Division of nation, not of church

By July 8, 2011

Sudan (MNN) — With Sudan splitting into two different countries–North and South–the last thing the church wants to see is a divided mindset. Global Advance recently facilitated leadership training in southern Sudan. What they saw in the pastors there only encouraged them.

Jonathon Shibley with Global Advance says of the training sessions, "There was just an amazing, sovereign move of God when we helped convene these Pastoral leaders [and] church planters together. There was just a new level of grace that came on them and a passion to reach their nation and various tribes for Christ like we've never seen before."

The mission of Global Advance is to be the provider that places tools in the hands of capable Christian leaders with a passion for reaching their Sudanese brothers and sisters for Christ. This leadership training does just that. The unique situation in Sudan made this particular meeting of leaders especially moving.

One astounding thing was the presence of Christians from rival tribes together at the training. It is rare to see rival tribe members come together, but in the name of Christ, anything is possible. Over 30 Christians attending the leadership training committed to planting new churches in some of the most unreached tribes.

According to Joshua Project, in the whole nation of Sudan, both north and south, there are 138 people groups considered unreached by the Gospel–over half of all the people groups combined. The need is great, and the last thing Christians want to do is to get so caught up in regional divisions that evangelism is overlooked.

Shibley states, "They even still have a heart to reach the north. Even though the nation is going to split between north and south, many of the believers in the south still have the burden to take the Gospel to the north. So that's a very encouraging sign."

Southern Sudanese believers do not want to lose their focus to reach the unreached across boundary lines, especially since they can relate to the hurt the nation is going through. "I think a lot of the [believers] feel like they've just been overlooked and forgotten in some way," says Shibley. "There's still so much pain that they've gone through over the last decade or so, and so there's still just a lot of inner healing that needs to take place."

Thankfully, God is doing a work in the hearts of Christian leaders in Sudan, and the leadership training facilitated by Global Advance is being used powerfully by the Lord. Shibley says, "As we convene those leaders and they're able to come together in Christ, the Lord seems to move in a special way and really heal their hearts and give them a new zest for life…and purpose for reaching their nation."

Like Esther who was called to difficult circumstances for "such a time as this," the church in Sudan has a similar calling. Shibley comments, "God has strategically placed them in their part of the world to be catalysts for the fulfilling of the Great Commission."

Pray for the church in Sudan as they seek to become more unified in a dividing country. Pray especially for the leaders from the training that they would have an ongoing passion and strength for ministry.

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