West Africa Strategy
The objective that North Side Baptist Church has with the Hausa Team of West Africa is pretty simple; together, we are striving to plant churches that will in turn plant other churches, that will plant other churches among the Hausa people until Christ returns. As North Side Partners with the Hausa team to do exactly that, we are currently utilizing a five step strategy. Here is an overview of how that strategy works, and the unique role that North Side plays in this strategy.
In addition to sending summer missionaries there, we will also be sending short-term team later this year. Dates will be posted very soon. Begin to pray about your role in reaching the Hausa.
To begin with, it is important to know that the area we are focusing on in West Africa is made up of 245 small villages, (anywhere from 250 – 1000 people). The vast majority of these people have never met a Christian or heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the first step in this five step process is what is called “village mapping.” Village mapping is simply finding these villages, introducing ourselves to the people of these villages (through the help of an interpreter) and discovering whether or not they are open to both new relationships and a new message. In all of these villages the village chief is a key person that ultimately decides if we can indeed move freely among his people and share the claims of Christ. As a result of much prayer and faithful going, North Side has been allowed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with 14 villages that previously had never heard this message of salvation. During this step one process, we are simply building relationships and planting the gospel seed. Village mapping is not only the first step in this process, but it is also one of the important steps if we are going to plant churches among the Hausa people.
The second step is one that is carried out primarily by the Hausa team (or missionaries) that are there. After a village has been located and is deemed to be open and receptive to the Christian witness, the missionaries then begin a process of follow up. Usually, the missionary will travel to these villages immediately following our departure and spend one day a week among the people of each village. His purpose there is to continue to build relationships and search for what is called “a person of peace.” The Person of Peace is someone that the Holy Spirit of God is drawing to Christ. He or she is someone that wants to know more about the claims of Christ and the peace that Christ brings between God and man. Because the missionary speaks the Hausa language, he can go deeper into conversation and ultimately build stronger relationships with these people than we can with just an interpreter.
Once the missionary has made inroads with the village people, he then seeks the Chief’s permission to bring a medical clinic to the village. It is safe to say that in these villages there is very little if any medical help at all. Due to this region’s poverty level, the Chief is almost always willing to give his people any medical assistance that is available. Once again, this is where North Side has been able to step in and make an important contribution to this overall mission strategy. During these clinics we show these Muslim people that God cares about both their spiritual and physical needs. Everyone who comes to the clinics hear another clear gospel presentation, is able to see a doctor, and is prayed for before they leave. To date, North Side has been part of numerous such clinics in West Africa.
The fourth step in this strategy is to seek permission from the chief to actually allow several Christians to move into the village and live among the people for a period of eight weeks. Most of these Christians will be college students who can make such a commitment during their summer break. The purpose of this step is allow the people of the village to both see and experience the love of Jesus in both word and deed. These college students spend their time working alongside the village people and sharing the gospel story with them through cassette recording. Their presence in the village goes a long way toward breaking down both cultural and religious barriers that must be addressed for the people of West Africa to truly begin to comprehend the gospel message. This fourth step is one that we are engaging in this summer as we send a team of college students from North Side to spend their summer months with the Hausa people of West Africa.
At the end of the summer, when the college students leave, the missionaries are now ready to go into the villages that by now have heard the gospel multiple times. The final step in this process is to actually invite those people of interest to make a commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If there are such people who are willing to follow Christ, then the missionary will begin an intentional discipleship process with them, pulling all believers from a common area together to form a church, that will hopefully plant a church, that will again plant a church until Christ returns.
The question has been asked, “What do you do when no one in the village is willing to make a commitment to follow Christ?” Without a doubt, this is one of the hardest things that the team must deal with. By step five of this process, the missionaries themselves have now built strong relationships with these people. They have loved them, prayed for them, built friendships with them, and pointed them to the truth of Jesus of Christ. Yet when there still remains so many villages that haven’t even heard of Jesus, it is difficult to stay in a place where there is simply and unwillingness to follow Jesus. The gospel must be taken to all people in all places.
As a church, North Side should be humbled that God has chosen us to join Him in this great work. God has purposed to save men and women from every tribe, every nation, and every tongue to Himself. This is a task that God will complete! We have been called and given the invitation to join God in this great work. Our job is not to convert, our job is be witness to the great truth of the gospel in word and in deed and leave the results of our faithfulness to God and the working of His Holy Spirit. So let us never stop going, let us never stop giving, let us never stop praying, until all have heard. Ultimately, our prayer should be that many who hear will believe and in believing a church will be planted, that plants a church, that plants another church, until Jesus returns.