Archive for the ‘missiology’ Category

… and setting the right priorities.


God of Mission

As I wrote last weekend, it’s not original. I like to give people these seven words and ask them to make a sentence… or two… or maybe more. Most sentences make sense, but I believe only one combination of these words is correct.

What would you come up with?

This blog is called John 20:21. That’s the verse where the resurrected Jesus walked through a locked door to say to a bunch of fairly frightened disciples:

Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.

God the Father had sent God the Son into the world as a human baby initiating a massive change in his relationship with the world and the peoples of the world that he had created. If we tie John 20:21 in with Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8 (not to mention many more references throughout the Old and New Testaments), we see Jesus initiating another new stage in which he gives his followers down through the ages an awesome responsibility! A responsibility to be totally involved in what God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are doing.

So what’s the answer to the seven word Mission Puzzle?

I was prompted to blog by another blog post entitled As the Father sent me written by Martin Lee (Executive Director of Global Connections). You can read more about Martin at the bottom of As the Father sent me. He starts like this:

Please help us in OUR mission – the cry of many mission agencies and committed missionaries. Evangelicals have always been and will always be activists. Yet it is so easy for the emphasis to be on my mission, my calling, my sending, my ministry and when this happens it should fill us with concern.

Does this fill you with concern? If you work for a mission agency or a church… have you ever been guilty of this possessive emphasis?

Have you got a sentence from the puzzle picture above that you are happy with? Reading Martin’s blog will certainly help!

After some references to early 20th century theology, you will find this…

God is a missionary God. ‘It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.’

And later…

We are called simply to be part of God’s mission as we follow Jesus who said: ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ It’s not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church.

And he concludes…

UK mission agencies and churches probably need to think much more carefully about the key implications of their role in God’s mission. It is not about MY mission and the promotion of what we are doing, but the work of the Kingdom.

So I’m thinking where does the mission agency that I have been a member of since July 1988 fit in? Have I been guilty in my roles in mobilisation and church engagement of pushing Wycliffe’s vision at the expense of God’s mission?

While I’m sure I often got it wrong, I’m actually encouraged by a memory from the early 2000’s when we held a series of Vision Lunches around Ireland. More than once invited ministers commented that it was their first experience of being asked by a mission agency “How can we help you?”

Wycliffe Bible Translators exists to enable all peoples to engage with the Bible in a language which speaks to their hearts

So how do we do that?

Well… since the God of mission has a church, Wycliffe’s aim is to serve the church, both in the UK and Ireland – and in the many countries where people groups still wait to receive God’s word in their heart languages.

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A Mission Puzzle


God of MissionIt’s not original – although the photo is – but I like to give people these seven words and ask them to make a sentence… or two… or maybe more.

Most sentences make sense, but I believe only one combination of these words is correct.

Have a go.

In a couple of days I’ll blog on this topic again inspired by a blog I read last week

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At look!2012, the Wycliffe Global Gathering last May, Christopher Wright gave three talks. (See here.) Today I was listening to one of them entitled Holistic Mission.

Whatever we might think of the term mission; however we may define the term – it is God’s mission, not ours. It’s not about Christians in need of a mission looking to develop our own strategies and ministries. Chris argues, as he does throughout his book The Mission of God, that from Genesis to Revelation, we are learning about God’s mission and that God is calling his people to be involved in his mission to his created people in his created world.

Yet so many of us continue to argue for and against our own definitions. We debate the relative merits and priorities of evangelism versus social action.

Many may think that Bible translation is firmly in the evangelism sector, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Currently I’m preparing for a seminar on 13 October at Emmanuel Church in Lurgan, entitled What’s the point of translating the Bible for hungry people?

Friend and colleague, Dave Pearson, doesn’t do Bible translation, but he is a key member of our organisation. Dave is one example that I could use in Lurgan. This is what he posted on Facebook on Friday 28 September.

Five Marks of Mission

This week I spent three days in Machakos, Kenya leading an Advocacy Workshop. 24 participants from 12 NGOs applied the principles I taught to four issues: access to education for pastoral people groups, empowering parents to advocate for quality basic education, quality vocational training and cultural practices that damage sexual and reproductive health (such as female genital mutilation and widow inheritance). It was hard work but a lot of fun. I learned a lot too.

So in which of the Five Marks of Mission is Dave’s work as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators?

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This is a blog that I found it on Wycliffe Global Alliance’s Facebook page this morning. Some readers may be interested – Missio Vitae

Missio Vitae has been developed by Wycliffe Global Alliance and invites others to…

Be a part of Wycliffe’s learnings and reflections as together we prepare our hearts and minds for fuller participation in God’s mission. We invite you to use these resources to start real conversations in your own context!

Kirk Franklin, executive director of Wycliffe Global Alliance writes:

Wycliffe Global Alliance’s interest in missiology is key to our participation in the missio Dei (the mission of God). Missiology’s contribution to the Bible translation movement is to analyse its practises, intentions, attitudes, message and methods. This is in keeping with Samuel Escobar’s definition of missiology: “An interdisciplinary approach to understand missionary action [looking] at missionary facts from the perspectives of the biblical sciences, theology, history and the social sciences*.”

We recognise that Bible translation is only one facet of the overarching mission of God. Our desire is that all peoples have access to and can understand and apply God’s Word so God may be glorified in every language of the world.

The gathering of resources for Bible translation and compassionate service takes place in a rapidly changing social, cultural, economic, political and religious environment in each nation and at the global level. Recognising these factors, we seek God’s guidance and direction for discernment and wisdom. We also encourage our colleagues and co-workers in missiological reflection and action. Together under God’s direction we can participate in ministering to a changing world.

Already there are contributions from Samuel Escobar, Andrew Walls and Christopher Wright.

I’ve got some reading time planned into my diary for tomorrow and hope to dip into Missio Vitae.

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