chairs on the Titanic.”
Church planting is about missions, reaching out to the unchurched.
The study of missions is called “missiology.” Missiology includes the study of cultural and historical components, all of which we will study in this session. In order to understand church planting, there must be a theological base for our work. Otherwise, we simply end up establishing monuments to ourselves and our creativity. Calvin Guy wrote this:”We apply the pragmatic test to the work of the theologian. Does his theology motivate men to go into all the world and make disciples? Does it so undergird them that they, thus motivated, succeed in this primary purpose? Theology must stand the test of being known by its fruit.”
If you hire a carpenter to build a house, one of the first things you have to decide is if you want your house to be built up off the ground on blocks or on a concrete slab. A house built on blocks is kind of an old-fashioned method of building, but many people still like it because of the accessibility of pipes that need repairing or air conditioning duct work. But the problem with a house on blocks is that over time, the ground settles and the structure of the house can shift. It’s not unusual in an old house like this to find cracks in walls and problems with the floor. But if a house is built on a solid concrete slab, that’s a foundation that does not change. Theology is like the concrete slab. God says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” [Malachi 3:6 NIV]
The church is the Bride of Christ; therefore, it must be pleasing to Him. So we must be careful that everything we do is pleasing to Him. “Cutting edge” keeps changing. There are new methods coming out everyday that seem promising to the church planter. And we have to be careful not to develop a critical spirit towards ideas that may seem strange to us. New ideas are important to explore to a certain degree. But if we look simply to new ideas rather than unchanging biblical theology, we find ourselves following fads rather than the Father because cutting edge changes. Remember 45s and 8 track tapes? We must avoid building our ministry on cutting edge and opting rather for a solid theological foundation.
God has no obligation to the success of anything outside of His will. Man-made innovations mean nothing to God unless they are created in the center of His will.
God is a God of action. The acts of God are occurring around us on a daily basis. He is constantly active and on mission to a lost world. Therefore as servants of the Lord, we carry out our mission in the world realizing our work is Theocentric not anthropocentric.
Ephesians 3:10 says: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, and according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:10 NIV).
So the work of the church as a whole is missionary. The task must not be relegated to a chosen few when in reality we are all called as missionaries. Paul wrote: “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV).
© 2004 North American Mission Board
Full Document Here
According to AD2000 and Beyond:
“The Great Commission is a two-fold command. In Matthew 28:19,20 Jesus commands us to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations (peoples)’. The focus is to establish disciples in mature fellowships among every people group. In Mark 16:15 Jesus gave the task of preaching the gospel to every person. The focus here is to present the Gospel to every individual. The watchword of ‘a church for every people and the Gospel for every person’ sums up this two-fold command.”
The Joshua Project list of ‘least reached peoples’ was developed as a tool for measurement and mobilization. It establishes those peoples over 10,000 in number, and below 2% Evangelical or 5% Christian adherents, as most likely to need a church planting initiative. Approximately 1600 least reached peoples fit these criteria. The Joshua Project list has helped draw the attention of the Church to the neediest, most ignored, least resourced, and most challenging part of the unfinished task of world evangelization.
Praying Through the (10/40) Window initiatives were followed by specific commitments of church planting agencies to focus ministry on these peoples. Over the years the list became shorter, and at Amsterdam 2000 this year all the remaining peoples were embraced. About 99% of the world’s population live in a people group that has a commitment for church planting team in the near future.
The vision is for a mission-minded church within every people. A goal was established as a basic minimum of a vital, witnessing congregation of at least 100 individuals within each people group. There are reports of such congregations in nearly 1/3 of the Joshua Project peoples.
- There are 9,608 ethnic people groups and 15,942 people-in-country groups, counting each group once per country of residence.
- Of the 15,942 total groups, 6,430 are Least-Reached, totaling 2,576,038,000 individuals.
- Of these 6,430 groups, 4,975 are in 10/40 Window countries. That means 77% of the unreached / least-reached people groups are in the 10/40 Window.
- The largest least-reached group is the Japanese, with over 120,000,000 individuals.
- 3,285 groups are primarily Muslim, totaling nearly 1,300,000,000 individuals.
- 2,436 groups are primarily Hindu, totaling about 900,000,000 individuals.
- 561 groups are primarily Buddhist, totaling nearly 375,000,000 individuals.
- 6,486 groups are primarily Christian, totaling over 2,000,000,000 individuals. “Christian” is defined here as Christian adherents, not restricted to evangelicals.
- The Mandarin Chinese is the largest people group, being in 98 countries with a total of about 793,000,000 individuals, and with 783,000,000 of those in China.
- Jews are found in 130 countries, Arabs in 84 countries, and Chinese groups in 117 countries.
There is still lots of work to be done!
569 of Indonesia’s 774 people groups do not have even Bible portions available in their primary language. The largest of these is the Banjar, 5,320,000
The Yadava people from all over the country trace their descent to the Krishna of Yadu lineage. They are also known as Ala Golla, Poone Golla, Mong Golla, Idaiyar, Konarulu, Pillai, Nayudu, Naikan and Yadukulam, etc. The Yadava of the South speak Dravidian languages, practice Dravidian kinship. Those of the North speak languages of the Indo-Aryan family and are generally vegetarian. The Yadava consist of both landowning and landless people. Their traditional occupation is animal husbandry and selling its products. Child labour is common among them. Agriculture, business, trade and self-employment are their present occupation. Some Yadava are businessmen, teachers, doctors, engineers and political leaders. The Yadava live in joint families. They cremate dead and observe pollution period for thirteen days; however, in Kerala the Yadava community bury the dead and observed death pollution for six days. They have caste associations at the regional and national levels. The Yadava participate in the local traditional and socio-religious festivals. They are known to have more faith in astrology and talismans rather than in the services of a doctor. They have expertise in oral traditions like Sevagaridi or group singing in praise of the god Vishnu. Similarly, they are good in musical dance and mock-fighting with swords. Boys are favored for formal education.
Alternate names: Ala Golla, Poone Golla, Mong Golla, Idaiyar, Konarulu, Pillai, Nayudu and Naikan, Yadukulam
- The salvation of the Yadava people and that God may send several Christian workers among them and meet their spiritual and physical needs.
- The practice of child labour to end among the Yadava people.
- Education to be made available to girls as well as the boys.
- The Yadava people to seek the Living God and give up their faith in astrology and talismans.
Copyright © India Missions Association – Edited by Philipose Vaidyar. Used with permission from The Joshua Project, www.joshuaproject.net
- A broken and demoralized society is the fruit of a past harsh dictatorship and the present war against terrorism. A small Sunni Arab minority and an elite within it had repressed the Shi’ite majority in the south and Kurdish majority in the north. Efforts at establishing a national government with the help of the United States and the United Nations are slow and frought with murderous opposition.
- Pray for:
- The binding of the evil spiritual powers that brood over this land.
- A viable, indigenous government to arise that unites and rebuilds the shattered country.
- Adequate material and social help for the millions of refugees in Iran, Jordan, Turkey and the West.
- The provision of the needs of children and young people. One million children are suffering from chronic malnutrition and 300,000 were estimated to have died.
- The Christian community which is largely Assyrian with some Armenians. The Assyrians are descendants of the Nestorian or Ancient Church of the East; in two denominations since 1964. The Nestorian Church became one of the greatest missionary denominations of history, winning 6% of all of Asia’s population 1,000 years ago. It is reduced to less than 2 million in the world today through persecution, compromise and harassment. About one third of all Christians left Iraq in the 1990s and are a high proportion of the Iraqi refugee population. Pray for a restoration of their biblical heritage, present revival beginnings to spread and a vision for outreach. Many Assyrians are studying the Scriptures in ‘Light Clubs’ in the churches.
- Most Assyrians are members of the Catholic-linked Chaldean Church and some became Evangelicals through the activity of foreign missionaries in the past 150 years. Pray for revival and growth in this Church. Only recently has there been an openness to reach the Muslim majority. There are now a growing number of Kurdish and Arab believers. Emigration is a major ‘disease’; pray for Christians willing to remain as lights in the darkness.
- The few Evangelicals are mainly confined to the cities. They were persecuted in the 1960s and ‘70s and numbers declined. God gave revivals in the 1980s and house groups multiplied – from one in Baghdad to over 300 for a time. There are around 70 evangelical congregations in Iraq, but conversions are doing little more than replacing those who are emigrating. Pray for these believers, their walk with the Lord and their witness to non-Christians. A small but growing number of Arabs and Kurds are seeking the Lord, both in Iraq and among Iraqi refugees in Jordan and elsewhere.
- Leadership for the churches is a desperate need. Many good leaders have had to flee. Some Iraqis are in training in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere. Pray that many may return to Iraq.
- All peoples are unreached apart from Assyrian and Armenian minority groups. Pray specifically for:
- The Shi’a Arabs of Basra and the south. There is no known direct witness to them.
- The Sunni Arabs – few have heard the gospel.
- The Madan or Marsh Arabs – There is no known outreach to them.
- The Bedouin, Persians and Gypsies are all totally unreached.
- The Kurds have caught the attention of the world. They have fought for survival and a national identity for 70 years. The period 1985-91 was particularly bloody and cruel. Iraqi atrocities have included the razing of 3,800 villages and towns (including 61 Christian Assyrian villages), destruction of the local economy, mining of fields, deportation of 500,000 to distant camps, and killing of up to 250,000. In the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991 almost the entire Kurdish population became refugees.
- The Church. Assyrian Christians have suffered much persecution, destruction of villages and intimidation first by Saddam and then by the Kurds. Assyrian Christians have been reduced by emigration to 45,000.
- The growing number of Kurdish believers have also suffered intimidation and several have been martyred, but the little church fellowships are growing with new converts being added. Pray that a vibrant, united Kurdish Church might impact every part of Northern Iraq.
- The unevangelized in Kurdish north: a) The Yezidi are a syncretistic offshoot of both Zoroastrianism and Islam. They speak Kurdish and are known as ‘devil’ worshippers. There are very few believers. b) The Turkoman are a distinct Turkic people numbering between 1 and 2.5 million, but ‘claimed’ by the Kurds as Kurds. There are no known believers.
The above is a modified excerpt from Operation World Web Site (www.operationworld.org), March 19, 2007. Copyright ©2001 Patrick Johnstone.