Sunday, October 19, 2008

Inter-Generational IS Cross-Cultural

While teaching missions in APTS, I have been developing a model for missions that includes more than just the traditional "horizontal" and "synchronic" understanding. We often think of missions in terms of how "far" and "wide" we can spread the Gospel. We also talk about being responsible for reaching only our generation. That limits our vision of missions in spatial terms. What about the "vertical" side of missions? How about thinking of missions beyond the "foreign" and "home" missions categories? Can we not talk about missions in "diachronic," "inter-generational" terms?

I think we must give serious thought to reaching the next generation for the Lord. Youth ministry should not be merely a department in the church to be handled by a younger minister. It should be a crucial missionary enterprise for the church. In fact, every parent in church should be taught to think of himself/herself as a missionary, reaching into an unfamiliar culture (which is what youth culture is to many of us!!). Just as a missionary needs to be trained to contextualize for the target culture, we all need to contextualize to reach the next generation - raising godly off-springs for the Lord.

Monday, October 13, 2008

China, Theological Education & Missions

Watching the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, I cannot help but think about China as a world superpower. I kept suggesting to people that they should think about moving to China - not so much because of the immense wealth that will keep building up over the next few decades there but more because of the potential China has in terms of

For years, we have been treating China only as a mission field where we send laborers TO. The time has come for us to think of China as a place where we can send laborers FROM. To truly make the transition from being a missions receiving nation to a missions sending nation, the Chinese church needs to have a new missions mindset. This new missions mindset needs to be supported by a corresponding education infrastructure as well. In the past, the “training centers” in China were developing workers to evangelise mainland China but they now need to
develop missionaries that can function effectively in cross-cultural settings. To do that, they will need the partnership of the Church outside China.

We want to be bridge-builders to help establish the networking for this new infrastructure to take place. Our roles as Malaysian Chinese missionaries to APTS will be very helpful for that. Being our partner, you are also partnering with the Chinese Church.