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Issues Facing Missions Today: Introduction

Issues Facing Missions Today: Introduction

Alongside my studies in Bible and mission, given under the title, ‘Why foreign Missions?,’  I would like from time to time to offer some blog posts addressing issues in missions today.  Here you will actually find one of my motivations in returning to a biblical understanding of mission in my other blog postings.  These posts will be more my impressions as someone who is a missionary—at least in some senses of the word—and who knows about mission practice today—at least to some extent.

I am very tempted to write satire on this subject at times—and I just may!  Readers will undoubtedly sense some disenchantment with the subject of missions today.  To the extent that there is a negative impression given, this is only because I wish to see something far better.  I myself am wedded to the mission of the Church and practice of mission work, and I am passionate about it. 

The mission of the Church is far too important to be left to the bungling that characterizes so much of missions today.  I hear my elementary school teacher in South Africa saying to us after a poor performance on our homework, ‘Pull up your socks!’  It is time for us to ‘pull up our socks,’ to get serious and be diligent about the mission of the Church in our day.  While trying to lay a foundation for the Church’s mission in Scripture in other blog postings, I will offer a more impressionistic, challenging, and practical collection of my thoughts in ‘Issues Facing Missions Today’ posts.

I come to this topic with the following background—I’m hoping to suggest to readers that I do know something about the topic in diverse and sundry ways.  Of course, nobody is really qualified to speak about the Church’s mission except the one who does so correctly (quality lies in the content, not the resume)!  I care nothing for those ‘pillars’ addressing the Church’s mission, as Paul might as well have written in Galatians 1; only for the right understanding of the Church’s mission.  Yet if I am forced to boast in human credentials, I will.  My grandparents were independent missionaries in South Africa, and another grandparent was the pastor of an immigrant, denominational church in America.  My parents were missionaries in South Africa with an American denominational mission.  I was a single missionary with a mission agency in East Africa, and I and my wife were independent missionaries in Europe through a mission foundation of a mainline/oldline denomination.  We then became missionaries through a different mission agency and with a focus on theological education.  I am increasingly involved at present with work in South Africa.  Some of my friends serve in various mission agencies and ministries around the world, are pastors of churches, and are colleagues in theological colleges and seminaries, especially in North America, Europe, and Africa.  I have, in fact, been teaching in theological colleges and seminaries since 1985 and thinking and writing about missions for 28 years.

Maybe some of these thoughts are worth expressing more openly: I hope I will choose the worthier ones for these blog entries!