Global Analysis

July 2023 Issue Overview

Loun Ling Lee Jun 2023

We live in a world of conflict. In many conflicts today, ethnic or religious rivalries as well as territorial or political interests are used to justify aggression and violence, causing much pain and suffering to innocent victims. The first two articles emphasize the need for theological and practical responses to war and conflict, as the gospel can bring hope and peace to the most difficult situations.

In ‘Living the Gospel in Conflict Zones: God at work in eastern Congo’, Eraston K. Kighoma and CJ Davison analyse some of the ‘valuable insights about the contextualization of mission by local churches and their leaders during the recent wars in that region.’ When the expatriate mission personnel left as a result of the war, the Congolese Christians saw this as an opportunity given by God to be sent out as ‘missionaries for cross-cultural ministry both within and beyond their borders.’ This would involve ‘contextual discipleship that addresses growth, hope, and social concerns, including poverty and peaceful coexistence.’ The authors have witnessed the work of God in the midst of war—how lives were impacted by the forgiveness of his people who choose to ‘reconcile with those who persecute them by bringing shalom back into their broken world.’

The tragic war and humanitarian disaster in Ukraine ‘became a moment of empowerment for the Baptist community—a post-COVID, resurrected moment—breathing new life into the churches in the countries surrounding Ukraine,’ writes Alan Donaldson in ‘Reflections on the Baptist Response to the War in Ukraine: An empowering, democratizing, and integral moment’. As Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Baptist churches opened their doors and welcomed refugees, providing them with food, shelter, and other basic necessities. In providing physical care, spiritual care was also offered with ‘gentleness and respect.’ The crisis led to a democratisation of the church, as all members came together to support those in need. The author reflects on how this crisis reveals the changing nature of European Baptist mission and ecclesiology—the changing ‘role of church pastors within the community, especially beyond the people who form the church,’ and the increasing ‘interdependence of local Baptist churches’ across the world.

The role of all God’s people in bringing racial justice is exemplified in ‘Racial Justice in Mexico and Latin America: Challenges and opportunities for mission’ by Dinorah B. Méndez. The author argues that racism is present in various areas of life in Mexico and Latin America and is often practiced consciously or unconsciously. Two examples are highlighted: the structural oppression of indigenous people and the discrimination against migrants of color. The author notes that the church’s impact on the issue of racism is mixed, but churches in Ciudad Juárez have collaborated with civil society and the community to provide relief to migrants. In conclusion, she recommends that we include ‘a perspective of justice in the mission of our church’ and have ‘a well-planned strategy’ which will ‘expose the unjust social systems that facilitate injustices in the society as well as in our churches.’ 

‘The mission of God is holistic; it embraces both spiritual and physical needs.’ This conviction is illustrated in Sam Cho’s article, ‘A Holistic Vision of Mission in Changing Times: The Life As Mission movement in Korea’. Facing the challenges from the decline of Christianity and mission in Korea, Mission Korea, a mission mobilization effort for youth, launched a research project to uncover the future of mission. The research team developed a survey that included activities beyond evangelism and church planting, which in the past had been the focus of Korean mission. The team suggested three implications for the future trends of mission for the Korean church: ‘mission by all,’ ‘mission in the public square,’ and ‘integral mission.’ The God of mission restores the world ‘in and through a person’s life.’ 

We hope the articles in this issue have provided a glimpse into the changing nature of mission work and the role of the church. As the nature of mission work and the challenges facing the church change, it is crucial to remain adaptable and innovative in finding new ways to serve others and spread the message of God’s love for the world.

Lausanne Global Analysis is also available in PortugueseSpanishFrench, and Korean. Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue will be released in September 2023.

Author's Bio

Loun Ling Lee

Loun Ling Lee is the editor of Lausanne Global Analysis. She teaches ‘Missional Reading of the Bible’ and ‘Engaging with the World’s Religions’ in Malaysia and the UK. Formerly a lecturer in mission at Redcliffe College, UK, training director of AsiaCMS based in Malaysia, mission mobiliser with OMF, and pastor at Grace Singapore Chinese Church, she serves on the board of OMF UK.