No one should live and die without hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet that is still a reality for many people today. SIM’s Faithful Witness in Forgotten Communities plans to help the church send more gospel workers into communities where the need is greatest and as Steve Smith, SIM UK Director, says: "The Faithful Witness programme is a great opportunity for pioneer missionaries to serve together in hard-to-reach places in the world."
Over the next two years, SIM will launch and support teams of faithful witnesses from diverse contexts who will go to communities where there is no church, few or no Christians, and where there are no gospel workers.
By prayer, the multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-skilled teams will help the gospel take root in communities where Christ is least known.
SIM is launching the first Faithfull Witness teams in Chad, Mali and Thailand, where there is no significant current Christian witness, but there are good local support networks. Other locations will follow once the first three teams are established in:-
Mali - The Hassaniya people are open to receiving workers who will live among them and learn the language and culture. There are no more than four known believers among millions of Hassaniya.
Chad - A team will be sent to Abeche, in partnership with other organisations, focusing on those who have no church in their own tongue.
Thailand - A small team is already forming in the city of Ayutthaya, 40 miles south of Bangkok, to focus on sports, community health education and English language learning ministries.
Each Faithful Witness team will be made up of 12–15 people from different countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. At least two workers on each team will ideally come from the country in which they are serving and there will be a focus on supporting workers coming from places outside of traditional sending countries.
Experienced leaders and administrators will be recruited as part of the team. Leaders will either be SIM workers, or workers from partner organisations, with experience of doing ministry with that culture.
Once a team launches, they will:
Build friendships, seeking opportunities to share the gospel amongst their neighbours.
Develop a ministry strategy appropriate to the context.
Provide full reports of their progress to their sending churches and donors.
SIM has developed a new funding model to address the problem of workers being unable to go because they cannot raise support. The programme offers matched funding for any worker God is calling to join a Faithful Witness team. The funding will be offered for up to five years, at the end of which, the worker is expected to be fully self-funded. Each case will be treated individually and no worker will receive more than two-thirds of their budget.
Apart from funding, all Faithful Witness workers will be treated as any other SIM worker. They will go through the same selection, orientation and training processes.
If God is willing, SIM believes this project could transform the face of the missionary enterprise. The aim is to place 10 new teams every year by 2025.
Find out more
Pray the Lord will raise up mission workers needed for this pioneering gospel work.
Pray the Lord will raise the resources needed.
Pray that everyone involved in Faithful Witness will be motivated by Christ’s love to strive to make disciples where he is not yet known.
By Kerry Allan