A Framework for Reaching the Diaspora

By John Baxter

Recently I interviewed Nate Scholz, long-time cross-cultural worker with Frontiers, now working with immigrant Muslim groups in North America, also serving the Vision 5:9 Network.

Nate is a valuable member of NextMove serving on our collaboration/partnership team, and has identified principles for creating a collaborative ministry framework for urban centers with immigrant populations called the “Omega Challenge.”

Q: Nate, tell me a little about what you do.

I lead a Vision 5:9 Network task force focused on the Muslim diaspora in North America. I have also worked with NextMove to create some useful resources for ministry collaborations and partnerships among diaspora peoples in urban centers.

Q: What exactly is the Omega Challenge?

In a brainstorming session almost two years ago, we agreed that the biggest obstacle in sending to unengaged peoples was that, by definition, there’s no one to partner with — they’re unengaged. We felt the way to wreck this barrier was to champion the formation of partnerships. People feel more confident embracing the unknown when working with others.

We created a model that guides a diaspora champion to gather key people from churches, sending organizations, and practitioner communities in a given location, with a framework for reaching out to local diaspora peoples and preparing to field a team to a related Unengaged people group overseas.

We called it the Omega Challenge because “our final task is to make sure every people group has had a first chance to hear.”

Q: What’s different about Omega Challenge?

One thing is its open-source format providing a framework to get new partners started. We believe the actual ministry planning is a unique creative process that flows from working together.

Also, it pulls together the full complement of resources in an urban setting; churches, local ministries, mission agencies, and the experience of practitioners. These resources include the diaspora community itself, in both the local and overseas work.

Q: You conceptualize this with puzzle pieces?

Yes, the booklet shows six puzzle pieces joining together. This is an important insight — all pieces need to be in play for effective ministry to Unengaged migrating peoples.

Q: Where have you tried this?

Last November we held a summit in Kansas City with fifty passionate leaders, who identified four local diaspora groups and created cohorts that are initiating three-year plans built around partnerships for sustained ministry.

The goal is for the partnership to field a team to an Unengaged People Group in their home country – one sharing enough characteristics with the diaspora people to offer similarities in ministry context.

Summits are being organized in Dallas and Phoenix, but don’t wait for a summit –  we have resources for those ready to challenge their community.

Q: What have you learned?

It’s one thing to know something should be done about unengaged Muslims, and another to start engaging. People are spurred on in community, not in isolation. There’s something biblical about that.

But even communities need help charting new paths. We’re providing free coaching to Omega Challenge clusters, and identifying local logistics people to keep momentum rolling.

And, we’ve created communications systems to interlace groups who are working among the same people groups in different cities.

The combination of a community with unified passion, along with sustained support and diverse resources, will create environments for these partnerships to thrive. We feel we’ve created a valuable tool. We’re anxious to share it with those called to explore uncharted territory in building the kingdom of God.

For More Information:

Visit omegachallenge.org to download the Omega Challenge booklet, or complete the online form and get started.

John Baxter, Co-Founder and Director of NextMove, a Missio Nexus member, provided this article. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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