THE NIGERIA’S MISSIONS MOVEMENT RENEWS HER COMMITMENT TO BREAK FRONTIERS: HIGHLIGHT OF SPECIAL NIMEC 2017 TAGGED “GO-NORTH” WHICH HELD FROM THE 20TH-23RD NOVEMBER 2017 AT THE REDEMPTION CAMP, LAGOS-IBADAN EXPRESSWAY AND POST GO NORTH CONSULTATION HELD FROM THE 22ND – 24TH FEBRUARY 2018 AT NEMA HQ, RAYFIELD, JOS
The Nigeria Missions Executive Congress is a biennial conference cum retreat for Nigeria Missions Executives and denominational directors of missions. This year 2017, the leadership of NEMA sensed an urgent call to respond to the needs beckoning from one of the neediest regions of the world- The Maghreb, covering essential parts of North-Africa. The focus was particularly on Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Northern Nigeria and Libya. Of course it was an intentional effort to step up the Vision 5015 labours of the Nigeria Missions Movement by focusing on one region this time around.
This strategic region hosts about 146 people groups who have less than 2% of her population as followers of Jesus. Meanwhile, many are desperately searching and eager to find fulfillment in knowing who Jesus really is. When touched with the gospel, many become committed Christ-followers. These followers are undoubtedly the next generation of disciple-makers and church planters who will spread the life-giving message of Jesus to their families, communities and entire countries.
On the other hand, the consultation was also aimed at delisting Nigeria from the Unreached and Un-engaged Peoples (UUPG) list. This is by identifying the remaining UUPG in the country and securing commitments for their engagement.
Sub-Saharan Africa reportedly has about 180 million evangelicals out of which Nigeria alone contributes about 40 million. We believe that God has uniquely prepared and positioned the Nigerian church for a time as this to become a global mission force that will powerfully impact North Africa with the Good News. The relative proximity of Nigeria to these countries either by air or by road sends some signals that we cannot ignore. As a country with diverse culture and religious beliefs, the Nigerian church also has the edge of being exposed to Islam which is the predominant religion in the target region. Moreover, we are known for an amazing strength of getting things done in less than ideal circumstances. In other words, we are well built to withstand any situation and we are not unable to face daunting challenges and come out with desired results. In the same vein, we obviously share lots of cultural value and ethics with our North Africa friends and we will be readily welcomed with less suspicion compared to our “white brethren”. This in itself makes us “invisible”, poses less threat and lessens security challenges. It is also noteworthy that the cost of deployment is quite fair especially as a number of sub-Sahara dwellers can easily adapt to simple lifestyle. Furthermore, our ability to speak more than one language and in fact having some who already have Arabic (the North-Africa’s main language) easily demystifies the language barrier. These “whys” are reinforced by our commitment to prayer and warfare as well as readiness and experience of persecutions.
Thus, the objectives of the Go-North Consultation were as follows:
– To create awareness of the needs and opportunities in Northern Nigeria and North Africa as well as the potential that God has placed within the Nigerian Church to respond approximately.
– To challenge the Church to review her commitment to the unfinished task by adopting unreached and unengaged peoples and communities in Northern Nigeria and Northern Africa.
– To encourage a network of Missional Church and Missions organisations in Nigeria who will engage in sending cross-cultural disciple makers to specific parts of North Africa.
– To facilitate healthy partnership and networking between the Nigeria Church and her Missions Movement with “welcomers” in the region as well as other bodies working in the region.
– To expose participants to Disciple Making Movement (DMM) strategy and its relevance to the Mission in North Africa.
– Launch International intercessory teams and usage of the YKC application to undergird the Go-North Agenda.
The consultation paraded seasoned speakers such as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria/Nigeria Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. ‘Supo Ayokunle, Uncle Bayo Famonure, Dr. Randy Mitchell, Pastor James , Uncle Dele Onamusi, Bishop Sosthenes Eze, Past. David Ogbueli, Past. Fred Dimado, Rev. Canon Tim Olonade, NEMA’s leadership and a host of other panel discussants. In a deliberate effort to afford participants with first hand information and interaction with labourers in each of the countries in focus, the consultation played host to persons who are either citizens or resident missionaries/playing oversight role in each of the countries: Mauritania, Tunisia, North Africa/Algeria, Libya, Morocco.
The feedback from the meeting is quite overwhelming; these are indicated below:
52 persons responded to the call to renew their missional commitment.
203 responses were received showing commitment to delisting Nigeria from UUPG list in various categories: (105 responses indicated for praying, 15 responses commit to give, 42 responses indicate for going, 24 responses show that they want their church to be mobilized).
62 responses were received following the presentation on Mauritania (43 indicated for praying, 3 indicated to give, 19 responses commit to go and 4 responses show that they want their church to be mobilized).
42 responses were received after the sharing on Tunisia (20 indicated to pray, 1 response commit to give, 22 are ready to go and 3 want their church to be mobilized)
35 responses were received after the sharing on Algeria, Morocco and Libya (16 commit to pray, 24 commit to go and 6 commit to having their church mobilized).
Moreover, participants at the conference responded to the call to support a Nigerian missionary couple serving in Libya by giving a total of $1000 for the advancement of their kingdom labours in that country.
Participants also had the privilege to interact, network and challenged to partner together at the break-out session which held in the course of the program. Helpful missions resources were also made available for participants.
The high point of the consultation however is the signing of the Nigeria Go North Covenant led by the chief moderator of the meeting, Dr Chinedu Oranye.
521 registered participants were recorded for the consultation (the highest so far in the history of NIMEC meetings). 51 churches/agencies had more than a delegate, 103 churches/denominations were represented at the meeting while 71 missions agencies/ministries had representations.
Efforts have since commenced to follow up all the commitments made during the consultation. Few of the several feedbacks received after the meeting are:
-“This is the best conference I had been to in 15 years”- An international participant.
-“I got details of this meeting from a friend; I came out of curiosity to see what is going to happen and to ‘proudly’ share what I have been doing, but listening to these speakers, I have been humbled, I saw clearly that I haven’t begun”- A regional overseer of a leading denominational in Nigeria.
-“I am grateful first for the scholarship I received for this meeting and much more grateful that I didn’t miss it. I heard God speaking to me”- A participant from Northeast Nigeria.