Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sharing the Vision -- Emerging Missions Network

Welcome to this blog on emerging missions.

Anyone who understands globalization will know that there are several powerful forces which draw people beyond their own ethnic boundaries and social classes. One is economic, the other is entertainment and a third is religious affiliation. A common faith and a shared vision of the future are powerful forces drawing people of all various ethnicity and background together.

I will never forget walking into a large hall in Amsterdam in 1985 where 10,000 evangelists had been invited to a consultation on evangelism by Billy Graham. At the time, I was working in Northern Ghana as a Canadian missionary traveling from village to village sharing the Gospel. But in that consultation, I saw 10,000 missionaries just like me. What shocked me then was the color of those assembled. They were all shades of brown -- from near black Sudanese to bond haired, blue eyed whites. At that moment, I understood that the missionary enterprise was for all nations without regard to ethnic background, social status or even financial disparity.

Almost 20 years later I was back in Amsterdam at a similar meeting sponsored by the same organization. I happened to be in a seminar being conducted by Bruce Wilkerson when he commented that as we advance in years we ought of focus our attention on the one thing that God has called us to do. I pondered my position in my mission (I was Deputy to the International Director) and prayed. "Lord if you can get me out of this administrative post, I would love to serve the nations of the world by preparing a highway for all nations to be involved in world mission. Several years later, that prayer was answered as SIM released me to become their "champion for emerging mission."

I am most humbled to be chosen for this task. There are many who could do a better job and have wider experience, but this one thing I do have -- and that is a passion to see all nations involved in world missions.

As a result my wife and I left the USA and moved to Nairobi, Kenya from where I travel and promote emerging missions (my wife Directs the work of SIM into Sudan). I find that Kenya provides a central location for communication where the need is greatest. The Latins have missions figured out and so do those in the Far East. The potential for development is in Africa and South Asia. In 1996 my wife and I were involved in taking 10 Ethiopians to India and working with them there for three months. This program resulted in Ethiopia starting to send its missionaries to India, Pakistan and Sudan. It was there we understood the potential of Africa and South Asia.

My vision is fueled by the prophesies of Isaiah concerning John the Baptist. It was foretold that when he came, he would cry, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low. Let the rough ground become a plain and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Is. 40:3-6).

My calling, as I see it now, is to apply this approach to the emerging mission enterprise. In an African context, when a new highway is built, the first one to go down the highway is the King. After that, everyone can follow. There are plenty of "mountains, valleys, crooked places and hills in the way of emerging missionaries, but they can all be overcome. As this happens, the glory of the Lord will be revealed.

This blog then, is dedicated to the idea of emerging missions. I claim no propriety over the issue. It is open for all to comment and do what they can to further the cause. But I would like to publish my own thoughts, efforts and observations along the way. Readers are welcome to comment and/or subscribe to a little paper we put out called "EMNET" which stands for Emerging Missions Network. Subscriptions at Emerg.Miss.Net@gmail.com.

If you know of people who would like to become advocates for emerging missions -- or if you know of others involved in such a network, please respond to this blog. Any information will be much appreciated.

Preparing a highway for all nations to be involved in world missions.

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