Source: William Carey Library
Mission in Motion: Speaking Frankly of Mobilization, by Jay Matenga and Malcolm Gold. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2016. 298 pages.
This study, nearly a decade in the making, explores what motivates and mobilizes Christians, globally, to the task of world mission. In it nine researchers draw on interviews with mission mobilizers, mission leaders, church leaders, and church mission advocates in eight world regions.
Mission in Motion builds on the work of respected South African missiologist David Bosch whose (rather dense) work Transforming Mission explored historical paradigms of world mission, concluding that mission thinking was in a state of transition. Matenga and Gold’s findings, 25 years later, support this. The church and mission leaders interviewed lack a common understanding of what is and isn’t “missions.” While inclusiveness and focus each have their advantages, this data helps explain a question mission mobilizers grapple with: What is it we are calling Christians to, anyway?
Mission in Motion also describes the history of mission mobilization and some of the typical approaches before focusing in on what might be most useful section, an analysis of the factors that help and hinder Christians pursuing global mission roles.
World mission “accelerants,” they find, include the example, encouragement, and support of family members (following in the footsteps or catching the vision of a relative), as well as relationships with missionaries and church leaders. Books, conferences, and courses may help. But according to the data, those things did not seem to initiate a missions interest. They were accelerants, not the spark. The spark was something much more transcendent.
World mission “retardants,” the research finds, include funding and fundraising challenges (especially for non-Westerners), burdensome structures and requirements, gender disparities, and cultural trends toward secularism, individualism, and materialism.
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