Mission Agencies in the 21st Century

From the Editorial:

A revolution in world mission was sparked in 1789 when William Carey wrote his Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens and then founded the Baptist Missionary Society four years later. Carey wasn’t the first Protestant to take the gospel beyond the confines of Europe, but his example liberated the church from its focus on local concerns and spawned the growth of a series of denominational and non-denominational mission societies.

These societies were augmented by a series of “Faith Mission” societies after Hudson Taylor started the China Inland Mission in 1865. The way mission has been done—with most missionaries serving in conjunction with one agency that has been responsible for recruiting, sending, and receiving—has remained fairly consistent for more than 200 years.

While it may seem premature to question the long-term viability of what appears to be a tried-and-true approach to mission, we must remember that Jesus was building his church long before the “modern mission movement” began. It may be that global realities of the 21st century will move God to exchange the wineskin we are accustomed to with a new one that seems a bit unfamiliar or perhaps one that we find unrecognizable. But since God has worked at various times in various ways, we should be ready for him to do a new thing if he desires, be on the lookout for signs of this taking place, and be actively evaluating our structures and procedures to see how they might best serve God’s kingdom today and tomorrow.

Browse articles in “Mission Agencies in the 21st Century”

The Future of Mission Agencies

The article looks at the historical context of evangelical missions and the global changes—religion, politics, globalization, rapid change and trends—that have impacted the way mission is done. It points out the problems in the current approaches taken by British mission agencies in response to the changes. The final section explores some serious questions that mission [...]

Future Proofing OMF

This article discusses the lessons learnt from the discontinuation of OMF Southern Africa and the transition period when the team worked hard to let the old OMF Southern Africa model die. The lessons were profoundly important in the development of New Horizons (NH) as OMF’s means to engage workers from non-traditional sending countries. The discussion [...]

Mission and the Internet

The paper looks at the impact of the internet based on statistics for Southeast Asia, China, and Japan, and focuses on the development of an internet ministry in Thailand for evangelism and Christian nurture. It presents four stepping stones that can be used to develop an effective internet ministry and how this can be reproduced [...]

Swimming Upstream

This article discusses the possibilities of Filipinos serving in Japan and considers how similar things can be done for workers from the majority world to address challenges of serving in more affluent places. It looks at the need to rethink language learning and to widen the discussion on tent-making and other ways of sending and [...]

Reflections on the Korean Missionary Movement: A Critical Review of Recent Research

This paper reflects on how recent scrutiny of the Korean Missionary Movement sheds insights on the contexts of Korean mission and the development of Korean mission agencies. Rev. Dr. Warren R. Beattie teaches Mission Studies, Contextual Theology, and Arts with Mission at All Nations Christian College in Hertfordshire, UK. He and his wife were members [...]

A Description of CIM Missionary Workers to the Tibetan Highlands Prior to 1950

In this research paper, Zi Yu presents the sociodemographic characteristics of early CIM pioneers who sought to take the gospel to the Tibetan plateau prior to the withdrawal of CIM from China in 1952. Based on data extracted from China's Millions and the CIM Registry, the paper describes key characteristics of the sixty nine CIM [...]

Book review – The Human Tidal Wave: Global Migration, Megacities, Multiculturalism, Pluralism, Diaspora Missiology

Reviewed by Andy Smith Global migration, marked by urbanization, is rapidly impacting the peoples, cultures, societies, and nations of the world. And as this strategic and urgent book demonstrates, it provides us with wonderful opportunities to make disciples. Toward this end, Brian Seim’s chapter helps us see that the complex, diverse, impersonal, and task-oriented life [...]

Book review – What the Buddha Taught

“Still a classic” The value of a text such as this lies in its ability to act as a useful frame of reference for the reader to further their understanding of a subject, particularly across a range of contexts. Walpola Rahula’s work, first published over fifty years ago, provides a succinct description of core Buddhist [...]

Book review: Seeking a City with Foundations by David W. Smith

Reviewed by Peter Rowan National Director of OMF UK Recent years have witnessed an increasing focus on the growth of cities and megacities in the non-Western world. Mind-boggling statistics with accompanying analyses provide us with insights into what an increasingly urbanised world will look like. Sadly, the Christian community has been slow to respond to [...]

Book review – A Passion for the Impossible: The Continuing Story of the Mission Hudson Taylor Started

In a turbulent world spinning through rapid change, this fact-filled and heart- stirring account of God’s redemptive work in an earlier era marked by upheavals of unimaginable proportions is a timely read. Lyall, a veteran CIMer with a solid grasp of the historical and socio-political background of China and the West, tells a dramatic story [...]

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