Chris and Beka Bransford both grew up in Africa with a desire to share the good news of Christ with unreached African people groups. Having led teams on the Indian Ocean Islands for 15 years, they are passionate about the role and importance of teams. Their work now includes coordinating AIM’s Training in Ministry Outreach (TIMO) teams. So, what’s a TIMO team?
TIMO was birthed on a napkin in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the early 1980’s, as Dr. Ralph Winter (a well known missiologist) and Dr. Dick Anderson (a former director of AIM) talked about mission strategy. Out of that conversation came TIMO’s first team, based in Kenya, in 1985. 35 years later, we’ve just started our 64th team in Chad.
Standing for Training in Ministry Outreach, TIMO brings together training and ministry. A new missionary joins a small, multi-cultural team with experienced team leaders and commits to living for two to three years in a particular outreach location. During those years they are trained for mission while simultaneously being involved in ministry among Africans. The goals of TIMO are summed up in its mission statement: ‘Compelled by Christ’s love for Africa’s unreached people groups, TIMO trains gospel-centred teams from the global church to plant reproducing churches.’
TIMO training and ministry includes lots of prayer and intense language learning, as well as reading books and articles. Each team spends large amounts of time in their local community, either partnering with a local church or working intentionally to plant one. Team members are held accountable by their team leaders through one-on-one mentoring as well as through participation in team days each week. They are supported in gospel outreach efforts as well as being encouraged in their personal walk with Christ.
TIMO teams are sent into locations where there are unreached people groups. That can mean geographically hard to reach rural villages, large North African cities, small towns on the Islamic coast of Kenya and islands in the Indian Ocean. At present, we have a team serving in a rural context in coastal Tanzania, another team in a large town in South Sudan, a newly started team in a city in Chad, and another beginning soon in a town in central Tanzania. There are also plans for a new team to begin in Belgium, reaching out to African immigrants and refugees.
In any given location, if there are any believers or churches in that area, TIMO’s goal is to partner with them to reach the unreached. If there is no local church, our hope and prayer is to move toward planting reproducing, indigenous local churches.
TIMO is looking for dedicated Christ-followers who are ready to be discipled to go and make disciples among Africa’s unreached peoples. Could it be you or someone you know?
Find out more about TIMO and it’s core values.