Years and years ago, I answered the question “Are All Christians Called to be Missionaries?“, my answer was basically that we are all called to mission and that the job-title “missionary” wasn’t particularly helpful. A new article on 9Marks captures a similar theme, while taking issue with the term “missionary”.
“Missionary” is simply an extra-biblical term that has linguistic roots in the idea of “being sent.” It has been coined to help label biblical concepts. The church must preserve and teach these biblical concepts. Whether that concept is the conventional idea of crossing cultural and linguistic barriers in order to make disciples of all people or the missional idea of all Christians making disciples wherever they are, we should not use labels in such a way that either of these biblical concepts disappear.
Even further back in time, I occasionally used to work with Mary Crickmore, a missionary in Mali. She has written an excellent article on the security situation in Mali, something that most people in the UK will be more or less unaware of.
But in the last six years, our West African friends have faced great trials as violence has spread through regions and communities that were once safe—the same places where I raised my children.
The article isn’t without hope.
… we have seen people study Scripture in their language for the first time and commit themselves to follow Jesus.
This isn’t strictly about mission or the Bible, but it is very funny; singing famous songs after they have been mangled by Google translate.
Anyone who says that Google will replace Bible translators needs to watch this.
Less funny, but very informative is this excellent lecture by Brian Stanley on the place of Mission Studies in the academic curriculum. It’s nice to hear my former doctoral supervisor get a shout out.
One last link; if you are interested in what I did in my research and the implications for mission today, you can listen to an interview that I gave on the subject here (you might need to scroll to 31/03/19 if you read this at a later date).