Does reaching every tribe, tongue, and nation extend to Native Americans? That’s a definite yes, according to Bruce Farrant, coordinator of Native American/First Nations Ministries on behalf of Mission to North America (MNA). The ministry seeks to plant churches and raise up leaders within North America’s Native American communities, as well as encourage churches to get involved in this outreach.
Before joining MNA, Bruce and his wife lived and worked among the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. From his experience, Bruce knows that Native Americans are often leery of missionaries, who in the past expected Native converts to give up their culture and traditions. As a Native friend of Bruce’s said, “Native Americans are not unreached people groups; they are often mis-reached people.” After 500 years it is estimated that only two to five percent of indigenous people profess to be believers.
Much of Native American/First Nations Ministries’ work focuses on reconciliation. “We just want to form relationships,” says Bruce, “and let the gospel do its work.” Although such outreach progresses slowly within the PCA, there are at least two new predominantly Native American churches now operating, and 10 new focus areas within Native communities. As part of this continuing ministry, Bruce is hoping to develop discipleship materials and teachings on the doctrines of grace that would be more easily adapted to the Native American cultural context.
Bruce is encouraged by the PCA’s growing desire to reach out in love to our “first neighbors.” “We want to make churches aware of this area of ministry,” says Bruce, “and pray God would raise up people to serve.”
To learn more about MNA’s First Nations/Native American Ministries, contact Bruce Farrant at (865) 292-3098 or visit pcamna.org/nativeamerican.