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Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 Good News: Faith2Share

In Brad Boydston's blog this morning, he provided a link to a refreshing group that is radically re-thinking what global missions is all about. Faith2Share is a global, ecumenical, evangelical gathering of missional leaders with a "whole new dance" approaching world mission. What is the new dance? It is the recognition of "missions from below" that is spreading the good news of Jesus rapidly around the globe. This is missions the hard way; through refugees, foreign domestic workers, international students, and email. This is missions without organizational infrastructure and denominational support. It's an old argument I heard in seminary about the relative cost of supporting someone like me in another country versus the many more local nationals those same dollars could support.
The question that brews in my mind on January 1, 2009 with the global recession knocking on the doors of the church budget is this: are there better and smaller ways to do God's big kingdom work? Are there other partners who are emerging on the front lines of mission? That's risky business because all the Covenant missionaries I know are personal friends and I know their deep sense of call and commitment. I don't want to invalidate or undercut missions, but open the door to new partnerships for these new days. Read the article linked above. What would be some next steps?

4 Comments:

At 2:56 PM , Blogger Brad Boydston said...

It's not necessarily an either/or situation. A lot of what is happening in Western-based missions has already made the shift and long-term missionaries are often behind the scenes support for the more spontaneous movements. This is certainly the case for much of what is happening in Asia. Things are a lot more fluid than ever before and there are more missionaries on task than on the books.

The church in the States is just now starting to wake up to the reality of what is going on in the rest of the world -- and it's not the early 20th century model that defined our thinking about what constitutes a missionary. However, missionaries themselves have long been aware of the shift and many have repositioned themselves to be strategically supportive.

 
At 3:46 PM , Blogger James R Hawkinson said...

Interesting. My sense is that Curt Peterson has been aware of the trend for some time and the dispersion of various people in differing incentives has been part of CWM response.

What is not clear, however, based on the American church's penchant for baptizing the new and pilorizing (even at times distaining) the old and the older, is what will come of that in the longer run.

Building by multiplying numbers ought not be our only concern. What we are building remains equally as important.

 
At 4:18 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

I don't think this is an either/or situation, nor do I pilorize what we have been doing. Faith2Share seems to be very cognizant of the trends in history that force the church to adapt to new realities on the ground. It is certainly what is happening in the local churches, with increased needs and decreased revenue streams. We must be flexible. I think the Project Missionary approach the ECC is doing shows that kind of flexibility. The question I ask (and I don't mean to be antagonistic) is where is this conversation happening? I know that there is a mission gathering prior to the Midwinter this year. I hope this and other trends will this be part of the conversation.

 
At 3:16 AM , Blogger Brad Boydston said...

You're asking the right questions, Don. Having observed this phenomena from several different angles now I'd say that CWM is well on the way of embracing the new reality (and it is a reality--something which is happening with or without us). I'm more concerned about local congregations with long and commendable histories of mission support being able to shift gears. This is a lot messier than and not as easily packaged as what we were doing in the past. Still, I remain optimistic that we'll eventually get it. It may take us awhile but by the grace of God we'll get it.

 

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