FELLOWSHIP OF NATIVE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS
A Strategy of Church Planting
For over 300 years, Native Americans have been exposed to the gospel, yet the vast majority remain unevangelized today. The primary reasons are historical and missiological. While we appreciate all that people do to share the gospel, we have to admit that the results could be better. To continue doing what we have always done and expect different results is not going to be productive.
Three factors are critical to an effective strategy to reach Native Americans.
- PASSIONATE PRAYER
Without the presence and power of God, no strategy can be successful. We ask everyone to join us in praying for a spiritual movement of God among Native Americans. We must humble ourselves and recognize we have failed to see a movement of Christianity among our people. It must become a burden that drives us to extended times of prayer and fasting. Without Him, we can do nothing.
- INDIGENOUS MINISTRY
A newborn baby requires much help. Everything must be done for the child. As the child grows, he becomes more independent. Eventually, he is able to do things for himself. Finally, he is able to do things for others. There was a time when Native Americans needed much help. Missionaries brought the gospel to us, taught us the scriptures, built churches, and did so much for us. We appreciate that, but the time has come for Native Christians to do these things for ourselves (and for others). Continued dependence on outside workers and resources will only stifle our spiritual growth.
The Fellowship of Native American Christians was formed to give a platform for our Native churches to work together for the cause of the Great Commission. It is time for us to take responsibility for Native work. As we do, we will discover that God will provide the gifts and resources that are needed. We call upon our Native churches to accept this responsibility, get involved, and work together, in unity, to obey the Great Commission. We can do it!
- URBAN FOCUS
According to the most recent U. S. Census information, 78% of Native Americans live off the reservation. Most live in urban areas today. However, most of our mission efforts are focused on trust land and reservation areas. We believe that we cannot neglect these areas, but we must focus on the urban areas if we are to reach our people. It seems wise to put the majority of our resources where the majority of Native people live.
The North American Mission Board, SBC, has a Send Cities Strategy; FoNAC has an Urban Church Planting Strategy. The strategies are very similar in terms of locations for new works. Rather than duplicate efforts, we will work with NAMB to plant Native American churches in mutually agreeable locations in cooperation with the Send North America Send City Plans.
- The FoNAC Executive Director will work with and through the Send City Coordinator. The FoNAC Executive Director will attend NAMB At Home Days for purposes of information sharing and coordination.
- In some cases, a Native American plant may already be a part of the Send Strategy. In other cases, it may be added to the strategy. Mobilization and the City Coordinators will work with FoNAC Executive Director to evaluate the City Plans for potential Native American Church plant dots on the map.
- The projected new Native work will become a part of the City Plan in a Send City.
- Financial resources are provided by NAMB to the City Coordinator’s Budget to assist with administrative expenses and church planting.
- The funds will be allocated to the church plant, rather than the church planter, and will be based on the strategy for the particular plant as determined between the coordinator, a church planting catalyst and the representative partners – church planter, sending church, etc. with the NAMB church plant funding projector tool. Funds may be provided through a cooperative budget with a Convention an/or additional startup funds made available to the church plant from the Send North America regional budget.
- The budget will include funds for a Catch the Vision Tour. Participants in the Tour will be responsible to pay their expenses (travel & hotel) involved in getting to and from the Tour site. Expenses during the tour will be part of the Coordinator’s Budget. If housing opportunities, to save costs, are available in a send city for groups, the Coordinator will give the necessary information to the group coming to the vision tour.
In addition to the NAMB/FoNAC Partnership, FoNAC will also identify other locations where either a new work (or a church revitalization project) is needed. Through strategic partnerships, we will facilitate a Native American church planting movement. Rather than short-term mission trips or events, our goal is to establish an indigenous community of believers (a church) in places where the gospel is needed. The goal is to empower the local people to be a witness in their local community. To accomplish this, we will:
- Identify locations where there is a significant Native American population and where a Native church is needed.
- Investigate the potential for a church plant by working through the state convention and local association, visiting the area, seeking people of peace, and engaging local support partners.
- Inform churches and individuals of the needs and encourage them to become involved helping to plant a church through social media, and promotion at events.
- Involve churches and individuals through participation in “Catch the Vision” tours.
- Invest in the church planting process by engaging churches to commit their time and resources to plant a church, develop local leadership, and empower the local people to be the church in their community.