Liberian Nationals’ Efforts to Minister to Unreached Groups
In the world’s third poorest nation, the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ is growing rich in abundance.
Dean Davis, International Director of Every Community for Christ (ECC), shared how God is moving in Liberia, Africa, through the nationals’ efforts to spread the Gospel, make new disciples, and plant new churches through ECC’s Train & Multiply method.
In 2015, Solomon Davis, a church leader and faculty member at Monrovia Bible College in Liberia, wanted to use Train & Multiply to help churches make disciples and plant new worshiping groups. ECC invited Solomon to train in the United States in order to learn how to use this method, but he was unable to come.
Instead, Dean said, ECC developed “downloadable training,” a way to send training guides and materials so that a person experienced in evangelism and church planting can train himself or herself and in turn train others. The materials were in English with African art. English is the national language of Liberia, but it also has some 30 other spoken languages.
During the training process, Jim Hogrefe, an OMS missionary serving with ECC, worked with and coached Solomon and his friends as they learned how to use Train & Multiply. Dean said that they took the training very seriously and started to train others. Soon, they had trained more than 100 church leaders and church members on how to use T&M in multiple cities and towns in Liberia.
Among those who were trained were two pastors who spoke not only English but also Bassa, the local language. After their training, Dean said each of these pastors shared what they had learned, took their choirs and evangelism teams, and journeyed from their homes near Buchanon, Liberia, into the African bush.
The bush is typically described as a place, usually without electric power, where roads and highways don’t penetrate. Most people living there survive through hunting and gathering methods and subsistence agriculture. It was to these harsh areas, areas where Bassa is spoken, that the pastors took their teams to create new worshiping groups.
“Not just one but multiple groups,” Dean added, “and they’re training those groups to go farther in and share the Good News with their contacts.”
This succession of training — from ECC, to Solomon, to other pastors, and then to residents in the bush — is an example of using “bridge people” to share the Gospel.
“Bridge people are bilingual and bicultural people,” Dean explained. “When we find those people, there’s a great means to advance the Gospel to places where it has not been heard or embraced. For OMS… Solomon is a bridge person. He has all these contacts all across Liberia.”
With each new level of trained individuals, the Gospel can penetrate deeper into new areas of the world through bicultural and bilingual bridge people. These people can come into unreached groups with a knowledge of the language and culture, an understanding of the message they need to spread, and the skills to equip locals to continue the mission.
For foreigners and even African urban dwellers, places like the bush can be undesirable or unreachable. By using other bridge people who have better means of access, such as Solomon and the pastors who speak Bassa, the Gospel can spread farther in Liberia than it could in strictly OMS hands. That is part of the beauty of the body of Christ and the remarkable power of God’s Good News.
This pattern of finding bridges into new cultures is critical for internationalization. In this case, internalization means letting cultures different from OMS’ take the methods they have learned to continue spreading the Gospel and to send out their own groups of missionaries.
Solomon and his people, Dean added, understand that this bridging process is now primarily a local initiative in Liberia. In other words, even though Train & Multiply may have started from an international source, it will be continued and sustained on a local level. Solomon and the others want to develop self-reliant, local leaders that can use T&M across Liberia. One of those places is in the bush.
“I have no doubt that sooner or later some of these people in the bush that speak Bassa are going to be bilingual and speak another language, and the Gospel’s going to cross into another language group because they’ve been empowered,” Dean continued.
One of the greatest ways that we can serve bridge people, Dean said, is through prayer, encouragement, and continuing support and coaching as needed. Please take a moment to pray for Liberia, Solomon, and his people’s efforts to use Train & Multiply to spread the Gospel and start new worshiping groups.
For more information about Every Community for Christ and Train & Multiply, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/ecc.
By Jess Mitchell, summer communications intern