New Year, New Resources
By Andrew Gale, Executive Director of Global Strategy
The staff at Global Strategy spends time learning and growing in the ways that we engage in global ministry. We often listen to podcasts together, read articles, or discuss chapters that we’ve read recently. Right now, we are working through the book A Just Mission by Mekdes Haddis. It is a challenging book discussing how missions has historically subverted the voice of those living outside the West. As an Ethiopian who studied in the United States, Haddis has seen global ministry from both sides. Her goal isn’t to convince people to stop engaging, but to think critically about the ways we engage. Here are just a few quotes that have stood out so far:
“The mission is not a Western Christian’s effort to prove to the world that they are good people who give out of their surplus. It’s a call to tell the world the good news of Jesus Christ, even if it costs our lives” (45).
“Diversity is the lifeline to a vibrant and unapologetic faith that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and is ever evolving” (55).
“We can never be the ones who introduce God to other people because God has already revealed himself to them” (84).
“Our mission trips need to incorporate opportunities for goers to sit under local pastors’ teachings and learn their theology” (89).
“I thought Americans came in masses to Africa because they had completely met the needs of those among them… Because those in the Western church haven’t learned to love their neighbors as themselves, they fail to see my people as their neighbors and equals” (120). (Haddis talks about going on a missions trip in the US and seeing poverty in the US for the first time.)
“A church that turns a blind eye to her neighbors but travels around the world to feed the “poor” is not only hypocritical but actively hurting the Great Commission…” (21).
We haven’t made it through the entire book, but there have been several reminders about the importance of the kind of work that we’re doing. Walking alongside the local church globally gives us an opportunity to sit under the leadership of people on the ground. It gives us an opportunity to see the good work that God is doing and join with it. We know that we aren’t bringing God to the people we encounter; God is already there and we get to partner with God and the local church community in sharing the good news of Jesus.
Haddis opens her book with this quote from J. Nozipo Maraire, a Zimbabwean author and neurosurgeon, “Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.” Stories matter. And not just the story, but who gets to tell the story matters. When Nate Tatman and I started A World of Good podcast, the goal was to sit down with national leaders, missionaries, and other cross-cultural workers and capture stories as we travel. But what we have found is that has given us the unique opportunity to hear people’s stories from their perspective. We try to ask open-ended questions so that they can share their experience unfiltered and together we can learn how God is at work within their life. If you haven’t yet, check out the recent series that looks at work across Asia. We hope you enjoy listening to what God is doing on the ground from the voices of those who serve and work in those communities.
And consider picking up a copy of A Just Mission by Mekdes Haddis.