Welcome to Senegal, a nation which gained its independence in 1960 after three centuries of rule by France. The strong control of conservative Muslim religious leaders is being questioned as the youth press for change.
Our SIM Senegal team’s vision is to glorify God in Senegal by proclaiming the Gospel; planting, strengthening, and partnering with churches as we:
- evangelize the unreached and disciple believers into churches
- minister to human need
- equip churches to fulfill Christ’s commission
Our Wolof Church-Planting team shares the vision to establish mature Wolof-speaking churches in both rural and urban areas where the Lord leads us as a team.
Current SIM Ministry
Senegal was France’s earliest and most favored colony in West Africa, remaining under French control for 300 years. Some of the Senegalese were converted to Islam in the 11th century. Today the nation is 92% Muslim, but there is tolerance for other religions. The Wolof people group comprise 42.5% of the population, and more than 80% of the Senegalese speak the Wolof language.
It was to reach the Wolof that International Christian Fellowship (ICF), which later merged with SIM, entered Senegal in 1984. SIM missionaries are engaged in various health and development projects, friendship evangelism, Bible studies, theological education, chronological storying, literature and tape distribution, radio broadcasts, literacy, and facilitating song writing in Wolof. Their goal is to plant churches, and they are praying for more missionaries to help in these efforts. Ministries to the Wolof, thus far, have resulted in a small number of converts.
SIM’s Partner Church
Although SIM partners with no single church, approximately 45 evangelical churches now exist in Senegal, and four of them are among the Wolof.
Unreached People Groups
Twenty people groups in Senegal are still without the knowledge of Jesus’ love and forgiveness.
History of Christianity
Roman Catholicism was first introduced in Senegal soon after the Portuguese arrived in 1444. The work was sporadic until 1819 when the French St. Joseph sisters arrived. Converts have come mostly from the Serer and Diola people who are concentrated in the southwest but are also found in the capital. The Roman Catholic church is by far the largest church in Senegal.
Protestant missions date from around 1863 when the Paris Mission began work. Its largest following is among the Europeans in the country. Christian and Missionary Alliance entered in 1933 and began work in Casamance. The work influenced a young Canadian to bring a team in 1936 called the West African Evangelical Mission. World Evangelization Crusade began work in 1935.
Since World War II, several smaller missions, mainly from the United States, have begun work. New Tribes Mission entered in 1954 and began work at Ziguinchor. In 1957, the Assemblies of God started work in eastern Senegal at Tambacounda. Of the newer missions, the Assemblies of God have had the greatest response.
Since independence in 1960, Senegal has had a liberal-minded Catholic President even though the country is predominantly Muslim. Between 1960 and 1980, several missions were allowed to enter the country. United World Mission, Conservative Baptist International, Brethren Assembly, and Finnish Lutheran Mission all arrived during this time.
The International Christian Fellowship (ICF), which later merged with SIM, entered Senegal in 1984 to reach the Wolof people.