Poverty wealth and responsibility in Mission

Poverty wealth and responsibility in Mission

Introduction.

Recently I was deeply moved by an advert that was screened on South Africa television. It shows a young black South African mother living in a shack in one of the many informal settlements that are so common on the outskirts of South African towns and cities. She lovingly dresses her son in threadbare clothes and shoes. She makes him a sandwich with her last two slices of bread, and takes him to a local train station. At the station she seats the toddler on a railway bench and gently instructs him to wait there, supposedly she is going to buy a ticket. The viewer catches a glimpse of the station clock in the background; it is early in the morning. The storyline of the advert progresses with the little child obediently waiting for his mother’s return, behind him the viewer can see the hours passing on the station clock until the day is at its end and the little child is still sitting all alone on the railway bench waiting for his mother. The advert ends with a message reminding the viewer that in South Africa extreme poverty is a daily reality for the large majority of the population, and that some parents would rather abandon their children to the care of strangers than see them starve to death. The advert intended to remind the viewers that we have a collective responsibility for one another’s wellbeing. The sad message of this advert is borne out in a telling article in the Cape Times newspaper  December 6, 2006 p.6ii) reporting on the findings of research conducted by the National Treasury of South Africa. The research indicated that the most common reason why South African’s borrow money is to buy food!

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‘As the Father has Sent Me’: Integral Mission and the Church

‘As the Father has Sent Me’: Integral Mission and the Church

by Bishop Mtetemala

In my work as the Bishop of a small Diocese in Tanzania I visit each parish at least once a year. This gives me the opportunity talk about the needs of the community and the response of the church to those needs with members of the church and community leaders. The Diocese has become more active in responding to the physical needs of the poor communities because we saw this as a way of bringing God's love among them. Evangelism has always remained central to our mission, but the more we do evangelism, the more God shows us the broadness of his mission.

We are learning that mission must not be narrow because it is God's mission. The Church's mission originates from God's mission and as such it must be broad enough to touch both the soul and the body; the society as well as the individual. It must have an impact on people in their total need. It must be integral, total and wholesome.

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Confusing Asiku: how mission and development intervention in international languages works to bypass the minds of beneficiaries

Confusing Asiku: how mission and development intervention in international languages works to bypass the minds of beneficiaries

By Gary Cowman, SIL International  and Jim Harries, Alliance for Vulnerable Mission
2015 

 This paper looks at the challenges faced by external holistic ministry and development workers who do not speak the local language. The implications of using the international, rather than local, language are explored as they impact the people in the local community and external workers. A conversational approach is used to bring understanding to difficult questions related to topics such as whether linguistic diversity leads to conflict, the cost/benefit of learning the local language, managing donor expectations in light of what is in the best interest of the local community, the importance of contextually relevant communications material in terms of both language and culture, and the pertinence of globalisation to the local communities we come alongside of to serve.

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Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World

Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct

World Council of Churches
Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
World Evangelical Alliance
2011

Mission belongs to the very being of the church. Proclaiming the word of God and witnessing to the world is essential for every Christian. At the same time, it is necessary to do so according to gospel principles, with full respect and love for all human beings.

Aware of the tensions between people and communities of different religious convictions and the varied interpretations of Christian witness, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), the World Council of Churches (WCC) and, at the invitation of the WCC, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), met during a period of 5 years to reflect and produce this document to serve as a set of recommendations for conduct on Christian witness around the world. This document does not intend to be a theological statement on mission but to address practical issues associated with Christian witness in a multi-religious world.

The purpose of this document is to encourage churches, church councils and mission agencies to reflect on their current practices and to use the recommendations in this document to prepare, where appropriate, their own guidelines for their witness and mission among those of different religions and among those who do not profess any particular religion. It is hoped that Christians across the world will study this document in the light of their own practices in witnessing to their faith in Christ, both by word and deed.

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Confundiendo a Asiku: Cómo la Intervención y Desarrollo en Lenguas Internacionales Llevan a la Evasión de las Mentes de los Beneficiarios

Confundiendo a Asiku: Cómo la Intervención y Desarrollo en Lenguas Internacionales Llevan a la Evasión de las Mentes de los Beneficiarios

Por Gary Cowman y Jim Harries
2015

Asiku está encantada de que los sanitarios hayan venido a su aldea. La enfermedad que se ha apoderado de muchos de sus familiares y amigos ya ha matado a varias personas, y los extranjeros dicen que la misma puede detenerse. Pocas personas en su comunidad hablan bien inglés. Esto significa que cuando los extranjeros hablan de lo que se puede hacer acerca de la enfermedad, Asiku espera hasta que uno de los lugareños que hablan inglés escuche y traduzca el mensaje. Las palabras de uso médico que suelen usarse resultan muy difícil de traducir ya que muchas veces sus significados en la lengua de Asiku no son muy claros; por lo cual, el traductor suele sólo usar la palabra en inglés que Asiku no entiende todavía. La mayoría de los familiares y amigos de Asiku quedan confundidos después de que los extranjeros hablan porque no saben lo que se supone que deben hacer diferente, pero no quieren que se vayan o se ofendan. Todos sonríen de modo alentador y asientan para afirmar que lo que están haciendo los extranjeros es importante. Asiku está segura de que el extranjero trae una información importante y útil que no están entendiendo ¿pero cómo puede acceder a ella? 

 

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Biblical Understandings of Children and Childhood: Resources for the Church and Mission Today

Biblical Understandings of Children and Childhood: Resources for the Church and Mission Today

By Marcia J. Bunge, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology and Humanities
(Christ College, Valparaiso University)
Director of the Child in Religion and Ethics Project
March 2011

Although Christians today and in the past have often viewed children in narrow and even destructive ways, the Bible expresses six insightful and central perspectives on children; and by holding these six perspectives in tension (rather than in isolation), we can broaden our conception of children and strengthen our commitment to them in all areas of the Church.

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Art and God’s Mission: Connecting art and local-church worship to poverty and injustice

Art and God's Mission: Connecting art and local-church worship to poverty and injustice

General Objectives:

1. Mission: Exploring God’s mission and how art fits into it.
2. Art: Exploring the nature of art and the role it plays in social issues.
3. Worship: Exploring what worship is and how it connects to poverty, injustice, and violence.

Specific Outcome-based Objectives:

By the end of the seminar participants will have:
1. Compared God’s mission with much of the church’s understanding of it.
2. Explored how ideas travel and the role of the ‘balladeer,’ and identify some examples of both.
3. Explored the power of art and identified its function in addressing social issues.
4. Defined worship and identified how worship in a local church setting can link to issues of poverty, injustice, and violence.

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Accompaniment – in the argentinian Chaco – an alternative missionary practice case study

Accompaniment - in the argentinian Chaco - an alternative missionary practice case study

By Willis Horst
2015

The book Mission without conquest represents a case study of a way of doing mission which we as a peace church are especially interested in because it is an effort to recover the missional posture of the early church. The classic Christian missionary movement began and was largely carried out during the era of colonialism. The paradigm was constantinian. The western worldview assumed superiority to the rest of the world because empire could be imposed through the use of force. Along with this mentality, those who went to foreign lands to convert the heathen assumed that the truth of Christianity was clear and that it was just a matter of time till Christendom would in fact take over the whole earth and then would be the end of time.

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Ten theological theses on Mission and Development

Ten theological theses on Mission and Development

By Steve de Gruchy
September 2004

The task of this paper is to provide the contours of a biblical and theological grounding for the involvement of the Church - and by this I mean the community of Christian people - in the work of development, which I define as “social, cultural, religious, ecological, economic and political activities that consciously seek to enhance the self-identified livelihoods of the poor”. To do this, I propose ten theological theses on mission and development.

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A Mission-Conducive Eschatology –Reading Revelation within its Context

A Mission-Conducive Eschatology –Reading Revelation within its Context

by Christopher Fung - Individual Member of Micah, Hong Kong - September 2018

Understanding the ‘end-times’ is crucial to give meaning to Christian undertakings, especially ‘missions’. Yet most end-times interpretations suffer from misinterpretations which cast God as mostly wrathful (unloving!), meting out his punishment on a humanity which has largely rejected him, despite Jesus’ sacrifice and the ministration of the saints.  However, an in-context reading of Revelation, the supreme eschatological text and the Bible’s conclusion, gives a diametrically opposite message which proves to be the foundation of all missionary works. Such a natural reading of the Bible would allow missions to deploy the vast resources in Revelation for their works. Read the paper
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