CSM and CHIEF Form a Publishing Partnership
Six weeks ago, I was able to renew an old acquaintance. I was returning from a car trip to the western US and stopped to see Huron Claus. Huron, a Mohawk, is the Executive Director of CHIEF. CHIEF (Christian Hope Indian Eskimo Fellowship) is the focal point of a network of ministries who give focus to First Nations peoples and Native Americans. CHIEF was founded by Huron’s father, Tom Claus, in 1965. CHIEF’s primary motivation is to take the Gospel to every Native tribe in this generation. According to CHIEF, the discipleship, mentoring, and training of Native leaders in a relevant cultural context is the key to effective church growth and on-going evangelism among Native peoples. There are over 51.1 million Native Americans in the 1,200 tribes of the Western Hemisphere.
CHIEF Ministry Objectives are as follows: (from the CHIEF website: www.chief.org)
1.) Discipleship – Recruiting, encouraging, and discipling Native Christian pastors, church leaders and believers, by providing effective training in a manner uniquely suited for their culture and the ongoing needs of the indigenous church. CHIEF provides training at the “The Chief Shepherd Discipleship Center.
2.) Evangelism – Assisting the leadership of the local Native churches with evangelism outreach in their own communities and beyond to other unreached peoples and tribes.
3.) Helps – Giving practical assistance, in the context of God’s love shown through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, to serve as a channel through which concerned individuals can respond to the physical needs of Native people and to help them become self-reliant.
For several weeks since that visit, we have been in conversation with Huron about the possibility of a partnership that would add a new tool to the ministry’s outreach. But to explain those conversations requires a bit of back story.
Twenty-years ago, I was involved in the publication of a magazine intended to help disciple First Nations believers. The magazine developed subscribers in every province and territory in Canada, twenty-seven states in the US, and eleven foreign countries. That success, in God’s providence, was short-lived, and the magazine was put on pause, ceasing publication in 2002. Huron was a contributor to that magazine and authored multiple articles in the publication. When we connected, he asked if Clear and Simple Media might be willing to partner with CHIEF to launch a similar magazine in the near future. Like the publication twenty years ago, the magazine would focus on discipling Native peoples in the Americas. Huron’s vision for the magazine is that it be a 32-page, full-color format that would feature articles by First Nations writers, written with Native people in mind, and focus on issues that effect Native people.
With these goals in mind, I flew back to Arizona to meet with Huron at CHIEF headquarters in Phoenix. Publishing a magazine ‘from scratch’ presents a formidable set of challenges. These meetings were intended to identify the decisions that will need to be made and the set of guidelines to manage the projects. Along with April Wesley, an Apache woman who is an award-winning graphic designer in the area, we spent six hours together working through the operational details. The goal is to have a ‘sample issue’ ready to present at a conference in Bemidji, Minnesota in mid-July. While that will be a formidable task, we are hopeful that, with God’s help, we (CSM and CHIEF)can put that publication together and be ready for press in the next five weeks.
Please pray for this new partnership between CHIEF and CSM. Pray that we will give good advice. Pray that Clear and Simple Media will be of help to CHIEF in building a team and creating the systems necessary for long-term effectiveness. Pray that Huron’s vision – to see the magazine grow to be a help to thousands of Native people, to help them “be transformed by Christ, into the image of Christ” – will be fulfilled. And pray that our contribution to the project will be a step to see that vision realized.