The Eastern Metropolitan area refers to a portion of the eastern quadrant of Greater Johannesburg (the Republic of South Africa’s [RSA] largest city) in Gauteng (how’tang) Province. Specifically it is the area that is within 20 kilometers of the Baptist International Mission Service (BIMS) facility located at 1 Bethia Street, Harmelia, Germiston (a suburb of Johannesburg).
There are people of virtually every tribe and nation living in this area including the 30 people groups recognized in the RSA census, in addition to many from other countries. Consequently it includes people from many different languages, cultures, races, religions and people groups. On this basis, we refer to the EMET area as a “population segment” of Greater Johannesburg rather than a “people group”.
The people in this area: are cosmopolitan; have many first-languages and cultures; tend to be more urban, educated, wealthy, and materialistic than most people in RSA; live very comfortable lives due to the disproportionate socio-economic system that allows even middle-income people to afford benefits deriving from the extremely low wages of the lower echelon workers (Black Africans). That is, they can afford domestic servants; and, have access to a wide array of consumer goods and services.
However, they: are faced with an epidemic of violent crime that is out of control; pay out significant amounts of their income in pursuit of security (everything from car watchers at stores to six foot walls topped with “cutter wire” around their houses, to armed security response service); live with a “bunker mentality”; are exposed to a cheap-abundance of temptations (everything from an open-unconstrained sex trade to unrestricted pornography, to drugs from street vendors, to murder-for-hire); and, over 95% of them are lost.
The Southeastern Africa Cluster (SEAC) is engaged in this area through the Eastern Metropolitan Evangelism Team (EMET). It includes some of the same geographic area that is ministered to by the “Eastern Gauteng Evangelism Team (EGET)”. However, this is not repetitious as EGET has a different focus group.
EMET is made up of “support missionaries” with full-time work responsibilities, (such as, administrators, counselors, nurses, treasurers, etc), but who also have a ministry in the areas where they live and work. This differs from the typical mission team that devotes all of it’s time and resources to ministry. Ministry for the EMET is necessarily a “part-time” responsibility.
EMET ministries tend to be based on the “giftedness” of the individual members, and their ability to access target groups during times other than normal working hours. These efforts have shown that God is working among many segments of this population. Therefore, we are working, praying and trusting God to greatly expand this work.
Current examples of EMET ministries are: preaching and
teaching in a new church of young people who are the
prodigy of Asian Indians who were imported as laborers
and bond servants in past centuries; leading/participating
in small groups within a large-progressive church; leading/participating
in cell groups within a multi-racial/cultural church
in a lower middle class area; leading/participating in
home Bible studies; ministry among certain sub-groups
who speak a particular language; and, ministries to AIDS
victims, children and hospital patients and staff. EMET
members also have daily opportunities to encourage, assist
and minister to IMB Southern Africa Region missionaries,
Great Commission Christians, Baptist Partners and a wide
array of people who visit and lodge at the BIMS Guesthouse.