There are lots of books about mission and church that I would like to read, but some of the more academic offerings have eyewatering price tags and are simply out of my reach. However, Mission-shaped Church in a Multicultural World by Harvey C Kwiyani will set you back less than two pounds and is full of all sorts of goodness. Go and buy it now.
The book – actually, it’s a booklet – forms part of the excellent Grove Books series and consists of a mere 28 pages. The writing is clear and accessible, pitched at a general audience. There are no footnotes or illustrations, but the page is broken up with highlighted quotations.
In my experience, Grove Books serve two purposes. They provide an excellent introduction to a subject that is new to the reader. Equally, for the reader who is familiar with the subject matter, they package half-forgotten and well known material in a convenient manner which makes it easy to find what you are looking for. Certainly, this book will be of help to those who have never though about mission in the multicultural UK as well as to those who are familiar with the author’s Sent Forth: African Missionary Work in the West and other works on the same theme.
The book consists of six chapters, the longest of which is five pages long. This is a booklet that could conveniently be read in a week of coffee breaks.
Chapter 1: The Future of the Nations considers the basic multi-national, multi-lingual nature of Christianity. A theme that will be familiar to Kouyanet readers.
Chapter 2: Migration and Cultural Diversity does what it says on the tin. In particular it covers three possible responses to migration and cultural diversity; assimilation, cultural pluralism and muticulturalism. The chapter favours multiculturalism, but demonstrates that it takes determined effort to make it work.
Chapter 3: Blessed Reflex considers the flow of missionaries into the UK from countries which once received missionaries.
Chapter 4: Exploring and Releasing the Gifts of Foreign Christians in Britain is the longest chapter and highlights the fact that the global church is meant to be an interdependant body. We Christians in the UK need to receive input from others – but we aren’t very good at receiving it.
Chapter 5: Intercultural Mutuality takes the theme of the previous chapter and develops it further. It also challenges the idea that homogeneity is neccesary for success in mission and church planting.
Chapter 6: Multicultural Christianity and Mission in a Multicultural Word is best summed up by this quote from page 25.
… the best way to engage a multicultural context effectively in mission is through a multicultural missionary community. Otherwise Christianity becomes a dividing force that socializes people into segregated congregations when they live multiculturally at work, at school, and practically everywhere else.
Who should read this booklet? You should! Frankly, I cannot imagine why anyone, especially those involved in church leadership and church plants, would not read this. It is cheap and it is an easy read, but it introduces a lot of important concepts. I know that some of the books that I reccomend are too long, too expensive and take too long to read for anyone but the specialist. The same cannot be said about this excellent little book. Now, click on the link and buy it!