A great number of churches in Nigeria are united behind the vision of sending 15,000 tentmakers and missionaries to North Africa and the Middle East. Now they invite Christians from other nations in West Africa to participate in what can turn out to be one of the major movements in modern mission history.
Last year we had an evaluation of how far we have reached already. We are behind our targets when it comes to recruiting 15.000 workers by 2020, but we will continue to work to achieve these goals, says Samuel Olatunbi, director of the Nigerian Evangelical Missions Institute (NEMI).
Ready for persecution
NEMI belongs to Nigerian Evangelical Mission Association (NEMA), which is a joint mission enterprise for a number of churches and organizations in Nigeria. It is this entity that initially made a commitment to recruit and train 15,000 new workers who could bring the Gospel onwards to North Africa and the Middle East. The northern states of Nigeria are also included in the vision, which has been named “Vision 5015.”
Christians are persecuted in several of the targeted nations and areas. Some years ago the former NEMA-leader, Timothy Olonade, said he believed that God has prepared Nigerian Christians in a special way to share the Gospel in nations where the church is under pressure.
We have persecution in our own homeland. Thus we know how to act, he stated.
NEMI-director Samuel Olatunbi says that it has been a challenge to find the right strategy for the work in North Africa and the Middle East. Now the NEMA leaders have decided to recruit, train and send tentmakers. Those who go will thus study, get a paid job or establish businesses.
140 churches and congregations are members of NEMA. Today the enterprise has 7,200 missionaries serving in 96 countries. The vision of recruiting 15,000 new workers was conceived in 2005.
In recent months we have constantly been reminded that we need to think further than just Nigeria when we recruit people. Our hope is that Vision 5015 can be a common goal for Christians in all countries in West Africa, says Samuel Olatunbi.