My role at Global Connections means that I have to be rather a conference junky. As a network we are committed to people learning from each other, and the best way to do that is to bring people together. Fortunately I love meeting new people at the many diverse events that we facilitate.
As well as the many day events, every couple of years we hold a residential conference where it is easier to spend quality time with others. This May we tried to do something different in terms of those we asked to contribute. Entitled From Where I’m Sitting we sought to explore mission from different perspectives.
Here in the UK, we are used to hearing mission leaders, typically European and American men in their fifties, describing what the most important issues in mission are. But is this the full story? So this time we decided not to invite the big name plenary speakers, to provide the opportunity to listen to a variety of other voices. The contributors in the main plenary session included:
- Voices of Generation Y: Adam Lowe (WEC), Chris Kidd (All Saints Didben), Philipa Kalungi (OMF).
- Voices of women in mission: Lesley Cheesman (Agapé), Ruth Wall (formerAll Nations), Sarah Brighton (Hope UK)
- Voices of missionaries to the UK: Harvey Kwiyani (Missio Africanus), Israel Oluwole Olofinjana (Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World), Lucho Sanchez (Latin Link)
- Voices of international mission networks: Coordinated by Mark Oxbrow (Faith2Share)
It was certainly challenging and refreshing to hear different voices. You can listen to the talks on the Global Connections events page.
Obviously in a three day event such as this, it is not easy to summarise all that was said. However on the last morning I had the privilege to feed-back what I had heard. There are of course many more that could be added but the main issues that I picked up were:
- Centrality of the gospel
- Agencies need to do something about their governance
- Agencies need to collaborate, innovate and take risk
- Churches need to be at the centre
- Discipleship here and everywhere
- Mutual respective partnership is vital
- Don’t forget the hard places
You can read the full paper here.
In a diverse world, it is important that we listen to a range of opinions to understand better what is going on. This conference aimed to be a start in that process here in the UK, so do take the opportunity to reflect to what was said. This is the first in a series of blogs which will look at this issue in more depth.