Near-culture missions critical amid COVID-19 pandemic

By April 2, 2020

International (MNN) — There is a lot of bad news out there in this coronavirus pandemic. But are you ready for some good Gospel news?

Several ministries like Global Disciples work with near-culture missionaries – believers who are local to the areas they serve. Global Disciples supports near-culture workers in 59 countries who train and equip churches to make disciples for Jesus among least-reached people.

Galen* with Global Disciples says in the midst of COVID-19, they are still seeing God move.

Sri Lanka

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

“We’re a bit unique among mission organizations that are reaching the least-reached because the members of our team in Africa, Asia, and Latin America all serve in their homelands,” Galen says. “So we haven’t faced the challenge that many groups have in deciding with the disciple makers and church planters whether they should come back home during this global crisis because they’re already home! It’s a beautiful thing, really.”

Several countries already require creativity in missions work because of government restrictions or intense local persecution. In these countries, believers are already used to sharing their faith over the phone or the internet because face-to-face meetings can be dangerous.

“One of our facilitators in north India said, ‘As we meet people, as we hear from them on the phone, there’s a real fear. It’s like people are on a quest for who can save them from this pandemic virus.’… They’re having the opportunity to talk with people who are putting their faith in the gods and goddesses of India within Hinduism — but talking with them about the God who brings hope.”

Training taking place on a Nepali mountaintop with Global Disciples. (Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

Of course, Global Disciples isn’t completely unaffected by the current pandemic. Travel is obviously restricted. They have postponed eight annual equipping events for the year and moved staff gatherings to virtual meetings.

However, Galen says it’s not stopping the Gospel. The coronavirus may be multiplying and spreading, but it’s nothing compared to the viral spread of Christ’s hope and love.

“We talk a lot about [disciple] multiplication, and much of that happens on the ground. So we miss the interaction that we’ve had with each other when we’re together face-to-face but the primary work continues to go on to the level that it can in each one of those countries where our workers are involved,” he says.

“Just in the last couple of days one of our facilitators in China where they have been accustomed to working virtually just did a two-day training for a couple dozen of our trainers who are using virtual conversations and prayer, to equip their disciple makers to go out and make disciples. The multiplication has been amazing.”

As believers around the world spend time in quarantine, we can also spend time in prayer for one another. For Global Disciples, Galen offers these prayer requests:

  • Pray for creativity and wisdom as Global Disciples supports near-culture missionaries in restricted nations.
  • Ask God to meet the ministry’s financial needs.
  • Pray for this pandemic to open hearts to Jesus — especially in least-reached areas.

If you would like to support near-culture missionaries through Global Disciples, click here!



*last name omitted for security purposes

(courtesy of Global Disciples on Facebook)

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