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.
Good, critical feedback on a mission agency’s activities should be absolutely central to any decision making by boards and leadership in the UK. Getting this feedback isn’t easy and it means much more than listening to the people who benefit from what you do. However, if local people are not helping set your agenda, then you are doing something very wrong.
Some mission agencies are doing very well, others rather badly.
If we were serious about the idea that mission is God’s activity and not ours, we would be much less precious about organisational boundaries.
Missionaries often say that they learned far more than they ever taught – but what are the implications of this?