Missions Catalyst 08.10.05 – Practical Mobilization

In This Issue: Working in the Most Wonderful Places

  • Working in the Most Wonderful Places
  • You Could Be a Missiologist

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

Practical Mobilization by Shane Bennett is published once a month.

Working in the Most Wonderful Places

By Shane Bennett

Here in the U.S. it’s “back to school” time. Brains shifting out of neutral and into gear, moms cheering, and Wal-Mart urging us to buy more pencils and paper. While admittedly never the most mentally challenging of tomes, in the “back to school” spirit, this month’s Practical Mobilization asks for some thought and the furrowed brow – the long “hmmmmmmmmm” sort of thought. Here’s a question – a possibility – that’s been intriguing me recently.

The accelerating globalization of our world means at least two things for us as mobilizers: One, we can recruit would-be missionaries with the assurance that they can live among most of the world’s unreached peoples and still have access to Starbucks. Secondly (and for the non-Starbucks drinkers, more importantly), it also means there are career opportunities in many of the great unreached cities. We can encourage a fresh force to engage the world while they pursue the specific trade or profession that God has led them to attain. At least I think so.

I have a friend whose brother recently took a coaching job with a rugby team in London. The thought of it made me drool. Getting paid a living wage to live in one of the coolest cities in the world. Riding the tube, buying food, and maybe even lifting a pint with representatives from many of the world’s most under-evangelized peoples. What an opportunity.

This month I will perform the wedding ceremony for my niece. In a year or two she and her husband will finish university and be ready to engage the world. They’re both pretty sharp. And though I don’t know where they’re headed, I can imagine them starting their careers in Beijing, Beirut, or Bangalore. I see them working the professions God gives them with excellence, while letting others see what it means to live all out for Jesus.

So here’s my question. OK, questions, plural: Is this reality or just my Thomas Friedman pipe dream? Can we encourage people who want to extend God’s kingdom among unreached peoples to seek employment in world-class cities and use that setting to intentionally reach out to unreached peoples? How does a normal person find a great job in Istanbul or Chiang Mai? Are there agencies focused this way? Are there web sites that list opportunities, or, even better, are set up to connect people to opportunities? Do you have good examples of people who are directing their lives this way? How did it happen for them? How’s it going?

If you’d be willing to weigh in on these questions, please write me.

You Could Be a Missiologist

From: Dave Hackett – July 10, 2005

Who is a missiologist?

“Is your pastor a theologian?” Earl S. Johnson, Jr., in a January 2005 article in the Presbyterian Outlook, posed that question. Johnson recalls former Princeton Seminary President James McCord telling incoming students that all pastors can and should consider themselves to be theologians – if they follow the criteria and disciplines he suggests.

McCord (and Johnson) throw a net wide enough to remind us there’s a bit of theologian in all of us. I’d like to bounce off Johnson’s true-enough view of who is a theologian and extend his thought:

More of us (and I’m not just talking about pastors) can and should consider ourselves to be missiologists.

Who is a missiologist? Don’t let the term intimidate you. You start to become a missiologist when you want to explore how Jesus and the Bible call us into mission. Missiologists get drawn into looking at the many nuances of mission, such as:

* What makes mission good or bad?
* What kinds of mission create dependencies?
* What kinds build capacity for the local community?
* In what ways can mission efforts collaborate by forming networks?
* What are the new successes – and new mistakes – people are making in mission?
* What is the impact of short-term mission teams on the communities they visit?
* Do we support nationals in mission or send in missionaries?

Even this short list shows that missiologists today deal with a lot of hard dilemmas and questions. A missiologist tries to understand mission in its various forms in an intentional (if not professional) and systematic manner.

Our reflection gets personal, too, evaluating our own mission involvement and measuring it up against missiological principles that we can articulate, defend, and justify – or modify after feedback!

To be a missiologist, we will want to read what other missiologists are thinking. We will want to keep studying, keep asking questions, keep directing ourselves and our church or agency or organization into new avenues of mission-focused thought. Along the way we will also want to respect the main avenues of Christian orthodoxy even as we may find cause to challenge them.

To be a missiologist, we will want to reflect on the principles of mission with seriousness no matter whether we can influence just a few or a great number of people. Current trends in mission are a Siren’s call to missiologists, tantalizing us to evaluate and measure and deal with the questions that people and congregations are asking about mission.

Beyond this, some missiologists have academically advanced training (with an M.A., Ph.D., Th.D., or other advanced degrees) and write and publish articles, blogs, and books on mission-related topics. For these people, being a missiologist exacts an additional price of keeping up in special areas of mission interest. We push ourselves to study, and prioritize precious time for mission reflection, research, and writing.

Missiologists’ deep thought and study almost naturally produce materials others can use in guiding, preparing, preaching, teaching, and training in mission.

These kind of people sense that God definitely wants to mobilize the whole Christian Body for the missional purpose of Christ’s Church. We have a conviction that God means much more than assisting a few who might become exceptionally involved in missional activities and commitment. God’s entire church is a missionary church.

So, are you a missiologist? You just might be one! God will enrich you if you step into this thrilling field. These are great times for the Church and Christian organizations to gain from people who parse the perplexities of the whole scope of mission for today’s world.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Post a comment by visiting Dave Hackett’s Frontier Blog.

Questions? Problems? Submissions? Contact publisher/managing editor Marti Smith.

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