If it be true that second century Christians sometimes formed themselves into burial clubs in order to achieve a type of organization legal under Roman law, then that fact could give the Czechs, the Basques, and other oppressed minorities today some good ideas on how to run an underground church in an unconventional form.
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Mary Slessor was an impressive woman. Born in 1848 near Aberdeen, Scotland, nothing in her early years would have led one to think she would become such a significant person in mission work in Calabar (Nigeria).
Ambassadors for the King to the Muslim world must be equipped to give an answer for the hope that lies within (1 Peter 3:15). We are taught that we must contend for the faith (Jude 3), and that we must take every thought against the knowledge of God captive under Christ’s authority (2 Corinthians 10:5). Every missionary to the Muslim world wrestles with how to approach their Muslim friend when confronted with objections that strike at the very authority and core message of Christianity.
The Holistic Worldview Analysis (HWVA) strategy is a holistic development strategy that engages closely with a community to understand its survival strategy and then works towards strengthening it so that the community is able to solve most of its own problems. While this concept should excite most people by the way in which it engages with the community, building on the ownership and capability they already have; it often doesn’t find common ground with those that believe development is a top down process.
I had the good fortune recently to spend a few days of strategic dialogue with regional heads of an international mission agency. One of the major topics for discussion concerned the issue of “localization” which has always been part of the heritage of this organization but has become a priority moving forward.
Wearing her hijab, “Mounia” from Yemen heard the gospel and felt the love of God in our international church because of her Rwandan classmate’s invitation and her husband’s permission. Without Arabic or visa for Yemen, instead of flying to Sana’a, we walked two meters to welcome her. From a country with 0.03% evangelicals, could she take the gospel back home?
I believe a cultural blindness exists at the core worldview level of the western missionary and Quichua student that limits the clear teaching and the student’s comprehension and learning in the area of international theological education.
The church planters filled the small building on the edge of town. Many of them were the only Christians living in their Muslim communities. More than 30 years of work in Southeast Asia had taught us that these frontline workers needed times of fellowship and prayer to strengthen them in their church planting endeavors.
In evangelism, church planting, and community development, missionaries are bound to accidentally hurt feelings and offend some people. Restoring relationships often requires apologizing. Outsiders often fail with their apologies by using forms from their home culture that don’t work in the target culture. They mistakenly assume that because the function of apology is universal, the forms are also universal. Using culturally inappropriate forms for apology undermines reconciliation, intensifies resentment, and prolongs hostility.
We live in an unprecedented period of mission history. The new paradigm of “from anywhere to everywhere” is by nature complex, resulting in an increasing need to partner with others for effective ministry. The challenge of connecting with potential partners in the global context is best done in and through the evolving world of networks.