by Norman Allison
In conjunction with EFMA-IFMA triennial study conference, 60 professors of missions met at U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California.
The excitement of national of the Association of Evangelical Professors of Missions is still with me. In conjunction with EFMA-IFMA triennial study conference, 60 professors of missions met at U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California. As director of School of World Mission at Toccoa Falls College, I have been to many conferences, but none quite like this one. The interaction between missions professors and mission leaders, and the contagious renewal of enthusiasm generated in our week together will not be forgotten soon. Our very location, with host Ralph Winter, seemed to create an atmosphere of expectation, and we were not disappointed.
AEPM involvement in the conference was highlighted by events like the keynote address of our 1982-84 president, David Hesselgrave of Trinity, speaking on "Biblical Balance in Modern Missions," Ron Blue of Dallas (AEPM vice-president for the Southwest) and Terry Hulbert of Columbia, gave stimulating addresses on various aspects of missionary harmony. A "panel of professors," moderated by Lois McKinney of Wheaton, discussed issues relating to these addresses and raised still other concerns relating to missionary preparation.
For those of us who teach missions, our own special sessions were the icing on the cake. Donald McGavran spoke to the AEPM on "The Endangered Heart of Missiology," It was inspiring to recall, even as he was speaking, that here was a man who had profoundly influenced the missionary movement for over 50 years. After his lecture, he answered questions from the floor with characteristic insight and precision. Later, I spoke to him personally for a few minutes, reminding him of the times I had written to him asking numerous questions about a small people movement-which had begun in the Jordanian village in which I was working. In spite of his busy schedule, he had taken time to write to me as a young missionary, offering much sound advice and encouragement.
Answering the desire of AEPM members to share methodologies of classroom instruction, the presentation by Ray Badgero of Moody fit perfectly. Ray (regional vice-president for the Midwest) spoke about "Bicultural Simulation Models for Missiological Training," and gave us some good insights into how he has incorporated various role-playing models into classroom instruction. Along With this came an excellent bibliography of materials.
On Friday afternoon, we were treated to a tour of the Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center, where director Sam Wilson and his staff spoke on "Adapting Hi-Tech to Missiological Training." Their presentations, demonstration, and offer of services left us all with a new awareness of the many methodologies available to us in reaching the unreached people groups of our world.
Finally, John Gration of Wheaton Graduate School climaxed our study sessions with a paper on "Church and Parachurch: Partner or Competitor?" I believe we all gained new insights into the ongoing relationship between church and parachurch groups as they are functioning in today’s world. Gration’s paper, along with a response by Jim Mulkey, generated a lively discussion that was cut off only by the end of our allotted time.
The 60 participating professors represented 38 different Schools. Thirty-three were from graduate schools and 27 represented undergraduate schools. The largest group, 21 came from the Southwest. But other regions were well represented also, including 17 from the Midwest, six each from the Southeast and Northeast, five from the Northwest, and four from Canada. The presence of Young J. Son of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea-who came just to attend our conference- may have been the harbinger of an AEPM International.
Space does not permit me to thank everyone who had such an important part in making the Conference such a great success. In my own mind, however, I know that a great debt is owed by AEPM to Ray Tallman. Ray held the organization together through some rough years when interest and enthusiasm in the fellowship were not so great. In addition, I express the thanks of all our membership to David Hesselgrave. Dave has led the AEPM to a point of renewed interest and excitement about the possibilities of such an organization. Without these two men and their efforts, and the prayers and support of many of you, the meeting would not have been possible.
For the days ahead we look forward to even further growth and interest in the AEPM. The newly-elected officers have some exciting plans for the organization. Members will be hearing from us soon. If you are a professor of missions and have not joined (presently there are nearly 150 on the membership role), we invite you to become a member of our growing fellowship. Others who are involved in missiology but are not presently teaching at the college or seminary level are also invited to join as associate members.
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