This is the fifth in a series of blogs on the Global Connections conference in May 2016, From Where I’m Sitting, where we sought to explore mission from different perspectives. You can listen to the talks on the Global Connections events page. I had the privilege to seek feedback on what was heard on the last morning and made a wide range of points…
Another key point raised was “churches need to be at the centre of mission”.
Our Global Options conference way back in 2004 focused on how to help the church be central to world mission. It resulted in our strapline: “Mission at the heart of the church, the church at the heart of mission”
Since then there has been a shift to agencies involving churches more in the whole process of mission partner selection. I have been encouraged to see that change take place. However, it seems to have got a little stuck. I wonder if it has just become a mantra that we don’t really believe, but we put up with it!!
So I would challenge agencies to ensure:-
The sending church is fully involved at the earliest opportunity;
The sending church feels the person is still “theirs” and fully involved in all major decisions;
Communications between the three partners – agency, church and mission partner are exemplary.
Our starting point is often “What do we have to offer churches”, when actually the question should be “What do churches want, and can we provide anything needed?”. We need to think of ourselves much more as consultancies, and consultancies need to offer wanted products and services. Can I commend Bryan Knell’s book to you all – The Heart of Church and Mission.
So a question: “How can agencies serve the church in new ways? I would plead that agencies take this issue seriously and not just continue to dabble.
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Martin Lee spent most of his career in the relief and development sector. He joined Global Connections as Executive Director in 2004. He has responsibility for the overall direction of the network. Martin has undertaken a variety of training in the facilitation, personnel and financial areas. He has several other charitable interests, serving as a trustee of several charities including ECHO International Health Services and as chair of Penhurst Retreat Centre.