Those sent by God to cross cultures and serve least reached communities face incredible challenges in communicating the gospel, nurturing disciples, and planting multiplying, maturing churches among people historically resistant to the gospel. Biblical, theological, cultural, and strategic challenges among the least reached deserve, even require, our best thinking and collaborative dialogue.
Yet the demands of life and ministry among unreached communities make it difficult to find the time and will to slow down, take stock, and critically reflect on the critical issues we are facing. We are often isolated from others doing the same work in similar contexts to ours, except for the few in our geographical and organizational silo. The issues we are facing are best worked out in community with others facing similar pressures, yet we rarely get that opportunity, except for a few people in our context, on our team, or at the occasional conference or Zoom meeting.
Seedbed exists to sharpen and enhance our witness and church-planting efforts among the unreached by stimulating fresh insight and constructive conversation among mission practitioners around high-stakes theological, contextual, and spiritual issues in frontier church-planting and discipleship.
Seedbed pursues its vision by providing opportunities for constructive, honest conversation in an ethos of grace among mission practitioners, such as:
- publishing relevant, insightful, well-written articles by and for thinking practitioners among the least reached on critical topics and pressure points;
- publishing thoughtful reviews by mission practitioners of significant books which reflect on the book's relevance for kingdom work;
- hosting a website and other online events which facilitate conversations among practitioners in frontier contexts around critical topics.
A publication of Pioneers in partnership with Arab World Media, Seedbed is a love gift to the broader community of cross-cultural laborers seeking to multiply disciples and churches among the unreached to the glory of God.
Over fifty years ago, as church planters saw indigeneous churches birthed in North Africa, they wrestled with challenges related to baptism, leadership, and the biblical nature and functions of the church. Church planters’ isolation from one another called for a forum to discuss these challenges and develop a coordinated, biblical understanding of the church to undergird the efforts of North Africa Mission church planters.
The Bulletin of Church Development in North Africa was born, published from 1968-84 in Marseille, France by Radio School of the Bible (precursor to Arab World Media). NAM missiologist Sam Schlorff served as first editor, while Iain McKellar assisted and also served as editor for eight years. Wendell Evans summarized sixteen years of practitioner discussions from the Bulletin in his pamphlet, “Church-Planting in the Arab Muslim World” (1985).
In 1986, Schlorff renamed the Bulletin to Seedbed. The next year, North Africa Mission became Arab World Ministries, and Seedbed’s scope expanded to serve church-planting among Arab Muslims more broadly. For ten years, Seedbed was published by the US office under Schlorff’s editorship (1986-95), after which it was published by AWM’s Central Services under the editorship of Wendell Evans for another decade (1995-2006). After two years of editing by Abe Wiebe and Donna Smith, AWM missiologist Don Little took over editorship of Seedbed for a decade (2008-2017), during which AWM merged with Pioneers (2010). Adding the tagline, “Practitioners in Conversation,” Little expanded the scope of Seedbed beyond the Arab world to serve a readership both within and outside of Pioneers.
After a few year hiatus, field practitioner S.T. Antonio was appointed editor of Seedbed. In 2021, Seedbed was relaunched in a new digital format in partnership with Arab World Media, with the help of a grant from the sale of Winchelsea House, the last remaining asset of AWM International. Seedbed now serves kingdom practitioners from multiple contexts and organizations who labor to multiply disciples and churches among least reached communities to the glory of God.