Nigeria Details – Part I

28 05 2008

(by: jt)

Again, thank you all for your prayers during the pastors’ recent Partnership Trip to Nigeria. In substantial ways, your prayers were answered by our Great God!

A Brief History: Vision Trip & Partnership Trip

In April 2007 a six-person team from Grace Church participated in a Vision Trip to Northern Nigeria seeking to discern ways that Grace might partner in the advance of the gospel among the Hausa peoples. During this trip the Vision Team visited with Christian leaders in Zaria, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jos, and Kaduna. The primary result of this trip was confirmation from the Lord that Grace should partner with The Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) in the spread of the gospel through church planting and Christian education. In significant ways ECWA is pushing forward in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, and in sustaining the work of the gospel where Christ is already named.

In May 2008 Grace’s three pastors returned to Nigeria in order to pursue a formal partnership with ECWA church planters who have been called to gospel ministry, identified by local churches, theologically trained, positively assessed by ECWA as gifted to pastor, and ready to begin the work of planting a new church as soon as financial support is secured. In every way the Lord kindly exceeded our expectations to establish such relationships by allowing us to see how He has been at work preparing such men long before the inception of Grace’s desire to be involved. Not only did we learn of such church planters, but we also realized that there are a host of these men of whom the world is not worthy. Currently, most of these called, trained, and gifted men are living in their parent’s home, sustenance farming, and waiting for the Lord to provide the funds for them to begin laboring among an unreached people.

With great joy Grace has committed to partner with two of these church planters, fully supporting their annual salary, and committing to visit them at least once annually to encourage them and the churches they are planting. Both of these church-planters will be moving from their current location to their respective “field” to begin their labors sometime around the first week of July, 2008. Much more information on each of these planters will be coming soon. Until then, pray for these men, their families, and also seek the Lord about joining the next Grace Team to Nigeria!

A Brief Summary of the Vision for Tomorrow:

Now that Grace is vested in the work of the gospel in Nigeria, we are joyfully committed for the long-term to the support and encouragement of the Lord’s work among the many unreached Nigerian peoples. This means at least two things for the immediate future, and there are even more implications in the days to come.

Immediate Future: Financial Support, Personal Encouragement, & Pastoral Training

  1. Grace has committed to provide the annual salaries for two Nigerian church planters. These monies will come from three places: (1) The Grace Church Global Missions Budget; (2) 50% of the Lottie Moon Christmas gifts in the month of December; and (3) any gifts designated to the “Nigeria Pastors Support” given any time through the Grace Church offering
  2. In addition to financial support, Grace has also committed to personal encouragement. This means that Grace has committed to at least one annual trip to Nigeria to work with the new churches being supported by Grace. During this trip(s), the Grace Team will assist the pastor in ministering to the people through evangelism, ministry to children, teaching adults, and encouraging the Lord’s work as He gives us opportunity. Again, please pray about joining one of these Teams.

Long-Term Vision: Even More Financial Support, Personal Encouragement, & Pastoral Training

  1. During each trip, we have requested to be able to meet with any interested pastors for several days of theological training in the nearest major city to the new churches that Grace is supporting. Thankfully, this request was met with great delight and anticipation. We were informed that most of the pastors from the city and the nearby rural areas will be eager to enjoy such training (During the recent trip there were approximately 60 pastors at our training). Therefore, every trip will likely include at least a couple of men from Grace who would be willing to prepare to teach/preach for several days on selected topics related to the essentials of the gospel. It is not necessary that the pastors lead this effort each time! So men, pray up and don’t be surprised if you are approached in the near future about investing in these men during one of our trips!! (FYI: These ECWA pastors are diligent students of the Word. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that nearly everything we covered on our most recent trip was familiar territory to almost all of the pastors that we trained. Ex: Nathan taught the relationships between a right view of God, self, sin, & salvation. Bryan taught an overview of a Christ-centered theology of the Bible, and Jordan taught the importance of Christ-centeredness in the local church as the ground for her health). It was very encouraging to realize that these “bush pastors” with no electricity, ministering to illiterate people, and farming just to feed their families, were well acquainted with the things we were laying before them! Even so, these men were greatly encouraged to persevere and to “excel still more.”
  2. Along with training pastors, Grace’s partnership vision is to be able to support more church planters who will carry the good news of Jesus Christ to places where He has yet to be named and where no Christian church exists. In that vein, Grace hopes to increase her web of financial support to more pastors each year. Though starting with the support of two men, our prayer is that God will supply exponentially multiplying grace for us to be able to support many more pastors in the coming years! Please continue to pray about your involvement in this great Kingdom work.
  3. Finally, it stands to reason that if Grace is supporting more pastors, and we are committed to encouraging the churches that we are supporting, then more of the Grace Church family will be needed on future Teams in order to encourage the work(s) that we are supporting. In humility the pastors are asking that you consider using 6-10 days of your hard-earned vacation sometime in the next 2-3 years for the sake of investing in God’s glory among the nations. We realize it will not be easy, or cheap, but we trust that if He inclines you to go, He will see to it that provision (for family at home, and for finances to go!) will be met. We are already praying for you! If you are interested at any level, please see Pastor Nathan.

That His Name might be Great among the Nations!

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