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Come Over And Help Us Again
Hoping You Get The Visas
Welcome to my newsletter, “Global Witness, Globally Reimagined,” where I dream here about mission in a postcolonial world. Every week, I share one thought that has spoken to me in the week, two resources I trust will be helpful to you, and three exciting quotes about mission. I pray one of these will energise you in the coming week.
1. Thought I Can’t Shake Off
Two years ago, Gina Zurlo et. al. wrote, “A striking reality for the global mission movement is that the countries with the most Christians receive the largest numbers of missionaries.”In other words, we are sending most of our missionaries to countries that already have many Christians. They, then, added that one of the reasons for this is that a great deal of mission work happens by invitation/sponsorship. The implications are that, as far as sub-Saharan Africa is concerned, we are sending missionaries from countries that have small numbers of Christians (e.g., in Europe) to countries with huge Christian populations. This is the irony of mission in the 21st century, and we do this because it is what we have always done. When someone points out that the world has changed, we continue as if it hasn’t. This is the most telling thing about our missiology—a great deal of it is informed by 20th-century data and theology. It is the reason many Europeans cannot understand that Europe is a mission field. It also explains why many Westerners are so bad at evangelising fellow Westerners. Of course, it is why we need African, Asian, and Latin American Christians to be Christ’s witness-bearers in the West. The Macedonian man must be calling again, “Come over and help us.” The gospel must be preached again in Europe and, for this, the European church needs help. Gratefully, some of that help is already here. The thousands of Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) pastors who lead their 950 congregations in the UK are (potential) missionaries (to quote my brother, Jehu Hanciles). The same applies to many other African, Latin American, and Asian Christian leaders living in Europe. God has sent the help. The question is, “Will Europe receive it?”
2. Resources I am Enjoying
In this episode of the Missions Podcast, Rune Borgsø calls our attention to a very important consideration for a faithful witness in the 21st century. It is the transformation of Europe from Christendom to a mission field. Indeed, while the West has evolved from hosting over eighty per cent of the world’s Christians in 1900 to just about thirty per cent today, we still think of and do mission as it was in the 20th century, when mission was defined by European missionaries going to the rest of the globe. So, Borgsø reiterates the urgent “need of rediscovering Jesus Christ” in Europe today. Although he adds that God is preparing and sending His mission agents to Europe—and we must recognise and receive them regardless of their colour or class—He is also getting the field ready. Borgsø is right, and these thoughts must shape our Christian witness today.
Podcast: Mission Shift: “New Era, New Approach” (Dela Adadevoh, Ron & Star Nelson, David & Susan Rice, Adrian de Visser)
This is Part 2 of a conversation that was hosted by our good friends at Mission Shift with Dela Adadevoh, Ron & Star Nelson, David & Susan Rice, and Adrian de Visser sharing some thoughts on the changes happening in mission. Their key premise is that mission will not be successful if it does not involve new approaches that engage other worldviews and paradigms. Of course, this is right. No one culture is adequate to carry the holistic message of Christ. New approaches to serving in God’s mission require that we listen to and learn from the rising global movement of missionaries, and they model this well for us in this conversation.
3. Quotes I am Pondering
Britain brought the gospel to us in the past. Now, by God’s providence we are here when Christianity is very much challenged and the UK churches are really declining. — Girma Bishaw
The sending nations are becoming the mission field themselves, while the historical mission fields are doing the sending forth. In this case it would appear that it is the West that is in need of missionaries from Africa and other so-called third-world countries, where the church is seemingly growing by leaps and bounds. — Hazel O. Ayanga
The West currently in the post-Christendom era is in need of change from an institutional to a missional church in order to shift its paradigm on missiological theology regarding gospel and culture. — Anderson Moyo
I pray that you have a missionally faithful week.
Zurlo, Gina A., Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing. "World Christianity and Mission 2021: Questions About the Future." International Bulletin of Mission Research 45, no. 1 (2021): 17.