Editor’s note: This is the fifth post in a 12-part series that highlights information found in IMB’s Annual Statistical Report. The report is based on 2019 research data. A full copy of the report is available at imb.org/asr.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD — CENTRAL ASIAN PEOPLES
Healthy Church Formation
In one Central Asian war-torn area, using money given by Southern Baptists for relief projects, IMB teams labored for many years. Now, all over this area, individuals have put their faith in Christ. Unfortunately, because of persecution from the community, few churches have formed. At great risk, several believers, following teaching IMB teams gave about church health, decided to covenant together and meet as a church.
Despite growing government pressure in Central Asia, pastors from several churches planned a community Christian worship service. Christians from more than 20 churches met for the worship service — an amazing feat since the number of attendees represented one-tenth of all the Christians in the country. As an IMB worker looked around the room, he saw healthy church leaders, many who had been trained this year in theology and Bible-teaching courses taught by an IMB team.
Exit to Partnership
Twenty-five years ago, there were few believers in the countries of Central Asia under communism. Now, several Central Asian countries have churches that are starting to send their members to serve among unreached people groups. An IMB worker in a large city is partnering with one of these cross-cultural Central Asians who trained 85 pastors this last year, many in a country where IMB workers are unable to train pastors themselves. A man who came to faith through the ministry of an IMB worker is now helping an IMB church-planting team in another country to engage a people group that has no church.
As of the end of 2019, 16 indigenous people groups in Central Asia are engaging other people groups inside their own country, and eight indigenous groups are reaching people groups outside of their country.
Your giving enables IMB workers in Central Asia to cultivate healthy churches, develop local leaders and partner with Central Asian churches who are sending out Christian workers of their own. Give now to support the work in Central Asia.
All data, except for active field personnel and unreached people group counts, reflects information from the 2019 Data-Year Annual Statistical Report (IMB).