4 easy steps to decide where to go
It’s called the “Paralysis of Analysis”–when we spend all of our time in research, making lists, and considering what needs to be done, and never actually do anything. You already have the authority to go make a difference in the world. Where to go? The people group lists vary in number between 12,000 and 16,000 (mostly depending on how they handle the castes of India). Trying to engage with this many groups is difficult. Which one will you choose to commit 2 to 20 years to?
Here is a very simple strategy:
1) First, decide which Affinity Block you want to focus on. Joshua Project suggests 17. Figuring this out could be as simple as asking yourself what kind of cross-cultural food God has wired you to eat. Or some other equally simple indicator.
2) Decide which Cluster within that Affinity Block you are going to focus on. In all, Joshua Project lists 253 – but within Affinity Blocks, the choices are usually reduced to 10 to 20. Ask yourself – what language are you willing to commit to learning?
3) Research the cluster enough to begin understanding the places where large numbers of your chosen language are located. There may be some close by, or large diaspora groups; or, God may be calling you to their homeland. At the same time, begin researching which organizations are committed to reaching the Cluster. It is at this point that people like myself can become useful: we can make connections for you. If you want, email me.
4) Once you’re located in a place using a language–don’t just focus on that one people group exclusively. Aim for a strategy that reaches everyone within the place. This will cover all the “smaller, minor peoples” as well as the big language you are focused on (in most places, a big language can serve as a trade language, too).