Reaching the Final Frontiers in Africa

October 3, 2013

Can we reach all of Africa´s unreached peoples with the gospel in our generation?

That was one of the questions posed at the 2013 Global Missions Consultation held Sept. 25-28 in Kasoa, Ghana. Encouraged by the opportunity to listen and learn from one another, the event brought together over 400 indigenous missions leaders from 40 countries in Africa, as well as international missions representatives from Asia, Europe, and the United States.

This year´s theme was “Discipling the Nations,” with a special emphasis on the context of missions in Africa. Topics included “Reaching Africa´s Unengaged People Groups,” “Discipling Great Commission Christians,” and “The Challenge of Islam in Africa.”

Building on the excitement sparked by the 2010 Global Missions Consultation held in Tokyo, Japan, African missionary leaders were eager to bring a follow-up conference infused with the same energy and vision to their continent.

Gabriel Barau, a key ministry partner of Christian Aid Mission for nearly three decades, presided over the conference. Barau serves as chairman of the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association and is the founder and director of one of the largest mission agencies in Nigeria.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Africa Missions Association, Third World Missions Association, the Global Network of Mission Structures, MissioNexus, the Asia Missions Association, the U.S. Center for World Mission, and Christian Aid Mission.

Delegates developed strategic plans for evangelism and discipleship throughout every region of Africa. A top priority is the goal to establish a witness for Christ among the continent´s 800 unreached people groups.

During a time of prayer, several African ministry leaders broke down in tears, deeply burdened that they had not done enough to reach the unreached in their own nations.

“They made the commitment to reach and engage the remaining people groups using all the tools and methods available,” said Raul Hernandez, the director of Development and Church Relations for Christian Aid Mission and one of the speakers at the conference. “Each missions group from the 40 African countries represented at the consultation also pledged to mobilize the church in a more in-depth discipleship movement.”

At last week´s Ghana Consultation, more than 90 percent of the attendees were ministry leaders and missionaries from missions agencies in Africa. The majority of the speakers and workshop facilitators were also indigenous missionary leaders.

Hernandez was especially encouraged to hear leaders of both foreign and indigenous missions organizations agree that native missionaries are the most efficient and effective army to reach the unreached with the gospel.

As “neighbors” to these unreached peoples, native gospel workers already know the language and culture. They can also access areas where foreign missionaries would not be welcomed.

According to one estimate, approximately 95 percent of the work done among unreached people groups today is carried out by indigenous missionaries.

Barau presented attendees with a final statement of challenge as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission and disciple all nations in Africa and beyond.

Each delegate was encouraged to find two other accountability partners who would commit to correspond with them and in one year´s time see how they followed through on their response to the challenge.

“Overall, by the number of indigenous leaders who participated, by their engagement and excitement in continuing to do what God has called them to do, by their organization as a team of more than 400 indigenous missionary organizations, and by the partnerships we are starting to develop, Ghana 2013 was a success and will bring glory to the Lord,” said Hernandez.