Four African Churches seeking One American Partner for Long-term relationship
Reprinted by permission from the November 2003 issue of i.e, (In Other Words), a publication of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA. Typically a church partnership begins when a church in America wants to enhance its missions program by working with a people group overseas. They initiate a relationship that enriches the spiritual lives of everyone involved, and ultimately, sets the stage for Bible translation to begin in one more language.
But let’s think backwards for a moment. Pick a country... Nigeria, for instance. Let’s say there is a church there, or better yet... four churches, already working together to reach people groups in their own country. Say they have a burden to reach a particular group, the Kakanda people, and they have engaged a commitment from the Nigerian Bible Translation Trust (NBTT) and a Nigerian mission called Christ To The Unreached Ministries (CTTUM).
Initial research has already been done and the three partners are excited about beginning a program to reach this target group. Now let’s say the Nigerian partners know that although they are poised and ready to move forward with this program, they don’t have the necessary resources to accomplish it on their own. They are looking for one other church that would be able to come along side and assist them in this endeavor.
Say this is true. Is there a church in America willing to step into this ready-made partnership?
This information isn’t speculation. Indeed, a group of four Baptist churches in Benin City in Nigeria have initiated such a partnership to reach the Kakanda people. Surveys have shown that there are approximately 40,000 Kakanda speakers living along the banks of the Niger River in the Kogi, Niger and Kwara states. The people of that region have blended traditional beliefs with another major religion; there are no known Christians among them.
These Benin churches are seeking a partner church that is willing to participate in the development of a holistic mission strategy that would include Bible translation, literacy development and training in Scripture use. The Benin churches are prepared to help fund the project. NBTT is willing to work primarily in training and consultation; CTTUM will advise personnel and assist in the training as well. Wycliffe provides the common factor that unites the partners in a dynamic relationship, ultimately making Bible translation in the Kakanda language group possible.
What’s missing is a church that can:
- send short-term teams to build relationships among the partners and help plan the strategy
- assist long-term teams willing to be trained in language work
- supply some of the funds needed to keep the project moving forward
- uphold the ministry in prayer
The Wycliffe church relations staff is prepared to facilitate a partnership initiative such as this. Office personnel can provide vision casting and leadership training where needed to assist a church in fulfilling the Great Commission through investment in a Bible translation partnership.
Starting a translation in every language that still needs one by the year 2025 is possible because more and more people, churches and mission agencies from different national backgrounds are getting involved in Bible translation work.