By George Siler and Keith Lategan
"We are dreaming of mobilizing South African students to reach our country, Africa and the world. And we welcome partners." (Keith Lategan, Student pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
The IWC Network represents an empowerment strategy by IMB Students. Since 1997, IMB has provided International World Changers projects for student groups and individuals to work alongside missionaries in short-term projects. Now IWC is shifting its work to leading and facilitating churches, associations, conventions and other partners to adopt project requests. The trial run of this approach is already bearing fruit.
In South Africa we have partnered with the IWC Network to conduct projects with Americans and our local student groups. It has been an amazing, cross-cultural model for missions that has overcome language and cultural barriers and seen the Gospel spread to unreached places.
Keith Lategan and several South African student leaders have leveraged IWC projects and the help of American partners to mobilize their own students.
We have rejoiced to see our South African teenagers engage people their own age with the Gospel and embrace God’s bigger picture for the world and their lives. They first saw the task of missions as difficult, but now, doable. They have a richer appreciation for the glory of God and a great vision to reach the world in their own generation.
The vision in South Africa is growing.
Thankfully, our church leaders have begun to sit up and listen. Now they are dreaming of mobilizing South African students to reach our country, Africa and the world. Our partnership with the IWC Network is leading us to start a South African version of this ministry: IWCRSA. In 2015 we piloted our own project in Prince Albert. We have a five-year plan to lead multiple projects in our country as well as elsewhere in Africa and even places like Asia and South America. We hope to continue to use the cross-cultural model and invite churches to partner with us by sending teams to jointly reach young people with the Gospel.
The new paradigm for IWC is not just to get projects adopted, but to see students and churches buy into a bigger vision for a particular location and people and join in the strategy.