There are many ways to reach out to people at home and around the world; the key is that we do something. This is partly because this is the calling of the Church; mission is in our very nature, but also because the actual act of being involved in mission brings huge blessing to the church that does it.
People who described me as a really good friend when I was the CEO of a large (by evangelical standards) organisation have not spoken to me since I stepped away from the role.
If I were a pioneer missionary reaching out to the UK, I’m pretty sure that I would identify Lent as one of those times when British culture has a natural contact point with the gospel and I would seek to make deeper connections.
One of the problems of being a bloke in his sixties who has been involved in mission work and leadership in various parts of the world is that I’ve seen it all before…
To any wannabe missionaries out there; a good, prayerful, supportive home-church is absolutely vital to your work. Build up those links and don’t think you can do it on your own.
If there is a future for mission from the West, it will be shaped by those who are in their twenties and thirties today. We cannot assume that they will neatly follow in the organisational footsteps of earlier generations. Maybe they will, but I wouldn’t take it for granted.
Barnabas took Mark and disappeared from Luke’s narrative, but he entered our future marking the path for those who would be the disciples of Jesus. That path requires trust – sometimes, often times, almost every time – of those who are marked by failure in relationship.
In the long-run, it is issues such as partnership and the ability to be reflective which will determine the future fruitfulness of an agency, not its balance sheet.
Mission agencies have to submit annual reports which meet certain government standards. I have my own suggestions of what I would like them to contain.
To translate into the vernacular is therefore to recognize the significance of the local idiom; the prosaic. “In the people’s tongue lay the jewel of great price.”