Ministry to the First Peoples

indianlifeWhat do you think of when you hear the word “missions”? Most Americans probably conjure up a mental image of intrepid evangelists traveling far overseas to distant lands, there to live and work with unfamiliar cultures.

While there’s some truth in that stereotype, a lot of missionary work actually goes on right amid unreached people groups right here in North America. Two ministries in the community, in fact, are dedicated to bringing the Gospel message to Native North Americans.

The first is Indian Life Ministries, which reaches out to Native North American (First Nations, Aboriginal, Indian, and other) people in the United States and Canada. Important to their style of outreach is contextualizing the Gospel message—telling the story of Jesus in a way that is understandable and culturally relevant to Native listeners. Indian Life publishes a bi-monthly newspaper addressing issues of interest to Native communities and the growing Church there. (For good examples of their storytelling ministry style, see their retellings of the Gospel story and the Wise Men story.) They also run a prison correspondence ministry; you can read about (and support) their projects at ILM website.

Another ministry that works with Native North Americans is Northern Canada Evangelical Mission (NCEM), an organization that aims to create disciples and establish churches within Canada’s indigenous communities. Among other things, NCEM runs the Tribal Trails television program (which you can watch online), a Bible training school, and summer camps for young people. If your heart is leading you to get involved, they also have summer missions opportunities during which you and a partner will live and work for five weeks in a reserve or Native community.

So if you feel prompted to get involved with missions but can’t travel overseas, there are plenty of missions opportunities in North America where your support, prayers, and participation would be welcome!

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