Community Health: A Disciple Making Movement to Foster Peace

EMQ » September–December 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 4

Summary: A fruitful disciple-making movement in Burkina Faso has utilized community health outreaches as part of a holistic strategy to foster peace, make disciples, and plant churches among the Fulani people group. This indigenous and collaborative approach is a strategically significant way to meet whole-person needs in a local context.

By Boureima Diallo and Daniel O'Neill

Jam tan is part of the common greeting in the Fulfulde language meaning peace only. Fulfulde is spoken by the Fulani people group – a semi-nomadic, predominantly Muslim, traditionally cow-herding people of 42 million scattered throughout 22 countries in Central and West Africa. 

In 2007 a ministry named with this Fulani greeting (the Jam Tan ministry), started as a disciple-making movement among the Fulani people. They are one of 47 members of the Council of Churches Missions and Ministries of Burkina Faso.

Jam Tan’s ministry addresses issues related to health, social cohesion, and skills training through discipleship, church planting, education, relief work, and accessible health services. Their outreach in discipleship and church planting are specific to the Fulani, but their development services are for everyone (utilizing local languages and Burkina Faso’s official administration language – French).

In 2023, Burkina Faso ranked eighth lowest on the Human Development Index (HDI) and was subject to internal displacement from conflict and violent extremism.[i] Jam Tan continues to serve through these challenges, especially poverty and food insecurity, which were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.[ii] 

Health-related missions are increasingly recognized as a key to fostering movements to Christ among the least-reached peoples of the world.[iii] Jam Tan is a case study in the application of a whole-person collaborative outreach at the community level to facilitate those movements.

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