Tanzania: A Blessing for the Whole of Africa

Report of the first AD 2000 National Consultation
on Unreached People Groups in Tanzania
18 - 23 July 1999
The University of Dar es Salaam

Tanzania has a long history of churches and Christian ministries doing their own thing without close cooperation on a national level.

The consultation theme, "Reaching the Unreached," brought everyone together: mainline and Pentecostal churches, para church ministries, indigenous and overseas missionaries, younger and older leaders.

Twenty-nine unreached people groups have so far been identified. Some of them not having a single known Christian. This was a surprise for many leaders who thought that the country had already been thoroughly evangelized. But before the task can be done, the body of Christ in Tanzania needed to be prepared for this huge challenge. God did this in a miraculous way by changing the planned schedule several times. While the group of over 400 was worshiping, God spoke through several delegates very clearly. One message came up again and again: The need for reconciliation in Body of Christ.

Many were touched by the words of Jesus that the world will believe when his disciples will live in unity like Jesus lived in close unity with the Father. This well-known message touched the hearts and not only the heads. For hours (!) people were confessing their sins of prejudices, negative thoughts and bad words about other Christians.

Reconciliation took place between many different denominations, Christian ministries, races, generations and nationalities. A bishop asked his former pastor for forgiveness, because he hadn't left that church in peace, becoming a member of another denomination. Another pastor repented on his knees for the sin of hating Asians in his country. Younger leaders confessed before their older colleagues that they were thinking the kingdom of God has really started with them instead of honoring the previous generation of God's servants.

Evangelist J. Lutembeka said: "Reconciliation came at the right time. The truth was taken very seriously: if you say you love God and hate your brother, you are a liar. As a result, the kingdom of God will blossom in Tanzania."

Pastor Philemon Tibaninason, Chairman of AD 2000 Tanzania sees the consultation as a BREAKTHROUGH IN TANZANIA. Now there is great unity for doing the job. A new door was opened for revival, as young and old will work together in unity.

The ministry of reconciliation was performed in deeds not in words only, was the deepest impression of Pastor Y. Marko. He said, "The Lord showed us the sins of the nation. Because of repentance we now are able to do the unfinished work."

As a fruit of repentance the delegates expect a great spiritual harvest and other blessings for the country. As the Lord has put the highest mountain of Africa (Kilimanjaro) into Tanzania, there is the expectation that rivers of blessings will flow from Tanzania into countries of the whole continent.

For many years Tanzania has been one of the poorest countries of the world (per capita income), even though the country has a lot of natural resources. One of the reasons for the decline was seen in unrighteous acts of nationalization without proper compensation for those who had built up their business with their own sweat. As this sin was also confessed before our heavenly father, the delegates expect a new economical pushup in their country.

The immediate result of the consultation is a clear focus on the 29 known unreached people groups in Tanzania. More research is planned, which will be coordinated by the Pioneer Bible Translators in Dodoma.

The ministry of Rev Nicholas Osemeyan of World Thrust was very much welcomed. Based in South Africa, his heart beats for the mobilization of the African churches for cross-cultural missions.

After over 20 years of experience with missions in Nigeria, he is available now for helping local churches, denominations and ministries all over Africa to get a new focus on world missions (wthrust@iafrica.com).<>

Interdev helped to get a broadened perspective on how to do networking and partnerships in missions. Also a big delegation from Kenya gave many inputs for the success of the consultation. A regional AD2000 consultation for Southern Tanzania is planned at Mtwara (14-17 October 1999).

"We have moved a long way in a short time," was Ross Campbell's summary. As AD2000 Coordinator for Africa he has been to many consultations. He feels that this one was a great leap forward for missions in Tanzania.

Looking to the future - the formation of six ongoing working groups will carry the vision forward. These groups grew out of group discussions on Wednesday and Thursday and a process consensus building led by Wayne McGee of Interdev. The ongoing working groups formed will focus on:

Each group identified three or more immediate action steps and appointed a coordinator.

This report was written by Horst Engelmann, missionary with CMML in Southern Tanzania. "My heart beats for the implementation of the PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. If every believer is renewed in his heart, knows and uses his gifts and is equipped for the ministry in a lifelong modeling process: the permanent involvement of every local church in world missions will be a natural outcome. I am searching for models of leadership development programs, which are church integrated and mission oriented. I would appreciate any feedback to (CMML-DAR@maf.org subject line: to NANJOK, Engelmann)."<>

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