An estimated 140 million Africans live outside of the continent of Africa
Bringing the Good News of Jesus to Africa’s hardest to reach people does not always mean a move to Africa.
Today, millions of Africans live outside of Africa: in North America, Europe, and around the globe – the African diaspora. There are pockets of Sudanese in Nebraska, Moroccans in the Netherlands, and Senegalese in Spain. Reaching out to these populations, and others like them, is called diaspora ministry.
God’s original call on Africa Inland Mission (AIM) was to go to the ‘Inlands’; Africa’s unreached; those who have yet to hear of the saving gospel of Christ. Many of those people groups remain unreached because they are difficult to access; because of their geographical location or increasingly, because adherence to Islam means that traditional mission work is not possible in their countries. But now, people in those locations are coming to us.
Thousands of Africans are journeying every month. Some are moving for economic reasons, some are escaping political oppression, and others are seeking to avoid religious persecution. Africans also come as students or as international employees.
AIM’s Diaspora Outreach Teams serve in strategic communities where significant populations of ethnic Africans live, and we seek partnerships with Christ-centered, biblically-based churches. Working in cooperation with these churches, AIM missionaries have a unique opportunity to build relationships and share the hope of Christ with people groups we would not normally have the opportunity to work among.
Diaspora [dahy-as-per-uh] : any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland
Our Vision :
Multiplying followers of Jesus among all African peoples in the diaspora
Whether they are economic migrants, international students, undocumented immigrants, refugees or asylum seekers, one fact remains the same – They are the new neighbors our churches are called to love.
Though AIM has had a long history of ministry to diaspora Africans, the growing trends and a new perspective on missions is causing us to increase our efforts. First and foremost is our desire to come alongside the church in North America and Europe to equip them for effective outreach. Currently AIM has workers who have “moved in” to African immigrant neighborhoods in several cities in Canada, Europe, Brazil, and the USA. All of these workers partner with local churches to extend the gospel by reaching out to these communities in practical ways that demonstrate Christ’s love. Whether it’s at home, work, clubs, moms and toddler groups, ESL classes, or at-risk youth mentoring, these workers want their African friends to know and experience life with Jesus.
Being able to speak their language and having lived in their countries of birth, many of these AIM workers are a crucial bridge between the local church and these new neighbors.
We desire to see these unreached people groups embrace the good news of Jesus and to form new communities of faith in their heart language and culture. Those coming from these groups need a safe community. They need the gospel to be translated in living color as grace is being extended.
The best way AIM is going to see this realized is by coming alongside the local church in the neighborhoods and cities where African immigrants are finding their new life. We want to train and mobilize everyday believers to “move in” and live as missionaries embracing and understanding their new neighbor’s culture. Going to the unreached, and being as Jesus on the diaspora road.
Opportunities to Serve
International Discipleship Experience through AIM’s DREAM teams
Our summer “Dream Teams” run for two weeks and will allow you to experience “hands on” diaspora ministry through partnership with local organizations. You will be equipped to share the good news of Jesus in an intentional manner alongside your teammates, while serving vulnerable communities in practical ways . You’ll build friendships with refugees and immigrants who have turned to Europe to find hope and a better life. Many of the people you meet will come from a Muslim background and you may be their first Jesus following friend. DREAM Teams are an excellent way to gain experience in serving people of other cultures as you grow your understanding of the complexities and challenges immigrants face as they move to seek a brighter future. You will also be encouraged as you partner with local Christians who demonstrate their love for Jesus, through a generous spirit of hospitality and a commitment to make Him known to others. Applications for each summer team are due by the end of March.
Full term opportunities around the globe
AIM’s Diaspora Outreach Teams serve in strategic communities where significant populations of ethnic Africans live, sharing the hope of Christ in word and deed. Talk to an AIM Mobilizing Office near you to learn more about current opportunities.
Full term diaspora ministry can include:
- One-on-one evangelism and discipleship
- Equipping local believers to reach out to the African diaspora
- Language learning / ESL
- Practical assistance for immigrants and refugees such as driver’s training and citizenship classes
- University Student Ministry
Catch a glimpse of our summer Dream Team ministries in this video.
Walking along the seafront, we saw a young African man sitting on a bench.
We greeted him, and he asked us to sit down (always a good sign). He told us he was named “Jimmy,” that he was from The Gambia, that he had residency papers and a job, and that he was a Muslim. He also told us that he believed in Jesus, but not in the same way that Christians did. We could see that Jimmy was very interested in the gospel. We talked with him for a long time, shared Scripture with him, gave him some Christian literature, and downloaded the Jesus film onto his phone. We exchanged details, prayed with him, and moved on.
A few days later, Jimmy sent this message to me: “Thank you, the movie is much more educational than I expected, I am watching it again and again! It will be my pleasure to meet someone who can explain more details to me.” We exchanged more messages, and passed his details on to a local worker.
In Acts 18:10, the Lord told Paul that he should keep speaking clearly because he had many people in Corinth. The Lord has many people in Malta too. And in your city. We just need to find them. And the best way to do that is just to talk to them. We found Jimmy on a seafront bench. Where is your Jimmy?
(Editor’s note: Jimmy came to Christ later that summer).
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him…” [Acts 17:26-27]