This is an article from the February 1980 issue: Campus Enters Critical Period

South Africans Take Initiative In Student Thrust

South Africans Take Initiative In Student Thrust

Thirty three South Africans students, church leaders, and pastors  were among those who completed the Institute of International Studies Intersession class this past month. The group, led and organized by David Bliss of African Enterprise as part of an "Unreached Peoples Pilot Project", has now returned to South Africa with the goal of reteaching frontier missions perspective among churches, schools, and Christian organizations.

Bliss is convinced that South Africa needs a vital new push to the hidden peoples. After 260 years of church growth, with South Africa approximately seventy percent Christian, only 270 of the 1620 South Africans involved in cross cultural mission work are outside the borders of South Africa. Bliss tells the story of a major denomination which recently completed an extensive, three year study of its priorities. The study listed six such major priorities and missions, missions encouragement, or mission support was not mentioned at all. Furthermore, the government's policy of Apartheid which is explained as separate economic and political development for each racial group, has the tragic side effect of imposing disunity between various Christian groups in the country. This contributes an additional impediment to the spreading of a common missionary vision among blacks, Indians, whites.

Mission consciousness is lowest among the black South African population, according to the Rev. ) Albert Majola, a i; black pastor and one of the students this past month. Mafola Majola, founder

and director of the Africa for Christ Bible Institute in Pretoria, says that the average black South African is only able to conceive of "white" missionaries, and has a difficult time perceiving himself or other black Christians being sent to other countries as missionaries.

Education will hopefully help to overcome these barriers. Efforts in this direction are scheduled to begin soon. Each of the South Africans who attended the IIS course came with the understanding that upon returning to South Africa, he would share his new perspective of missions with his church, school, and organization. Bliss will act as a catalyst for the spread of this insight, helping team members with resources, encouragement, and direction to simplify the reteaching task. After the reteaching strategy is underway, Bliss sees the formation of a sister Center in South Africa as a distinct possibility.

One outgrowth of the study tour of major importance is South African participation in the Edinburgh 1980 World Consultation on Frontier Missions, to be held Oct. 27 Nov. 1. Leiton Chinn, coordinator of the consultation, responded immediately to the initiative of five South African study team members who brought a proposal before the Pasadena Convening Committee. According to Chinn, the Committee members not only recognized a need for a parallel student consultation for frontier missions, but conveyed openly their conviction that this could be one of the most significant events to take place at Edinburgh this October. Following the affirmative response to the proposal for student participation at this major world consultation on frontier missions, the band of South Africans volunteered after prayer and deliberations to handle all administrative matters from South Africa.

This offer was also accepted by the Convening Committee.

If you desire to learn more about the spread of mission consciousness in South Africa, African involvement in Edinburgh 1980, or if you have a burden to offer your time or money to the furthering of this cause, please contact: David Bliss, African Enterprise, P.O. Box 647, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

'Hidden Peoples' Congress Slated

A Congress focusing on the Hidden Peoples will be held July 14 17 on the campus of the U.S. Center for World Mission. The four day experience will follow the national conference of the Association of Church Missions Committees, to be held about thirty minutes away in Claremont, CA, from July. 10 13. The two conferences, complementary in emphasis and purpose, can offer anyone, whether pastor, mission committee leadership, or interested lay people, as much as a full week absorbing the critical dimensions in world missions.

The program at the Center will give an overview of the major blocs of "Hidden People". It will also provide workshops and orientation in other critical "frontier mission" perspectives. More next month.

Leiton Chinn, coordinator of the World Consultation on Frontier Missions, discusses program interfacing with student consultation.


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