When short-term mission gets cancelled…

I’ve been hearing stories recently about short-term mission workers whose time abroad has been rudely interrupted by Covid.

Young people on a gap year who had barely got into their stride in the field when their agency called them back home. People on a DTS who can’t go on outreach. Medical students planning an elective abroad whose plans have been frustrated.

For many of these people it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to serve God abroad, and now it’s not happening. Perhaps it’s never going to happen. Many of these people are disappointed, confused and angry. They need to process this. They have questions like “Why did God send me abroad only to bring me back again?”

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The changing face of evangelism

As we emerge into a much-changed world, it is important to cling to the fact that God has not changed.

I am writing this in the spare room/office of my home, in what is now the eighth week of lockdown. This period has been one of reflection, a chance to be able to reassess my thoughts, my intentions and my motivation.

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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Processing the present and preparing for the new normal

Like many of you I’ve been facing the challenges of navigating and leading during this crisis. You probably realised a while ago that the plan can’t be to just ‘sit this out’ or ‘weather the storm’ until life returns to normal. We have to accept that some things won’t be the way they were. The world has changed. People are talking about BC and AC – Before Corona and After Corona.

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Reaching the community during lockdown

In the midst of this crisis we know God is at work, and hearing stories of hope and of how God is working through others reminds us that his hand is on this situation. The following post, from the Chaplain at Nazarene Theological College, demonstrates why we must continue to share the love of Christ with others during lockdown:
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A eunuch for Jesus?

There is a curious conversation recorded in Matthew 19 which is often overlooked, although it is the follow up to some oft-quoted teaching on divorce. You’ll recall that the disciples asked Jesus where he stood on divorce, and when he says you can’t get divorced except if your spouse has committed adultery, the exasperated disciples exclaim  “It’s better not to get married then!”

And Jesus says “Duh!”

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To Lent or Not To Lent?

Let it be said, that in many ways, I’m about as non-conformist, non-liturgical as you can get. Instinctively, I rebel against the idea of the church year and its associated festivals. I won’t unpack my reasons for this, just take it that I’m an old Free Evangelical curmudgeon.

However, while I’m a natural iconoclast, I am enough of a historian to recognise that something would not have survived for as long as the concept of the church year if it did not have some value. I can see that in pre-literate societies, the rhythm of the church year, combined with the rolling of the seasons would have a value in teaching the message of the Gospels through a process of repetition. However, in an urban, literate society some of this value would undoubtedly be lost.

That being said, over the past few years, I’ve begun to think that churches in my tradition are missing a trick by not celebrating Lent. Let me explain.

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False gospels, poverty and justice

I don’t see his face. I know he is wearing a blue shirt and shorts, I guess he is about 10 or 12 and I think he is thin. Why do I know so little about him?  Because he is just in the edge of my vision. I am walking quickly out of the shopping mall amidst a cloud of boys.  They are asking for dinero (money). I am feeling stressed – are these guys genuine or were they sent out to beg by gang leaders? Or is that just my excuse not to stop, to give, to get involved? He isn’t asking for money, just lying on the floor, perhaps the poorest of them all. I don’t know.

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