Summary: How to Do Church Planting Research of a New Area Profile of Yola-Jimeta, Nigeria, Religious & Social Conditions

How to Do Church Planting Research of a New Area

Profile of Yola-Jimeta Religious & Social Conditions

Information supplied by Peter Bartimawus

Fellow Indigenous Contributors: Ayuba Betso, Jessy Chinjeli,

Gasmis Bambuka, Garko Wilberforce, Maina Wakili, and Fiyau Amawo

Adapted for use by Rev. Dr. Paul J. Fritz

Learning Objectives

1. The students will explain how to do church planting research in a new area.

2. The students will discuss in a short paper how to identify facilitating and hindering forces for church growth and church planting in a new area.

Introduction - The following is an overview designed to assist urban church planters in Yola-Jimeta townships in Gongola State, Nigeria. The information was compiled by eight seminary students of Jos ECWA Theological seminary and the author in preparation for future endeavors to reach people for Christ through an urban church planting project. First, a overview of the representative tribal groups will be furnished along with their accompanying percentages of the 96,000 people inhabiting the Yola-Jimeta metropolis. Second, an approximation of the percentages of Christians, Muslims, and pagans will be offered to guide the strategists in their church planting objectives. Thirdly, a brief religious background of the urban center will be described to give a historical description of the Gongola capital. It is the prayer of the contributors of this paper that the information would be used to extend the kingdom of God in a qualitative and quantitative sense through the future work of urban church planters.

I. Discover the Demographics (The composition of the people groups)-

Fulani 15%

(Primarily located in and around Yola)

Bachama and Bata 10%

(Many claim to be Fulanis)

Kilba & Yungur 10%

(Lutheran Church of Nigeria)

Margi & Higgi 30%

(Lutheran Church of Nigeria)

Tivs & Jukun 5%

(Mixed throughout the town, Christian Reformed Church and traditional religionists)

Yandara & Jenjo 5%

(Mixed throughout the town, but Christian and pagans)

Igbo 4%


Yorubas 2%

Hausas 1%

Idomas 1%

Wurkun & Bikwin & Bambukas 5%

Bura 3%

Minor tribes include; Mumuyi, Lunguda, & Kuteb (Mixture of Christians, Muslims & pagans)

II. Find the Percentage of Christians, Muslims, and Pagans

Christians 60%

Muslims 35%

Pagans 5%

III. Discover the Religious Background of Yola-Jimeta

The Churches represented in Yola-Jimeta presently include the Roman Catholic Church, The Lutheran Church, Seraphim and Cheraphim, Apostolic Church (Yoruba mainly), Baptist (Mambilla and Lunguda tribes), ECWA, Redeemed People’s Mission, E.Y.N. (Brethren Church) and the Christian Reformed Church.

IV. Learn the History of Religious Development of Yola-Jimeta

The first mission board to be registered in Yola was the Catholic mission. The second mission to attempt church planting in the area was the SUM, Danish branch, but it failed to gain recognition by the government. When Dr. Bronnum, the SUM pioneer, arrived in 1913, the province was known as Yola. The Emirate of Adauna Madibo was first established in 1840, making it a Muslim stronghold for Usman Dan Fadios Jihad. Dan Fadios had given Adauna Modibo directives to conquer Adaunawa province for Islam in 1804.

Adauna Madibo succeeded in bringing several tribes under his control taking them as slaves. Up to the present these tribes continue to act as servants to the Fulanis. Today, there is great prestige ascribed to the name of Adauna Madibo as the university of Maidugari Yola Campus is named the Adauna Madibo College.

Accounts of the individual tribes that settled in the area are rather difficult to come by, but the above profile of the various tribes is a good representation of the present people groups residing in Yola-Jimeta. Some of the tribes are believed to have come from the Cameroons. Some converts may be the key people to eventually plant churches in Cameroon areas!!!

The Catholic and the Lutheran churches were the first mission efforts to start churches in the Yola-Jimeta area. Nevertheless, both of these movements have been unsuccessful in reaching the Fulanis, who are the power brokers, of the area. However, in a recent government election 12 out of 15 seats were won by Christians, with only one Fulani winning a seat , and two pagans winning seats. Even in the old traditional Muslim city of Yola, a Christian won the government seat. This is one indication, that the Fulanis are loosing control of the politics, commerce, and religious affairs of the urban center. As a result of all the change, the Fulanis not only resist the gospel, but openly oppose it.

Since Jimeta is now the present seat of the government for Gongola state, it attracts many new settlers from the rural areas surrounding the metropolis. ECWA has had the foresight to purchase 4 choice pieces of land in the urban center for future construction of churches. The present immigrants moving into Yola-Jimeta are attaching themselves to residences nearby their tribesmen. This is not only seen in tribal unions, but also through their church affiliations.

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