Everywhere to Everywhere Missions Conference
Written by Rev. Doctor Galela, South East Africa Regional Superintendent
It was in January 2019, at the International Conference of the Wesleyan Church in Barbados that my heart was stirred toward unreached people groups (UPGs) of the earth.
An unreached or least-reached people group is a people group with a distinct language and culture among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance. They are usually less than 2% Evangelical (joshuaproject.net).
Our hearts were on fire from that conference, and the Holy Spirit led us to start meetings with other leaders to dream about how we could be more intentionally involved in fulfilling the Great Commission as the Lord Jesus commanded, especially focusing on UPGs.
- What change must take place for the church in Africa to be an active participant in reaching the UPGs?
- How do we become a sending church in fulfilling the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:18-20?
- What missions model does the church in Africa need to reference to develop strategies relevant to our context?
We then developed a strategic working document which has become a blueprint for organizing and facilitating the Everywhere to Everywhere Missions Conference.
The South-East Africa Region had this historic gathering, the Everywhere to Everywhere Missions Conference, in April 2023, in Brakpan, South Africa. “Everywhere to Everywhere” is a way of acknowledging that every local church within The Wesleyan Church worldwide has a responsibility to reach the UPGs in fulfilling the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
It was the first time for the South-East Africa region to meet for the purpose of strategizing in Reaching the UPGs of the Earth. This conference was historical for many reasons.
It was organized, facilitated, financed and attended by National Superintendents, District Superintendents, key leaders and pastors from five national/regional conferences within the South-East Africa Region (Southern Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zambia and Kenya). They also brought key leaders from four different conferences and covered their own travel, accommodations and meal expenses.
It was a time set apart to seek God’s guidance in being active participants in the remaining task of the Great Commission.
These 135 leaders gathered to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives in obedience to Jesus Christ’s command of the Great Commission. We are grateful for the missionaries who came to Africa in the early 1900s, preaching the Gospel and proclaiming God’s love that brings us salvation, planting churches and building schools, hospitals, clinics and Bible Colleges. They planted the seed, nurtured it and brought the church to maturity, empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
It’s been more than one hundred years since the first missionaries came to proclaim Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection in Africa. Unfortunately, the church in Africa became settled in the comfort of their local communities. We remained in our Jerusalem; some in their Judea. We have not gone to Samaria and the ends of the earth.
During our conference, we acknowledged the challenges that have kept the church in Africa from spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth and resolved to address them.
- In the past, we thought of mission work as the responsibility of the West who came to Africa to make Christ known. Now, we have shifted and embraced a mindset of obedience to Jesus Christ’s Great Commission and commitment to be a missionary force to reach UPGs.
- Our churches are failing to meet financial obligations; like supporting pastors, districts and national superintendents. We now take a step of faith, believing God will provide the necessary resources.
- We were preoccupied by establishing our fields of ministry with the help of Global Partners. Now, we are mobilizing local churches to pray for the call of missionaries and enable the South-East Africa Region to be a sending church.
- We focused ministry in our Jerusalem and at times moved to Judea. Now, we’re embracing global mission of making disciples of all ethnic groups who have not heard the Gospel.
- We lacked awareness of those who have not yet heard the Gospel. We are committed in mobilizing local churches to engage in initiatives of reaching the UPGs of the earth. Becoming involved in the unfinished task.
The Conferences of the Wesleyan Church in the South-East Africa Region are rising to be active participants in fulfilling the Great Commission. The Everywhere to Everywhere Missions Conference has resulted in the following:
- To be a responsible and faithful mission force, accelerating the spread of the Gospel and making disciples from Everywhere to Everywhere in accordance with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
- To mobilize every local church to participate in starting or strengthening mission work among UPGs.
We are determined to take the necessary next steps of obedience for the Great Commission. We are committed that South-East Africa will rise to become a mission force; a movement with a focus toward UPGs. We will:
- Establish a prayer network to intercede for UPGs.
- Mobilize the recruitment and training of missionaries.
- Mobilize local churches to be active participants by praying, giving and sending missionaries.
My personal highlight of the Everywhere to Everywhere Missions Conference was the commitment demonstrated by participants standing up in response to the call to reach UPGs. It was a wonderful response of obedience and willingness to be used by God.
Rev. Gloria Azikiwe, the national leader for Wesleyan Church in Kenya writes,
“The highlight for the conference was realizing that some of the unreached people groups of Muslims, Indians and Buddhists are actually within our reach in the communities we come from. We interact with them when we go to the shops to buy things and find them in the shops.”
Rev. Thabsile Thwala, national superintendent of the Emmanuel Wesleyan Church in Eswatini, writes,
“Continue to marvel how God used the early missionaries to bring forth the gospel to the dark continent of Africa despite all odds. The sacrifices they made back then are still evident even today in the sense that we are a result their sacrifices. Today we have most of the conference in the South East Region because someone out there adhered to the call of the Most High God and reached out. That is a challenge that I went home from the E2E conference with, if there is a man or a woman that left the comfort of his/her home and come to Africa to reach out to me, we are also not exempted from doing the same. It is our time to do the same.”
The task is unfinished. The earth still has UPGs who still need to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead. It is the message of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death. Paul writes to Romans 10:14-15, “But how will people call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher (messenger)? And how will they preach unless they are commissioned and sent? Just as it is written and forever remains written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’”
I challenge local churches everywhere to pray, for UPGs, for God to call missionaries and to mobilize those who are sent as missionaries to the unreached. Every local church is accountable for the global mission God has assigned to us. It’s time to arise and invest resources into what matters most in God’s Kingdom.