kelsey-knight-452154

Things Home Mission Can Learn From Overseas Mission – Part 1

Missionaries are an odd bunch; they talk about exotic places, they swap stories about suffering from strange diseases, they speak foreign languages and they are often rather out of touch with life in the UK. It’s good to have them around, to listen to their encouraging and heartwarming stories, but all too often, what they say is out of touch with the reality of being a Christian in twenty-first century Britain.

OK; that’s a caricature; I know that and you know that, but like all caricatures, it carries a grain of truth.

However, I believe that the skills and experience of cross-cultural missionaries are crucial to the future of the church in the UK, let me explain.

Read more

capturing-the-human-heart-227847

Calling all teachers

‘Give me the children until they are seven, and anyone may have them afterwards.’ Saint Francis Xavier
‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ Proverbs 22:6

The importance of teaching children was emphasised to the Israelites.  Deuteronomy 11 v 18-19 ‘Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’

Read more

ben-white-181778

Mission begins with “ask”

At a day event for the Interserve supporter-network, Paul Hardingham the minister at St. Peter’s church in Halliwell, Bolton, gave a terrific Bible focus from Matthew 9:35-38. Here’s a shortened rendering of that text:

35 Jesus went through towns and villages teaching, proclaiming the good news and healing. 36 …the crowds [provoked] compassion on him, because they were harassed and helpless. 37…he said “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest…to send workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9)

Read more

alex-holyoake-438692

A Smoldering Wick by Gena Thomas – Book Review

A Smoldering Wick: Igniting Missions Work with Sustainable Practices* by Gena Thomas is a book that should be read by anyone involved in leading or organising short-term mission teams. Let me be blunt, if you are involved in short-term mission and you don’t read book, then you are not taking your job seriously enough!

The print edition is a medium sized paperback with just over 270 pages and will set you back about £10, though the Kindle version costs just over half that (guess which one I read). There is a liberal sprinkling of footnotes and a good bibliography.

There is an advertising blurb on the front which reads,

… a powerful critique of Western charity and short-term missions interwoven with the framework for a more hopeful way forward.

Read more

cloudvisual-208962

Disagreeing well

Conflict is one of the principle avoidable reasons for mission workers leaving the field, whether conflict within their own team or with their agency leadership. This issue is a chronic festering ulcer in the missions world, which has existed since the dawn of missions nearly 2000 years ago (Acts 15:39), and will in all probability continue till its end, though that is no reason to not to try to resolve the situation.

Read more

Prayer group

In praise of prayer groups

A central role for any sending church is prayer for those they send. J.O. Fraser, missionary to China in the early part of the 20th century*, learnt much about prayer while bringing the gospel to the Lisu people. He came to realize the vital part that the prayers of those back in the UK had to play in seeing fruit in his labours. To his main prayer support team he wrote,

I am not asking you just to give ‘help’ in prayer as a sort of side line, but I am trying to roll the main responsibility of this prayer warfare on you. I want you to take the burden of these people upon your shoulders. I want you to wrestle with God for them.

Read more

nik-macmillan-280300

Two curates were talking

Oliver: Do you remember John Apulyo[1].

Rupert: Yes wasn’t he a student of engineering who attended our church a few years ago?  I think I remember that after he had returned to his own country he had problems relating to his church pastor and went off to study at a Bible college in another Western country.

Oliver: Yes that is right. I had a message from him the other day to say that he had now returned to his own country and wants to start church planting.

Rupert: Who is he going to work with? Has he been reconciled with his Pastor?

Read more

samuel-zeller-360588

General Data Protection Regulations

In the Bible people’s details are recorded a number of times. In the Old Testament we read about censuses, some to establish the number of the people of Israel, others for determining the number of men eligible for military service. Solomon even undertook a census of the number of foreigners in the land for the purpose of allocating labour. This was a very different world – no reference to data protection regulations, there are no ‘opt out’ tick boxes and no record of canvassers harassing people for donations.

Today data is recognised as a very valuable commodity. It is necessary for wise allocation of government resources such as adequate health and education facilities but it can also be misused leading to identity theft or the targeting of particular segments of society who could be termed vulnerable.

Read more

Invest

A good investment in life?

It may seem obvious to say it – but – we only have one life to live and one chance to invest it.

I have been spectacularly bad at discerning how to do this wisely. For instance, as a son of an economic migrant, my first attempt was to invest myself in my identity as a member of an ethnic minority; my second attempt was into becoming a Counter-tenor in an Oxbridge college choir followed by a choral career; when that idea flopped my third attempt was into education and to become one of Britain’s earliest black head teachers; my fourth and final attempt was in the direction of Anglican ordination as one of the earlier non-Caucasian intake.

Read more

ben-white-181034 (1)

Cross-cultural church planting: a plea from a missionary

It has been really exciting to see a surge in church planting happening around the world. I believe that planting churches, or should I say, planting churches well, is probably the most effective strategy for reaching those without Christ that there has ever been. Now that you know I’m pro-church planting, I’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions for those planting churches cross-culturally from the perspective of a missionary who’s seen the good and the bad. I’m particularly thinking of people church planting in the Global South (previously called the ‘developing world’) with their denomination or church network.

Read more