In 2012, the Lord led GraceLife Baptist Church in Christiansburg, VA to accept a challenge from the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention to reach an Unreached/Unengaged People Group (UUPG). This prayerful and intentional journey brought Pastor Tim Hight and the congregation to adopt the Ndau of Zimbabwe in a long-term mission partnership with the IMB and the Zimbabwe Baptist Convention. Other Southern Baptist churches have also participated by sending team members, financial support, and prayer support.
Located along the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the Ndau are a tribe of people numbering approximately 450,000. This “forgotten tribe” of Zimbabwe is considered the only UUPG left in the nation. Less than 2% evangelized, most of the Ndau have heard little or nothing about the truth of Jesus and His saving work on the cross.
“The mission we have [currently] embraced is to send small teams into select unreached Ndau villages where there is no Gospel witness,” shares Pastor Hight. “Each team of 4–6 spends their mornings sharing the Gospel in homesteads and leading evangelistic meetings in the evenings. Afternoons are spent leading discipleship sessions, children’s ministries, and doing leadership training.” As of 2017, they have been able to plant four new churches and establish another three more preaching points.
In April 2015, Hight’s team, along with local pastors and the Zimbabwe Baptist Convention, planned a leadership conference in the village of Muanganidze with a two-fold purpose: 1) to provide evangelism training for the leaders and new believers, and 2) to explore this new village as a potential preaching point. Hight and SBCV church planting strategist Randy Aldridge held training sessions at the local school during the day and evangelistic services at night.
The 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide was the evangelistic tool used for the training event. Approximately 50 people attended the sessions. Each participant learned the 3 Circles Gospel presentation and had the opportunity to practice the presentation with several people before going out to do evangelism in the village homesteads.
The conference attendees found the 3 Circles presentation easy to learn and an excellent cross-cultural tool for sharing the Gospel. The participants practiced drawing the circles in the sand as they explained the Good News. One associational leader, Pastor Karakadzai Manyanga, says, “We can use this method all over Zimbabwe to share God’s salvation with His people.”
“One highlight of the weekend,” says Hight, “was when an unexpected opportunity arose to share the Gospel with a local soccer team of young adults. The 3 Circles presentation was used, and nearly the entire team—21 to be exact—made commitments to follow Christ.”
Many of the new believers came forward in the evening service and later joined the new church plant. All in all, some 165 people made decisions to follow Christ over the three days of witnessing and evangelistic meetings. Pastor Hight rejoices, “[On this trip,] a new church plant was birthed in a previously unreached and unevangelized village, and the congregation is still prospering nearly three years later.
“The 3 Circles presentation proved to be practical, reproducible, and transferable among the Ndau tribe of Zimbabwe and is still being used there to introduce others to Christ and the Gospel.”
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