What could have just been an excellent book of stories, turns into an extended reflection on the nature and importance of multicultural churches.
The Christian church is an amazingly diverse body; both in time and in space. The way people worship, the way they dress and the questions they bring when they read Scripture all vary.
The main problem is that Western missiologists are stuck with definitions, models, and instruments of measurement associated with Western operations and ill-suited for evaluation of new non-Western initiatives.
The main way that the Gospel is spreading around the world is through the quiet, but determined witness of Christians whose names we have never heard of (and would struggle to pronounce).
What gives those of us who live in the West the right to dictate what does or does not “count” as “real” allegiance to Christ in very different cultures where God is at work?
This is the first step towards a re-orientation in global Christianity away from the domination by the liberal, intellectual, critical and relativistic Northern establishment and the fresh expression of a young, orthodox, vibrant and dynamic Southern Christianity.
There is a Christian witness here; it’s you and me! But there are parts of the world where there are no virtually no believers. We cannot turn our backs on these places.
If you are in church leadership in the UK, or if you have responsibility for a church’s mission work, you MUST get hold of this code. It is an invaluable guide to helping you walk through the complexities of cross cultural partnerships. There is nothing earth-shattering here, most of it is just common sense. But the problem with common sense, is that it isn’t very common.
on the one hand, the source of mission is the Church – the existing people of God, the Pentecost community – which continues Christ’s economy in a visible, sacramental and ecclesial way; on the other hand, the goal of mission is the Church as the sacrament of the kingdom, as the incorporation of creation into communion with God.
The whole church exists for mission, and whether mission agency or church leaders, we must orient churches in that direction.