Global Analysis

March 2022 Issue Overview

Loun Ling Lee Mar 2022

Mission organisations and churches, aiming to be good stewards of their limited resources, regularly review their plans. What and how should they prioritise in their annual budgets? Programmes or people; quantity or quality; strategy or creativity with sensitivity? Could these be kept in healthy tension within a balanced approach?

In ‘The Projectisation of Missions: Enlightenment thinking or biblical model?’, Kirst Rievan addresses the tension between project principles and faith principles, as ‘in recent decades, the mission movement has seen a trend towards “projectisation”.’ Some of the forces which have fuelled this drive are: active engagement of donors, ambitious mission goals, and professionalisation of organisations. Considering both the advantages and disadvantages of a project-centred approach to mission, he looks at ‘how the opportunities can be capitalised on and the pitfalls mitigated’. One example of mitigation is to have national representatives in the international project partnership which becomes ‘more culturally sensitive and less neocolonial’.

A balanced approach to mission would involve careful research to understand the people we are reaching and their situation, with ‘an attitude of relational openness’. Such was the approach adopted by Victor John and others in the church planting movement, explained in ‘Multiplying Disciples in the “Graveyard of Missions”: The Bhojpuri pattern for church planting among the unreached’. In the article, Victor John with Dave Cole map out their ground-breaking journey from the beginning and analyse the key factors that have resulted in sustainable fruitful work—from building sensitive relationships with the locals to the discipleship of local believers, to finding local ownership, and ultimately equipping and entrusting the work to local leadership. The authors’ prayer is that such movements of ‘multiplying generations of worshiping communities’ would touch all the people of the world.

Hospitality is first and foremost a ministry to people, especially foreigners such as refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants among us. It is not just a programme of a certain department in a local church. This is the conviction of Nestor Abdon as he seeks to highlight the settlement services model of The Peoples Church in Canada in ‘Becoming “Christ’s Cell” for Migrants: A model for diaspora hospitality ministry from The Peoples Church of Toronto’. Both compassion and practical assistance from God’s people go hand-in-hand in demonstrating God’s love and presence among ‘people experiencing the loss of the familiar’. The uniqueness of this model is the collaboration between faith communities and government-funded settlement organizations ‘where settlement organizations provided employment counseling, housing referrals, and other settlement services within the church facility’ and where Christian professionals offered their voluntary services in various capacities such as ‘ESL teachers, Bible study facilitators, employment mentors, mental health counselors, and event facilitators’.

If there is one positive thing that has come out of the pandemic over the past two years, it is that we value people and relationships much more than before. Many have mourned the loss of loved ones during this time. The question which has surfaced prominently in the minds of East Asian Christians is: What has happened to those who passed on from this world without hearing the gospel or who have not articulated their belief in Christ? Are they really in hell suffering from the fire of eternal damnation? Will they be given a second chance to know Christ? And should those who are considering faith in Christ become Christians while their parents have passed on without the opportunity to hear the gospel— would this imply that they have deserted their parents in hell and thus have become unfilial? In ‘The Dilemma of Personal Salvation in Collective Cultures: Engaging filial piety from a missional standpoint’, I’Ching Thomas helps us to understand this painful struggle from cultural and theological perspectives. One way to resolve this dilemma is to draw our assurance from the character of God and the ‘positive posture towards ancestors’ in Scripture. We should focus on our call ‘to be obedient and faithful in witnessing to the good news of Jesus’, she writes.

We hope this issue has stimulated and equipped us as the global church to make better decisions about the stewardship of all that God has entrusted to our care, including the people around us.

At the time of writing, Ukrainians have been suffering from the tragedies of war. Many have fled as refugees to neighbouring countries. We pray for Ukrainian Christians struggling to live as followers and disciples of Jesus in such moments of conflict and pain. May Christians around the world respond with the compassion of Christ and practical assistance, especially towards those within our shores.

Lausanne Global Analysis is also available in PortugueseSpanish, and French. We are pleased to announce that, we have translated three articles into Korean: ‘선교의 프로젝트화’ (‘The Projectisation of Missions: Enlightenment thinking or biblical model?’), ‘선교의 무덤’에서 제자 배가하기’ (‘Multiplying Disciples in the “Graveyard of Missions”’), and ‘이주민을 위한 ‘그리스도의 방’ 되기’ (‘Becoming “Christ’s Cell” for Migrants’). Please send any questions and comments about this issue to [email protected]. The next issue will be released in May 2022.

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.