Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP): Church Planting Among the Unreached
For the latest happenings, visit the Missions Blog's SNAP category.
Countdown to Sunrise – Let's Dig In
By God's grace one family from DSC has been in France for 2014, and is getting ready to go and plant churches in North Africa in January 2015. Another family from Redemption Church is scheduled to depart in April or May of 2015. We, the body of DSC, must dig in to send them out to reach the unreached for Christ.
We call it "Sunrise" because Scripture uses the sun and its light as metaphors to describe our saving God in Christ and We call it "Sunrise" because Scripture uses the sun and its light as metaphors to describe our saving God in Christ and the truth of the gospel (Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:77-79, Ephesians 5:14). Our prayer is that God will use us to send out workers into His harvest field and that the sun will rise on North Africa (for more on "Why Call It Sunrise? see section below).
Why Dig In?
Jesus commands His followers to "make disciples of all nations." God's heart for reaching some from every nation was clearly prophesied by John in Revelation 7:9-17. For His glory, He has chosen to save some from every nation, and His means to do so is the sending of disciple making church planters from within His bride, the church—Desert Springs Church (DSC).
How Far Do We Need to Dig?
As a body, we are have been able to support one family in 2014, and plan to support another family in 2015 and beyond with 100% of their needed funds. To financially support a family serving in North Africa, it means providing a salary, health insurance, and children's education budget, plus a ministry, travel, and training budget.
At current exchange rates, for a family of five, this can be close to $100,000.00 per year, not to mention any capital funds they might need to start up a strategic missions effort for the sake of planting churches. This $100,000.00 does not include the up-front expenses needed to move a family of five to North Africa, which can push $50,000.00 itself. $100,000.00 per year breaks down to just over $2000.00 per week, and for two families, it will be $4,000.00 per week. Watch the bulletin each week to track how much we are giving and how much we need for church planting. The weekly average amount must stay at or above $4,000 per week so that we can send out and keep out these workers for the long haul.
How Can You Dig In?
Give online (make sure to designate your recurring gift to Church Planting).
Many at DSC are already giving to SNAP through our Church Planting fund monthly. Many started at $1.00 per day in 2011, went to $2.00 per day in 2012, then to $3 per day in 2013, and finally $4 per day in 2014. Some are now considering $5 per day to church planting in 2015 beyond their general giving. If you are not yet giving, please considering digging deeper with us as we seek to send out missionaries to the unreached peoples of North Africa.
Prayer is the means by which we as a church can tap into the power of God, by His Spirit, to make a way for our church planters to go and make disciples. Please pray that God will:
- strengthen their walks with Him, their marriages, their relationships with children, and their relationships as a team.
- continue to prepare them to count the costs of going around the world, leaving friends, family, and the comforts of home.
- already be moving in the hearts of our future friends, neighbors, and coworkers in North Africa to be open to the gospel.
Become a care team member. A care team helps the missionary families on a consistent basis by being their liaisons to DSC for moral, logistical, financial, prayer, communication, and re-entry support. They are the church planters' lifeline to DSC and vice versa. Care team projects will include fund raising, short term support trips to visit North Africa, and prayer/awareness initiatives at DSC. To help "send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God" (3 John 1:6b), please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SPRING for SNAP
This is a season of increased awareness, prayer, and fund raising in our Countdown to Sunrise. Each spring, community groups work their creative juices in order to SPRING (Share, Pray, Raise Funds, INvest, and Give) for SNAP. Consider how you might be able to help turn time and talent into treasure and talk to your Community Group leader. If your group wants to get started on a fundraising idea, please contact Melody Shaddix.
We are not planning to track individual giving toward church planting. However, we do want this to be something that is intentional, cheerful, and sacrificial for you and your family. Please take some time each year to pray over these possibilities. Below are just suggestions about how you can "contribute cheerfully and regularly to ... the spread of the gospel through all nations" (DSC's Covenant of Fellowship).
Possible financial commitments for your family:
- $1.00 per day = $30.00 per month = $365.00 per year
- $2.00 per day = $60.00 per month = $730.00 per year
- $3.00 per day = $90.00 per month = $1,095.00 per year
- $4.00 per day = $120.00 per month = $1,440.00 per year
- $ ___ per day = $ ___ per month = $ ___ per year
Why Call It Sunrise?
The Arabic word for the North African region is Maghreb, which means, "place of the setting sun." This is because North Africa is located due west of the Arabian Peninsula. So, from the perspective of the Arab world, North Africa is where the sun sets.
Scripture uses the sun directly and light indirectly as metaphors to describe our saving God in Christ. Our prayer is that God will use us to send out workers into His harvest field and that the sun will rise on North Africa.
Zechariah prophecies about Christ when he says, "The sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." (Luke 1:77-79 [ESV])
In Malachi 4:2 (ESV), God Himself uses this same language about salvation: "But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall."
Isaiah, points to the Messiah when he says, "Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you ... the Lord will arise upon you and His glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising." (Isaiah 60:1-3 [ESV])
Paul likely quotes this passage in Isaiah to the church in Ephesus when he says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:14 [ESV])
As Paul affirms and John witnesses, we know that Isaiah's prophecy is ultimately fulfilled at the end of time as we see that God has called people from every tribe, language, people, and nation, from the four corners of the earth to come and worship Him forever in Christ (Revelation 7:9-10). We trust that this includes men, women, and children from the peoples of North Africa – peoples who currently have little or no gospel witness among them.
Several other passages refer to the coming of the Messiah, His truth, His presence, His reign, and even His people as a great light shining in the darkness (Isaiah 9:2; 42:6; 49:6; 58:8; John1:5; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 John 2:8, Revelation 21:23), but spiritual darkness and blindness reign in North Africa today. The ratio of Christians to non Christians in our target country* is 1 to 15,000. That's equivalent to only 34 believers in the City of Albuquerque! In addition to the scarcity of fellow believers, it is illegal to convert to Christianity and to meet together as a Christian body, not to mention the social persecution converts receive from their family, friends, neighbors, and public authorities.
But a new hope is dawning. God has promised to shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ on all nations! As the SNAP strategy continues to develop and build momentum, listen and watch for ways that you can invest time, talent, and treasure into this initiative. Read through the Arise Shine Prayer Guide and remember this initiative as you pray to God that He might use us to plant churches among the unreached and spread His glory broader and deeper.
* For security reasons, we need to be intentionally vague about the exact location of our SNAP initiative. Not that it is a secret, but that we must be careful about how we talk to protect believers in the country from unnecessary trouble. This will be true especially as we mobilize to send people from within DSC's body to live and work there. Traditional missionary activity is illegal in this region. Countries like these are often called "Closed Countries" or "Creative Access Nations" (CANs). We are prayerfully investigating how we can legitimately enter and live in this region and be a witness to God's goodness in Christ through the gospel. Please pray with us and honor this security protocol by not posting anything about this initiative on your website, blog, or other public venue. For more information, email email@example.com.