Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What is mission...

Several years ago i had a conversation with an international mission organisation about mission. He objected to me talking with local young people about 'doing mission' in their own backyards. The term he said should be evangelism. I have puzzled over this and came to the conclusion he was right, from where he stood we should use the word 'evangelism' but that I was right too becuase form where i stood is should use the word 'mission.'
The problem is that in the church in general at the moment we are going through transitions. modern to post modern, but more importantly I think is the falling way of Christendom to how we understand and work.
Under a christendom mindset missions is a church department that send money to overseas organisations. In this it was originaly sending people, but the reality is more to do with sending money to equip national to do ministry.
That was my friends view on things.
However I believe that the world we are now moving into needs to understand mission differently, mission being every chistian being a missionary to their local culture. it is a subtle shift but an essentail one I think. That does not mean that overseas missions stop but rather it is about partnership holding hands across the ocean. We do not just give to the 2/3 rd world we recieve something back - grace, kindness, love and a new undersatnding of our own context.
Short term missions people have known this for years that the real giver is not the young people involved but those who they go to.
In his book Church in Transition, Tim Conder tells the story of mission friendship that develops between his home church and an African church, over the course of conversation he hears of how many African chruches have drunk from the wells of American churches not questioning whether they may be poisoned or not. Such an insight into how apparently 'christian' values may be wrong is worth more than a 1000 consultants. To have your practices questioned and assesed from a global partner I think is gold. That for me is a major value in the shift of missiology and one that excites me, as we hold hands, cry with our family and hold them up we gain so much, and we glance the Kingdom of God right here on earth.

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