EMQ » January–April 2024 » Volume 60 Issue 1
Summary: Around the world more and more people from Majority World nations are diligently working as missionaries in near and far places. At the same time, economic hardships and unrest have displaced hundreds of millions of people. Unreached and unengaged peoples are now on the doorsteps of local churches in otherwise reached nations. The skills cross-cultural missionaries acquire are increasingly needed in even rural North American towns.
By Heather Pubols
For a few years, my husband and I lived next door to a large YWAM base in South Africa. It had staff and students from more than 20 countries. One staff member from Nigeria, lived behind us. Daniel’s[i] ministry included evangelism with the Cape Malay community.
He had been a devout Muslim but became a believer after having a vision of Jesus while in advanced Islamic theological studies in the Middle East. That experience followed by a divine encounter with a Christian back in Nigeria changed the whole course of his life and moved him toward becoming a missionary.
In South Africa, the Cape Malay community comprises the largest group of practicing Muslims in the country.[ii] And Daniel easily made friends amongst them that opened doors to debate the tenants of Islam and share about Jesus. His access was exceptional in large part because of his background, culture, race, and nationality.
Daniel is not alone. Around the world more and more people from Majority World nations are diligently working as missionaries in near and far places. At the same time, the world’s peoples are moving – everywhere! Economic hardships and unrest have displaced hundreds of millions of people.[iii] Unreached and unengaged peoples are now on the doorsteps of local churches in otherwise reached nations. The skills cross-cultural missionaries acquire are increasingly needed in even rural North American towns.
God is on the move. As Sam George, the Lausanne catalyst for diasporas, says, “Movement is a part of the Christian story.” Christianity is not a religion with one center. It is polycentric, and so is its mission. Missionaries from everywhere are going everywhere. And the mission field, itself, is also moving just as dynamically. Sam’s paraphrase of Matthew 28:19 fits this context well: “As you move about, make disciples everywhere.”[iv]
This issue is devoted to exploring how polycentric missions is happening, today. Articles delve into how the concept of polycentric mission developed. They consider what this means for missionaries, mission agencies, and missions training. They also investigate the ideas of sending and reverse mission, as well as the history of the Nigerian missions movement, engaging with diaspora peoples, and where the church fits in polycentric missions.
Our extras section includes a tribute to global mission catalyst Loren Cunningham, a reflection on the power of stories, a look at patronage, and an exploration of fellowship in God’s mission story.
[i] Pseudoymn used for security purposes.
[ii] Ephraim C. Mandivenga, “The Cape Muslims and the Indian Muslims of South Africa: A Comparative Analysis,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 20, no. 2 (October 2000): 347–352, https://www.proquest.com/docview/215232810.
[iv] Sam George, “People on the Move and God on the Move: Reimagining Missions,” presented at the Missio Nexus Mission Leader’s Conference, Orlando, FL, September 27, 2023, https://missionexus.org/people-on-the-move/.
EMQ, Volume 60, Issue 1. Copyright © 2024 by Missio Nexus. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from Missio Nexus. Email: EMQ@MissioNexus.org.