Land & People
Jamaica is located in the geographical center of the Caribbean and is the third-largest island. The name Jamaica comes from “Haymaca,” a native Indian word meaning “Island of Fountains.” The population includes a mixture of Blacks, Caucasians, Chinese, East Indians, Portuguese Jews, Palestinian Arabs, and Syrians.
Over 50 percent of the population of Jamaica are members of mainline denominations. There is literally a church on every corner. Unfortunately, the majority of these churches do not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Year Entered by BMM1939
In 1939 a request came to Baptist Mid-Missions by a group of pastors in Jamaica concerned about the liberal theology that was devastating the evangelical church. This provided the initiative for Rev. GW Smith to come to Jamaica and work in the rural areas of the parish of St. Elizabeth. In 1962, the missionaries were challenged to branch out to other parts of the island. As a result, churches have been established in other parishes, including the major cities—Kingston and Montego Bay. Fairview Baptist Bible College was begun, and in 1963 the Association of Independent Baptist Churches was formed. It currently has 28 member churches. In May 1997 the Bible college was turned over to national leadership, along with Baptist Mid-Missions Jamaica, Inc. (our legal entity granting us permission to work in the country).
Currently, Dr. Ken and Clea Rathbun work with Fairview Baptist Bible College in Theological Education. Rev. Cletis and Tammy Titus lived and served in Montego Bay alongside Hillview Baptist Church. The Tituses, assisted by the Rathbuns, planted the Bay Life Baptist Church in Montego Bay, which is an outreach ministry of Hillview Baptist, a fully self-supporting church that was planted by BMM missionaries in the early 1960s. The Tituses continue to assist ministries in Jamaica through leading short-term trips.
Jamaica has several universities. A Campus Bible Fellowship program would be an asset to the work in Kingston.
Over 50 percent of the population is under the age of 17. There are many opportunities for ministries to children and young people that are coordinated with the local church.
Baptist Mid-Missions has remained connected with the governors of Fairview Baptist Bible College and the leaders of the Independent Baptist Churches Association, an organization that now has 42 churches.
Both groups have asked for help in the form of Bible college faculty and missionaries who will team with Jamaicans to plant churches in urban areas. The missionaries are working on upgrading the Bible college’s facilities and program so that it can receive accreditation.
To view/download the Jamaica e-brochure, click here.
Learn more about Jamaica here.