Brad Buser on Tribal Religion, Contextualization, and Disciple-Making

Veteran missionary Brad Buser shares why language learning and patient leadership training is critical to tribal ministry.

When we think “missions,” we tend to think jungles, tribes, animism, strange languages, and thatched roofs. That impression isn’t always accurate. But for veteran missionary and legendary mobilizer Brad Buser, that’s exactly what he experienced. In this episode, we pick Brad’s brain about the importance of tribal missions and long-term, patient language acquisition and contextualization. We also dive into the topic of faithful methods of disciple-making and how the desire to do things quickly can sometimes come at the expense of long-term impact.

Brad lives in San Diego, California where he is Director of Radius International, a training program in Tijuana, Mexico. He started church planting in Papua New Guinea from 1979-1999, living among the animistic Iteri people, serving under New Tribes (now Ethnos 360). You can read Brad’s dramatic story and his articles for Radius.

Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.