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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.

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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.

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Hearing the Gospel Once or Twice?

No one has the right to hear the Gospel twice while there remains someone who has not heard it once. (Oswald J. Smith)

This is the second post in what may become a series on famous sayings about Christian mission (the first one is here). This quote by Smith is one that turns up in lots of missionary writing and at first glance it seems to make sense, but like many things that make sense at first glance, it is actually rather problematic.Read more

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Mission in Crisis

In 1991, David Bosch wrote a book that many consider to be one of the most important theologies of mission of our age; Transforming Mission. In the introduction, Bosch asserted that mission is facing  crisis because of massive changes in the church and the wider world. He suggested six ways in which this crisis manifests itself (though he does not claim that the list is exhaustive).

  • The advance of science and technology, and the worldwide process of secularisation.
  • The slow but steady de-Christianistion of the West.
  • The fact that the world can no longer be divided into “Christian” and “non-Christian” spheres.
  • Western guilt for racism and colonialism, leading to an unwillingness to engage in mission.
  • The increasing gap between the rich and the poor.
  • The reaction against over-academic Western theology in many parts of the church.

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