Eddie and Sue Arthur

More Thoughts That Aren’t Mine

Some African views on mission and mission agencies: a selection of quotes from Evangelical Christian Missions: An African Perspective:

The last part of the 20th century has seen an extraordinary growth of short-term outreaches “into Africa”. While these teams have been a great blessing to local churches, on one hand, there has been a growing set of problems and challenges that foreign teams coming to Africa for short term outreaches pose to local congregations and their communities as a whole…

God is a missionary God, and therefore his people, filled with His Spirit, are a missionary people. God does not go ahead of his church as she sets her gaze upon the ends of the earth. The popular idea that a missionary arrives at a certain place only to find that God has already been busy there for a long time, only without anybody really knowing about it, does not stand the test of Scripture. Jesus did not promise to go ahead of his church, but to be with her as she moves out in obedience to His call. How will they hear, unless someone goes? Paul’s simple, down to earth, logic cannot easily be denied. And how will they go, unless they are called?…

Two very important lessons can be gleaned from the early history of Christianity in North Africa. Firstly, the importance of translation of the Bible in the local heart language of the people, and secondly the need to reach the common people (often those of lower economic status and sometimes persecuted by the upper classes and state) with the gospel and not just the elite. Although there is a need to take the gospel to those in government, business, academia, etc. we must also take the gospel to the poorest of the poor in the urban slums and rural villages…

In particular, there is a difference in the way missionaries think churches should be mobilised, and the way church leaders would actually want to mobilise their members for missions. For example, not many church leaders would act on the kind of information provided on mission brochures. Imagine such things as “mobilise your members through seminars, visit missionaries, set up a missions committee, adopt a field or group, work through existing mission agencies” and so on. These terms and suggestions do not fit into a normal church goer’s thinking or program. This missions jargon is not appropriate in the local church paradigm. As missions mobilisers we need to understand that church members do not think and act like mission agencies…

I’ll have more to say from this interesting book over the next few weeks – but what do you think of these quotes as a starter?

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