Bangladesh (MNN) – FMI was recently in Bangladesh, holding a four-day training conference to both serve and encourage the national churches.
Time for Training
Bangladesh, a Muslim dominate country ranking at #26 on the *World Watch List, has few resources, if any, available for Christians in this country.
To help, FMI has recently trained a number of national pastors and some church members for both leadership and evangelism.
So what happens at FMI conferences?
“Well, our national leadership team in Bangladesh suggested that we do a conference that focuses on Christian apologetics and evangelism and a little bit of comparative religions,” Allen explains.
“Even though Bangladesh is overwhelmingly Muslim dominate, there are pockets of Hindus and Buddhists, especially in tribal regions. And pastors need to know how to deal with different types of communities.”
Furthermore, most of these pastors have more than likely never had the opportunity to attend such a conference. Not to mention, because there are so few resources for these pastors to work with, often times most of the church leadership and evangelism falls on their shoulders.
Need for Resources
“Here in the West, we have so many resources at our fingertips. Even if we’re not a pastor at a church, we may be in other positions where we are rubbing shoulders with the church leadership or we serve in some capacities,” Allen shares.
For example, western churches have access to the internet and bookstores to learn more about the Christian faith and to obtain resources for evangelism. Simply put, there are a number of ways for congregations to develop leadership and evangelism skills.
Yet, in Bangladesh, especially the rural areas, there is little to no electricity and the country overall has a low literacy rate. To help remedy this, FMI also introduced and gave its new evangelism tool, Snapshot, to the pastors and church members attending the conference.
Snapshot is an evangelism tool meant to help build bridges with neighbors, family, and even strangers through which to share the Gospel.
FMI went as far to develop Snapshot packets that weren’t only relevant to the Bangladeshi culture, but also relevant to gender.
“People appreciated seeing images of a slice of life from their own backgrounds and that touch on things which are important to them. We also gave each pastor additional snapshot packets to distribute among people their church,” Allen says.
Since they are entirely image based, the Snapshot packet eliminates the need for technology such as electricity and even the ability to read. Allen also explains that each packet contains about three dozen postcard-sized photos. Each photo is meant to express emotions and concepts in different situations.
By talking with individuals and having them look through the images and choose what best fits their situation, those evangelizing are able to better understand the individual’s needs. Furthermore, this information helps to effectively share the Gospel.
“We needed to make [the Snapshot tool] as simple and versatile as possible…because we wanted people of all ages to use it and all educational sorts of backgrounds,” Allen explains.
So if you would, please pray for the Bangladesh church, its growth and evangelism, and for the Christians’ protection and encouragement. Pray also for the FMI team as it heads to Pakistan to lead a similar conference as the one held in Bangladesh.
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* The World Watch List (WWL), by Open Doors USA, is a ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith.