Why training indigenous missionaries is a priority

For the last four years, we have been developing and working on the CAMO Project which seeks to engage every unreached people group within the Central African sub-region by the year 2025. There are 8 countries within this target region and each of them very diverse and unique. For example, of these countries, five speak French, one speaks English, one Spanish and one Portuguese. Socio-economic development and literacy is widely varied, culture contrasts could be sharp sometimes just and the difficulty of travels and communication across borders could become very complex.

When we consider the size of the project, our current available data tells us there are about 278 people groups to be engaged. This refers to people groups without the Gospel and without a team of missionaries actively working among them. The CAMO Project seeks to plant a missionary team within each of these people groups by the year 2025. From our definition, a missionary team consists of one of the following combinations:

  • Two couples
  • One couple and 2 singles
  • 3 singles

So the minimum missionary team will have 3 persons, and by implication, by the year 2025 we should have recruited and deployed about 1000 new missionaries scattered across the 8 countries of Central Africa. The enormity of this task and the complexity of the countries make recruitment from one location completely impossible. Our organization is founded in Nigeria and we have experienced first-hand the difficulty Nigerian missionaries face in French countries, first learning languages, then understanding and adapting to the culture, and the heavy cost of travels and communication (especially since insecurity in the region has made road travel difficult), it became clear to us this was not the smartest way to continue. We sampled raising missionaries from the countries and compared the results to that of foreign missionaries and they were by no means similar.

In Chad for example, local Chadians are recruited, trained and deployed to UPGs within their country. No new language learnt (except local dialects which they learn very fast), no borders crossed and so movement is cheap, minimal paperwork since no visas and residence permits needed, faster adaptation since the cultures are already similar. At the end of the day, by the time a foreign missionary is beginning to get his feet, the indigenous missionary has probably planted 2-3 churches. So why then do we want to continue spending time and money doing what has little value? And with proper training, the work the locals are able to do is as thorough as what anybody else can do. So we decided to invest more in training locals and deploying them within their countries.

In the last 2 years since we started CEMP (Centre d’Equipement en Mission Pionnier) our mission training school in Chad fully run in French, we have trained more than 20 locals from 3 countries and through them several churches have been planted, including those who have taken government jobs and accepted postings to regions where conventional missionaries cannot go. The results have been simply phenomenal and unbelievable.

Considering this remarkable shift, we have decided to invest more in training local indigenous missionaries. CEMP is able to train all our French speaking missionaries from Chad, Cameroon, CAR, Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville). For the last 2 years, we have operated from a temporary location in Doba Chad, we are now taking steps of faith to consolidate this by setting up a permanent campus in the same city. How else can we raise 1000 missionaries in 8 years? This is why CEMP is critical to the entire CAMO Project, it is like the “missionary factory” where the human resources are generated. We have an entire system in place where disciples from newly planted churches are identified, prepared (through the Portable Bible School) and then recruited for CEMP after which they go plant new churches. It is also paramount that we have a well-established training structure in place.

Fully setting up our permanent CEMP Campus will be expensive, but we are convinced that this is an investment that is worthy and we are placing it as a priority. We invite friends, partners and supporters to consider investing in the training of indigenous missionaries. On the average, it costs 1000 USD to train one local missionary for 9 months, but the results are phenomenal. We invite you to this noble cause, and let us together, in the next 8 years raise 1000 Missionaries. This may be the only hope of 278 people groups still waiting to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Good News of Salvation.

Follow us on twitter @cdmissons #1000Missionaries

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