And Jesus said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. GO therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
REDWOOD COAST SCHOOL OF MISSIONS is an intensive two week missions training school designed to equip you for ministry in the church and mission to the world. The school is located on the campus of Arcata First Baptist Church in beautiful Humboldt County and takes place the last week of May and the first week of June, followed by missions trips both locally and abroad. The School of Missions has a line up of very gifted and experienced teachers with missions related backgrounds. These instructors will both instruct and inspire you in the things of God as you seek to grow in God’s heart for the nations. If interested, please contact the church office for more information 707-822-0367 and check out this link to our web site which will provide you with more in-depth information.
Arcata First Baptist Church has had a passion for missions and global outreach from early on in the life of the church. A rich and consistent history of over 100 years of commitment to the Great Commandment and Great Commission has marked the ministry of AFBC. It is our sincere desire to see ministries of compassion, evangelism and global outreach flow from the life of the church.
Local outreach to Humboldt State University, College of the Redwoods, Arcata House, and events on the Plaza, along with monthly outreach to Juvenile Hall, Arts Alive in Eureka, weekly Prayer Walking and ongoing ministry to Mountain of Mercy Ministry in Honeydew, CA. reflect a heart to serve our city and others through acts of mercy, compassion and justice.
Presently, we are also supporting works in a number of countries and have an adopted people group known as the Wodaabe, who are located in Niger. Following is a list of the various missionaries and mission works AFBC supports directly or indirectly through designated giving:
Eureka Rescue Mission
Mountain of Mercy
Pregnancy Care Center
Teen Challenge (Tom & Janine Throssel)
Growing Healthy Churches
Ted Rose – Pray America
Our Adopted People Group – The Wodaabe
The Wodaabe are one of the few remaining groups of Fulani in Western Africa that are still fully nomadic in their lifestyle, yearly herding their livestock across the desert. They live predominately in the country of Niger and spread into neighboring countries speaking a dialect of Fulfulde called Wodande.
The Wodaabe cherish their animals and are particularly fond of their cattle. Polygamy is common with most men having at least two wives, and, subsequently, many children. The Wodaabe are an incredibly hospitable and generous people despite their overwhelming poverty. The name Wodaabe means “The People of the Taboo.” They have and hold to many cultural dos and don’ts pertaining to proper conduct and hold the elderly in very high respect. They have unique customs involving dance and costume. The men paint their faces and dance to show off their beauty.
For the most part the Wodaabe are illiterate, though they often speak multiple languages. They are very intelligent though uneducated and ignorant of the world outside of their own.
Traditionally, they abide by animistic beliefs but have adopted many of the tenants and practices of Islam. Their way of life is very difficult and leads to an openness to nearly any religion they feel might help them, therefore we see much syncretism amongst them.
AFBC is committed to supporting and sending ministry personnel to the nation of Niger with the purpose of primarily reaching the Wodaabe and the Tamasheq through relationship building, humanitarian aid, evangelism and discipleship with the intention of advancing God’s Kingdom among these people groups.
Christianity and Culture
Throughout the Old and New Testaments God’s people have been charged with the responsibility to engage culture. In our present day, this cultural mandate not only compels the Christian to participate in culture, it also directs the Christian in how they should live in relationship to culture. Some Christians seem to believe that we should conform to culture in order to better relate to the world. It is important to understand, however, that there is a vast difference between reflecting culture, for the purpose of connection and communication, and conforming to culture.
Reflecting culture seeks to identify but does not seek to conform to culture. When the church conforms to culture the end result is always the compromising of the gospel message. This should never be. This idea of conforming to culture is in direct opposition to scripture which tells us, “we are in the world, but we are not of the world.” John 17:14-15
Other Christians look on culture as something that is inherently evil and should be avoided at all costs. This separatist perspective is equally impotent and fails to impact the culture in which it lives. Christians should find the above views unacceptable because culture is not only a reality, it is also a gift from God that needs to be consecrated, not conformed to or avoided.
In order to participate in the consecration or redemption of culture, Christians should both appreciate and engage the culture in which they live. Because we are made in God’s image, we are commanded to appreciate all kinds of diversity in God’s creation. This does not mean that we accept anything or everything blindly. But it does mean that we learn to value differences and seek common ground, whenever possible.
Christians also need to engage the culture in which we live. Although we live in a world created by God, it is a world marred and scarred by sin. Therefore, discerning good from evil is not always a simple task. Sometimes it is clear. Other times it is not. While appreciating culture on one hand, we need to engage culture with the other hand, seeking to be salt and light in a world that is often times tasteless and dark. This is how we can do our part in redeeming the culture in which we live.
Both of these elements then, appreciation and engagement, are necessary to impact God’s world in a distinctly Christian way. We can reflect that which we can appreciate and we can engage that which needs to be redeemed. It is this tension of appreciation and engagement that will enable us to both enjoy and shape culture from a Christian worldview.