The Missionary Mandate Newsletter

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Evangelization of The Bambara People: Our Initial Methods, Strategies and Prayers

By: Charles & Mia Harris


In our previous article; Declaring:  Our "Unreached People Group," we reflected on the cultural and religious background of this great tribal nation, our "frontier people group" (a term we prefer using in our research) as the "Bambara Tribe" primarily of Mali, West Africa, but also in Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal

In this commentary, we will answer some concluding questions that will allow us to formulate our approach and blueprint for evangelizing this indigenous tribe and bringing the Good News of the Gospel to their way of life. The questions are as follows:  Is there any current work among them? How would you plan to effectively bring the Gospel to them? We will reserve answering the first question mentioned for the end, and begin with a respond to the last question:  How would you plan to effectively bring the Gospel to them?

We have learned in our study of the training curriculum: "Pathways To Global Understanding" some very important facts about World Evangelism.  They include the following: (1)  Some "indigenous" people reject the gospel, not because they perceive it as false, but because they perceive it as foreign or alien; (2) other "frontier people groups" reject the Gospel because they perceive it as a threat to their own culture; (3) there is absolute authority in the infallible Word of God and Jesus the Christ is our New Testament model for influence and persuasion in reaching our "Unreached People Group." 


Therefore, our first approach would entail three initial strategies, first of all, sharing the true teachings of Christ; that He is no respecter of persons, no respecter of culture,  nor social, racial, or geographic boundaries. Secondly, Christ teachings, His promises, and His commandments are the absolute authority for deliverance and He is the model and healer, protector and reconciler of all people groups, nations, and tribes. Thirdly, helping them to understand that the Gospel and "the church of God is a multinational, missionary community."

Our first step is to learn the culture and language of the Bambara people and help them to know us not as foreign missionary from abroad, but as an extended spiritual family for above.  Our research has shown us that family and unity in the struggle for survival is paramount for every member of the Bambara household. We discovered that they have a strong sense of family, and work ethics and standards where men, women, and their children (between the ages of 12 and 14) share in the farming duties to assure survival in a very harsh property-driven living environment, hampered by famine and drought. But still, they value the marriage covenant which they view as an "investment," and although the social society is "patriarchy" in which the role of the male is the primary authority figure or where fathers hold authority and occupy the dominant role over women, children, and property, it was especially pleasing to know that the Bambara men honor their spouse believing that "a wife enlarges a man's status."  


Yet, despite the hardships and difficult struggles, the Bambara people have a rich and viable culture and honored family traditions that are demonstrations of a closeness with Biblical ideology, mandates and principles. Just like the Bambara people throughout history our loving God always honors the family and His desire is for all families in the earth to be blessed (Gen. 12:3). We believe this message alone will began to help them to know God's truth; that He is no respecter of persons, no respecter of culture,  nor social, racial, or geographic boundaries. They will come to know that the Holy Spirit flows readily through the bonds that exist between  family and friends. The Gospel promises will no longer be seen or perceive as foreign or alien, but a message spoken in their language and a true promise for their nation.  The Bambara people will come to know that what God has done to bless other nations, He can now do the same for them. 

Once the Bambara people have come to know us as representatives of God's family set apart for missions with a Godly purpose and goal and not foreigners' representing a alien gospel, designed to intimidate their culture, we will humbly share Christ teachings, His promises, and His commandments of agape' love as the absolute authority for both deliverance and salvation. They will learn that Christ (not man) is the model and healer, protector and reconciler of all people groups, nations, and tribes. In many families, the woman is de facto head of the house, because the man isn't, but this is certainly not true in their culture. And since the society is mainly "patriarchy" in which the role of the male is the primary authority figure or where fathers hold authority, we will began our witness first to the male heads of household, thereby, never giving an impression of being insensitive to community norms or that we are dishonoring their traditions of authority.  


We will even share Bible stories with them before they are saved, so they can immediately pass it on to their family and friends. In this approach, the husbands being the leader of the family can continue to lead by example, and not in a demanding way, but in love and respect through the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will acknowledge that the Word (logos) is Jesus Christ and there is absolute authority in the infallible Word of God and Jesus the Christ is our New Testament model for influence, persuasion, the very image of what God wished to say to all mankind. He is the life and light of the world, the Creator and Maker of all things in detail and whatever life is, and all that life is, it is in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now that we have establish our family connections as "one body in Christ" and our Godly purpose and goals and has now built-up God's love for the Bambara people by first edifying relationships with the leaders of the households; our third step will include helping them to recognize that "the church of God is a multinational, missionary community." They too must come to know and affirm that the mandate to "Go ye therefore," is inclusive of every tribal nation. That God has called them into holy action to be change agents and no action is complete without the gathering of new disciples into a dynamic fellowship with Christ, reproducing after its own seed other disciples, other missionaries, and other churches in new cultures. Why? Because Christ envisioned something in the Great Commission beyond Himself, and beyond His day and time. Christ envisioned an extension of Himself, and He chose discipleship as that method. Therefore, He expects us (the living Church) to do likewise through relationships and  fellowships to extend our Lord's character to others by discipleship as the Scriptures teaches in Mt. 28:16-20:   16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (NIV).


This task will be accomplished by working as an engaged ministry and partnering with other established missions that are committed to create an environment for evangelism, discipleship and leadership training that will ignite a movement of church planting among our unreached and unengaged people group.

Is there any current work among them?  Four million Bambara people live throughout West Africa, and more than 99 percent of them are not Christians. Multiple churches from the United States has partnered with missions teams periodically to disciple new believers.
  • Since 2006, more than 200 Christians are meeting in three new churches where there were none before, as a result of some Baptist missions.
More than 300 people groups in West Africa are considered unreached and unengaged. Among these people, little or no evangelism and church planting activity is being done by any Christian organization. Many have populations of less than 100,000, and it is unlikely that full-time missionaries will ever live among them. 

Our Missions Prayer

With gratitude, WE turn to you, God, to receive spiritual guidance, communication, and direction as WE engage to do Your Will through missions with our "Unreached People Group." In the quietness of our Right-Mind, the place within us where our minds are joined as One, WE listen to your Voice of wisdom and truth and WE know what You has called us to do.

Your understanding and spiritual guidance fills our heart and mind completely. Your guiding Holy Spirit directs our every step. In all that WE do, we acknowledge your holy presence and give thanks for the wisdom, strength, and serenity you give us.

As WE feel and experience your constant Presence in our life, God, we joyfully receive your communication, insight, and inspiration, gently guiding us on my path and making our way sure.
We affirm that in Christ Jesus, We are anointed and a powerful person of God. WE are joint-heirs with Jesus and more than  conquerors. We are the head and not the tail. He has given us power to make wealth. God has commanded His promised blessings upon our ministry. He has opened His Good treasures and WE shall lend and not borrow.

The scriptures teaches in Colossians Chapter 3 verses 1-2: the life of a true believer should be one with an "Holy Ambition." Therefore, we affirm by your Word of truth that we are set apart for missions with a Godly purpose and passion, with a mind affectionately set upon the things that are above and not below; working to cast down all imaginations and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God. Set apart not only in our lives, but also in our service both to God and to our "frontier people group."

And because of Your loving Holy Spirit, dear Father, WE walk in the guiding light that illuminates our path. Your voice within us gives the understanding, the insight, and the spiritual guidance WE need to make wise and compassionate decisions for missions.

You, dear Father, are our Infinite Source of Peace , Love, and Wisdom. Your Holy Spirit guides and directs us through dangers seen and unseen. Your Love enfolds us, and Your Light illuminates us.
WE are eternally grateful for your spiritual guidance and Holy call to action, In Jesus Name.  Amen

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