Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Strategy-Coordinator Churches: New Wave In Global Outreach
- Anti-Christian Hostility, Militant Hindu Attacks Escalating in India
- Charles E. Blair Foundation Announces Completion of Project to Fund 1,000 Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia
- Israel Leasing Kinneret Shore To Evangelicals For Proposed Biblical Theme Park
Strategy-Coordinator Churches: New Wave In Global Outreach
First Baptist Woodway in Waco, Texas, typifies an exciting new phenomenon in international missions: the strategy-coordinator church. What is a strategy-coordinator church? "It's a church that is owning the task of taking the Gospel to an unengaged people group," says Ken Winter of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board's church services team. "It is making a commitment that says, 'We, under God's leadership, are going to do whatever it takes to see this people coming to Christ, being discipled and churches being planted that will lead to other churches being planted'" -- and, ultimately, to a church-planting movement that sweeps through a population. Winter counts about 40 Southern Baptist churches now actively committed to reaching specific people groups and cities around the world that aren't being touched by any missionary or evangelical group. Strategy-coordinator churches vary in size and type, from large congregations with multiple mission commitments to much smaller bodies focused on a single task. The strategy-coordinator church takes primary responsibility for reaching its particular population or location -- strategizing, guiding the work and mobilizing others to get involved. What they all share is a vision for the world -- and a need for training, mentoring and encouragement. Leaders from 23 strategy coordinator churches met earlier this year with IMB strategists to trade ideas and sharpen ministry models.
Anti-Christian Hostility, Militant Hindu Attacks Escalating in India
Allie Martin, AgapePress
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a ministry that provides support and advocacy for members of the persecuted Church around the world, is reporting that cases of attacks by militant Hindus against Christians are on the rise in India. Recently a group of Hindu fundamentalists attacked a Christian missionary compound, severely injuring several people. In the latest attack, Hindu militants stormed the facility of the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society, the largest indigenous Christian missionary agency in eastern India. Before that attack, a mob of about 800 Hindu fundamentalists held the compound under siege for several days. VOM's Todd Nettleton says such incidents of violence against Christians are happening all over India. Nettleton says several factors contribute to the violence. "There is definitely a more radical form of Hinduism," he points out. "The government that was replaced earlier this year was a radical Hindu government, a Hindu nationalist party, and so there has been more radical Hinduism within the society." Nettleton notes that the World Hindu Council recently called for a comprehensive law banning religious conversions in India. Meanwhile, reports of Christian church leaders being threatened and village churches being destroyed by local Hindus continue to be a daily reality in India.
Charles E. Blair Foundation Announces Completion of Project to Fund 1,000 Evangelical Churches in Ethiopia
Religion News Service
Dr. Charles Blair and the Blair Foundation, Denver, Colorado, announced August 31, 2005 the successful completion of a two-year project to secure sponsors to fund the planting of 1,000 evangelical churches in the previously unreached region of Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia, bordering the Sudan. The project began in response to a plea from the region’s born-again president, Yaregal Aysheshim, and officially launched September 1, 2003, at which time there were only seven churches in the entire region. Numerous individuals – from elementary school children to senior adults – and ministries from 46 states and 8 countries joined together, making the 1.85-million-dollar undertaking a reality. The “Ethiopian Call” project has been featured on both the Daystar and Inspiration television networks, as well as in Charisma and Christianity Today magazines. Each of the one thousand $1850 sponsorships provides a full year of salary, a study Bible and four training sessions for a native Ethiopian missionary; Bibles for new converts; a church benevolence fund; and materials to help construct a church building. Land for construction is granted by President Aysheshim as soon as a village congregation reaches 25 adult members. Typically, each Ethiopian missionary establishes sister churches in at least two neighboring villages, making possible the complete evangelization of all 3,000 villages and the estimated one-million+ populace of the Benishangul-Gumuz region in the next two years. (www.blairfoundation.com) ([email protected])
Israel Leasing Kinneret Shore To Evangelicals For Proposed Biblical Theme Park
Michael Ireland, Assist News Service
Plans are underway to develop an evangelical Christian center in the area along the northeastern edge of Israel's Lake Kinneret. "The landscape there is quiet, the wind blows gently and the Korazim River meanders tranquilly, much as it did in the time of Jesus, but this undisturbed vista may not last much longer," says a report posted to the For Zion's Sake ministry website. As part of the project, Israel will initially lease 125 acres (500 dunams) in the area between Capernaum, Tabgha and the Mount of Beatitudes -- a mini-Israel of sorts and perhaps a biblical theme park. The idea: to build a center that will provide Christian believers with a sense that "Jesus lived here." Some see the project as having great potential to attract pilgrims. Tourism Minister Hirchson believes that the new center will draw a million to 1.5 million additional tourists a year. According to the For Zion's Sake ministry web report the center is also likely to add a day to pilgrims' visits to the Galilee and it is estimated that every day with 100,000 visitors means income of $130 million. (www.zionsake.org)