If you think mission today looks just the same as it did six months ago, you are not looking hard enough.
The challenge that agencies face is to discern how Jesus is building his global church in this new world and to understand how their unique organisations fit into what he is doing. The danger is that they will work hard to maintain traditional structures and ways of doing things and miss out on what the Lord is doing.
This initial analysis reveals a weakness in the online presence of a number of mission agencies. A number of websites had news sections which had not been updated recently; in one case the latest item of news dated back to 2016.
In which I attempt to identify some of the issues facing mission agencies and their staff.
This is where I see a vital role for the mission agency to play: it’s not about mobilising resources; perhaps not even so much about care and support; it’s really to do with training, reorienting ourselves, and the necessary context for learning and reflection.
So why join an agency? For me, the biggest reason was to be accountable. I felt that the local church wasn’t equipped to keep me accountable on a continual rather than an occasional basis.
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.
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.