Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Missions – Near or far

Related to my previous post, the question I want to raise is when is mission mission? Near or far? Near AND far? David Bosch (whom I had the honour of knowing personally) opened my eyes to realise that distance is not the question. You can be busy with mission in your own home (depending on what you define as mission – perhaps that is something we can discuss in the future) and you can also be busy with mission 5000 miles from your home.

Usually when I speak to groups about mission, I advise people to be involved in both places: near and far. In other words, find a place close to home where you can throw in your weight and become actively involved in. But then also find a place far from home which you support financially, from which you receive regular feed-backs, to whom you write short messages of encouragement, which you regularly pray for and which you perhaps will only be able to visit once or twice in your life (here we come back to the issue of short-term outreaches), depending how far this place is from you. We have some people involved in our work in Swaziland who have chosen to support us and who have made a commitment to visit us once every three months. We’re about 100 miles from where they are, which makes it feasible. But the same people are also involved in their own town. And this brings balance in their missionary involvement.

For myself: Since 2001 I’ve become involved in a missionary project in Russia in the city of Samara. I visit a Bible School in Samara once a year where I help with the training of local Christians who will then become “church-planters”. There is a great need in this country for more local people to become involved in the church. I have chosen this as my “far” project – spend two weeks a year in Russia and then come back afterwards and continue with my work in Swaziland, obviously keeping contact with the people in Russia as I mentioned above.

What are your feelings about near and far missions?

The reason why I wrote about this today is mainly because I am off to Russia tomorrow (Saturday). I will arrive in Samara late on Sunday evening and then start at the Bible School on Monday. If everything goes according to plan, I will be able to write while I am there, although obviuously not before Monday. But in the meantime I look forward to hear how you feel about this topic.

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Friday, April 13, 2007 - Posted by | Mission, Short-term outreaches

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