The question is “What’s next?”

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First missionaries being prepared to be sent, prayer fellowship established, a new task force being considered; Watson Rajaratnam looks at ‘what’s next’ for the Malawi Mission Initiative (MMI)

For people familiar with the hit US TV drama “The West Wing” you will be aware of President Josiah Bartlett’s regular demand of his staff: “What’s next?” That question is now being asked by the Malawi Mission Initiative (MMI) as it moves forward towards the sending of its first missionary outside of Malawi’s borders.

The driving force behind this, and the man asking the question, is Watson Rajaratnam, SIM Malawi’s New Initiative Consultant.

Outcomes vital

He also believes that having programmes is fine as long as they lead to something specific coming out of them. With that in mind, he has been organizing follow-up events for Pastors’ Book Set (PBS) Conferences conducted in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre over the last few years.

“The PBS Conferences, in terms of numbers, have been very successful. The last three events have seen over 1,700 pastors from all over Malawi attending and knowing more about the need to send missionaries across the borders,” said Watson.

“But the question I have is how many of these people just attended to say they had been and how many have a real passion for mission as a result?”

To try to quantify this question, Watson included a question in the Feedback form for the 2015 Mzuzu PBS, asking which of the delegates wanted to go further in exploring overseas mission work. Around 30 people, about ten per cent of the delegates, answered in the affirmative. He then did similar work with earlier PBS Conferences, and more than 50 pastors from both the Lilongwe and Blantyre PBSs answered positively.

“This was very heartening for me,” said Watson.

Malawi Mission Prayer Fellowship

“It proved there was an enthusiasm for mission, and we had to feed that enthusiasm by providing the follow-up meetings. But these should not become means to an end in themselves. These, too, have to move things forward. I am passionate that programmes without progress do not contribute to mission.”

So, as a result of the three follow-up meetings, the Malawi Mission Prayer Fellowship (MMPF) was set up in May this year, with groups meeting in Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre. Every month a group of pastors meet to learn more about unreached people groups, pray and plan about moving mission forward in their church or their area.

Multi-denominational

A number of denominations are represented, both in these meetings and in the make-up of the MMI. On the board, for example, are senior personnel from the Africa Evangelical Church, the Zambezi Evangelical Church, Assemblies of God, CCAP, Evangelical Association of Malawi to name but a few.

But good as this representation is, it presents another problem which could hinder the progress that Watson is determined to see achieved.

“We have very senior people on the board, but this means that they are also very busy people, responsible for running major church organisations, and so getting them together for meetings can be a problem which could lead to things slowing down,” he said.

“What’s Next?”

So what is the solution to this? What is the “What’s Next?”

“The solution seems to be to set up a Task Force made up of people nominated by the board members, and this Task Force will be the driving force behind developing things moving forward,” he said.

“This Task Force could be instrumental in developing the vision of the MMI for the next five years, and this kind of planning will help us build on the enthusiasm that is already in place and could result in a significant move of people coming forward as potential missionaries.

“Indeed, some of the denominations are already starting to look at lay members as potential missionaries rather than just the ordained pastors. Now that is a new way of thinking for the Malawian Church, and that is progress!”

So the answer to the question: “What’s Next?” Watch this space!

 

The Malawi Mission Initiative is supported by SIM Malawi Project MW96753 Mission Advancement Fund

 

 

 

 

 

First missionaries being prepared to be sent, prayer fellowship established, a new task force being considered; Watson Rajaratnam looks at ‘what’s next’ for the Malawi Mission Initiative (MMI)

 


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