Christians prepare for ministry in Indonesia’s new capital

By June 14, 2024

Indonesia (MNN) — The $32 billion project to move Indonesia’s capital is facing some major hiccups. President Joko Widodo decided in 2019 to move the capital from overpopulated Jakarta to the largely forested area of Nusantara on the island of Borneo, over 1,200 km (750 miles) away.

Bruce Allen with FMI says of Jakarta, “It is sinking eight to 10 inches a year. The city is overpopulated. It was designed to only be home to a few million. It has 10 million [people], and 30 million in the surrounding areas. Traffic is a major headache, pollution, litter, and water issues.”

However, two of the capital project leaders recently resigned, and President Widodo is facing pressure on his legacy project from hesitant investors.

Although the first phase of the new city is only 80% done, President Widodo announced he will start working next month from an office in Nusantara once water access is available.

The goal is for the new capital to be officially inaugurated in August for Indonesia’s 79th Independence Day.

“[President Widodo] would really like to see it finished before he leaves office toward the end of this year. So he’s pushing for it,” says Allen. “But, ‘Is it really going to be ready?’ is the question.”

FMI church planters in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of FMI)

As construction continues, God has already established His Church for ministry in Nusantara.

Allen says, “FMI has been supporting church planters on Borneo for over a decade. But once it was announced that this new city was going to be developed, our leadership team for partnerships on the island said we need to start church planting in Nusantara now so that by the time this influx of civil servants from all these different islands come to be part of the government in Nusantara, there are Christian churches waiting for them.”

One FMI church partner on Borneo already has 30 congregation members meeting together and worshipping in a home.

“They’re looking to also do construction for a church site,” says Allen. “They have all the permits. But as you might imagine, with all the construction materials being purchased for the government project, how expensive it is for this congregation to save funds from their offerings to buy the construction materials.

“The construction costs for [the church building] materials are about $15,000. While that might not seem like a whole lot for a building for us here in North America, that’s a substantial amount in Indonesia.”

Want to support FMI church planters in Indonesia? Click here to give at FMI’s website.

Then, pray for FMI church planters in Indonesia — especially those preparing for ministry in Nusantara. Ask God to grow their churches and establish a widespread Gospel witness for this young city.





Header photo of a busy street in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Pranata/Unsplash)

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