Perspective on Perspectives – Personal Insight on Study

2015041405/1/2015

Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (Perspectives) is a fifteen week course about the global purpose of Christians, designed around four vantage points or “perspectives” – Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic. The course has the objective of opening the eyes of Christians to the vision that God has a “world-size” role for every believer in His global mission. The point of this course is to simply show practical examples of how missions can be done wisely and well, against the background that God will fulfill His promises.

Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3).

I have embarked on the Independent Study Online format of the Perspectives study program and will periodically share a perspective on different lessons.

 

INTRODUCTION

Lesson 9 – The Task Remaining:  In this lesson I saw the mandate of making disciples among the nations progressing towards a reality. The power of culture was the underline thread through the different sub topics. A few were: “the essential Missionary Task”, mother tongue translation and Positive Values of having Ethnic Churches. All shaping a peoples’ expression of following Christ.

STANDOUT POINTS 

The Essential Missionary Task

The course material describe the “essential missionary task” as establishing a viable indigenous church planning movement that carries the potential to renew whole extended families and transform whole societies. It is viable in that it can grow on its own. Indigenous in that it is not seem as foreign, and a church planting movement that continues to reproduce intergenerational fellowships that are able to evangelize the rest of the people group. This may be referred to as a missiological breakthrough. The “essential missionary task” is essential because it is foundational to getting the gospel to an entire people group. This means that as soon as possible new converts in the local church should be identified and trained as leaders and evangelist. The intentions is that they will then be the ones to go to the people of their society.

“Mother-Tongue” Bible Translations

On many occasions natives are encouraged and/or motivated to learn the language of the missionary, if different from theirs, but in ensuring that the gospel can infiltrate that society it is best that the Word of God be translated to their language or “Mother-tongue”. “Mother-tongue” Bible translations is especially important for establishing mature and enduring church movements among unreached peoples because for the local church initiated by the missionaries to be effective in ministering to people of their own society it is necessary for them to communicate in their own language and have the Bible in their own language as reference. This would remove the perception and attitudes about what is foreign and what is credible. A strong, mature and enduring church movement must have all the tools necessary to continue growing and being relevant to the society of which it is a part. A major tool is the Word of God in the language they grew up speaking. This is a very technical part of the missionary task that requires much attention and support.

Positive Values of having Ethnic Churches

In the US we have a few ethic churches and some persons argue of the prudence of that. Though the full context in this lesson is cross cultural missions, I agree with Miriam Adeney (author in Perspectives on World Christian Movement) that when ethnicity is treasured as a gift but not worshiped as an idol, God’s world is blessed. She offered the following positive values of having ethnic churches:

Ethnic churches are rooted in the doctrine of creation. In God’s image expressed God given    creativity, people have developed different cultures.

Ethnic churches are rooted in the doctrine of creation. In God’s image expressed God given creativity, people have developed different cultures.

Ethnic churches provide an avenue for people who treasure their own tradition. For the culture remains important in worship.

Ethnic churches enrich God’s world. Just as strong healthy families are the building blocks for strong healthy communities, so strong ethnic churches can be the building block for strong multicultural fellowships.

Ethnic churches are a good place to begin global mission work too. They can partner with international Christians who attend their church because many of them represent relatively unreached peoples.

CONCLUSION

This lesson shows missionaries pursing a God-given vision, operate with strategic intent. The vision captures them, they no longer dream about what could happen. Christians/Missionaries should make choices as if each day held abiding value. After the initial task of introducing some natives to Christ and starting a church, as Missionaries  including in their work and plan are  the considers of “Essential Missionary Task”, translating the Bible in the language of the people and the nature of the ethnic church. They are not driven by obligation. They live in the dignity and liberty of knowing that they give their utmost for God’s purpose. 

– Garfield Miller, Missionary Society (Jamaica)

 

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