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Reaching into Jamaica

November 2006 | by Vernon Allen

From a historical perspective, Jamaica is an island that has been reached with the gospel. We have freedom of religion; the population has access to thousands of churches; and Jamaica claims to be a Christian nation. However, there are still opportunities for missionaries to labour here, especially in the areas of theological education and works of mercy.

Reformed theological education in Jamaica is woefully lacking. There is also a noticeable disconnection between what the average Christian professes and how the average Christian lives.

There is an urgent need for believers to have a Christian world-view and to present an authentic Christianity that challenges individuals, institutions and philosophies antagonistic to the gospel of Christ.

We believe that missionaries from the Reformed tradition can be of great help in achieving these goals – because they have a healthy tradition of biblical scholarship which, in turn, illuminates their Christian walk.

Jamaica has a struggling economy, an annual inflation rate of 8.4%, and a per capita income of around £1500. This means that evangelical churches in Jamaica face a constant challenge in knowing how best to minister to the many needy and impoverished communities among which they are placed. Often they fall short of meeting these needs.

So there are opportunities for churches in countries with strong economies to partner the evangelical churches in Jamaica. But this needs to happen in a culturally sensitive way that seeks to serve rather than dominate indigenous churches.

There are opportunities here for short and medium-term (i.e. 1-3 years) missionaries of African descent. These can connect more quickly with Jamaican males than those from other ethnic backgrounds.
 

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Jamaica