by Michael Pocock & Enoch Wan, eds.
William Carey Library, 2015.
God has been moving people across the globe for his purposes throughout all time, from Abraham in Genesis 12 to the scattering of the apostles in Acts 8. Jesus commissions his followers to “Go into all the world.” In his amazing grace, he is also bringing the world to his followers.
This collection of writings directs attention to the missional significance of the people movements (diaspora) in our world today. Upwards of 500 million people have migrated from their home country and are currently in other countries and cultures. A variety of situations are the cause of this dispersion, including political oppression, a desire for jobs or education, or natural disasters. Michael Pocock, in his introduction, shares, “It seems that God is orchestrating global migration with a view to blessing humanity, populating his creation, and drawing people to himself” (p. xvii).
The thrust of the various contributors is to help us to see this great opportunity for missions outreach. This opportunity is beyond what is currently possible in many countries since many of the people come from countries that are closed to the gospel and are now in open-access countries. The unreachable are now within reach and have the capacity to reach back into their home culture.
The writers help the reader to see that the focus is not only on believers reaching out with the gospel to the diaspora, but also to the movement of Christians within the people movements taking the gospel wherever they go. The migrating masses are often more accessible and open to Christians, who themselves are on the move.
Six categories are covered, including the current phenomenon, theory and models, theological guidelines, strategy, case studies, and ideas for moving ahead in this key opportunity. One of the practical ideas presented is how to use Facebook to determine where the diaspora populations are located.
I found the chapter that reflects on the Apostle Paul’s ministry as related to the diaspora especially insightful. One author helps us to see the way to work ‘with’ the diaspora in missions. Jerry Rankin’s chapter regarding the movement of the International Mission Board of the SBC changing its structures to meet this great opportunity is worth the price of the book.
Much of what is shared is informative and theoretical, begging for more practical guidance in carrying out a ministry among, to, and with the diaspora. The hope of the authors, and of this review, is that the Church may move ahead to cooperate with this movement of God for his glory among the nations.
Check these titles:
Issue Group on Diasporas and International Students. 2005. “The New People Next Door.” Lausanne Occasional Paper 55.
Payne, J.D. 2012. Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
Wan, Enoch, ed. 2014. Diaspora Missiology: Theory, Methodology, and Practice. Create Space Independent Publishing.
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EMQ, Vol. 52, No. 4. Copyright © 2016 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.