Missions for a post 9/11 world
ACH: What makes Introduction to Global Missions different from other introductions?
MDS: The world is changing with increasing velocity, and global dynamics such as globalization, urbanization and diaspora migration patterns are forcing constant re-evaluation of how ministry is done. Ministers in the USA and around the world must be knowledgeable about other people groups, world religions, worldviews and assimilation levels to serve their communities and churches effectively.
Introduction to Global Missions is a textbook designed to teach students in colleges and seminaries. It serves as a broad compendium that addresses global missions issues for biblically faithful ministry in today’s world. With such rapid changes in our world, textbooks that were written just 15 to 20 years ago fail to prepare students and ministers for ministry in a post-9/11 world.
JW: What sets it apart is that it reflects the teaching of a significant number of our missions faculty and decades of combined experience. It is designed to help everyone from missions volunteers to local church pastors to future and current missionaries think about how to do missions well.
ACH: In your book, you devote a full section to historical foundations. Why?
MDS: Good stewardship of all God gives us includes the wise use of the church’s experiences throughout the expansion of Christianity. Standing on the shoulders of those who went before us allows us to see farther down the road than they could. When we learn how the church dealt with heresies, threats and opportunities in the past, we are able to incorporate those lessons in addressing challenges facing the contemporary church.
JW: The history of the church is the history of missions. Good missiology and missionary practice is built on the Scriptures, but it is informed by history. For example, we can see throughout history examples of good contextualization and bad contextualization. As we think about how to plant churches in various cultures, we want to avoid those past mistakes. Most of all (and this is personally the case), history inspires me. When I read about Carey or Judson or Bill Wallace or Jim Elliot, God uses their stories to fuel my own calling.
ACH: How do you hope to affect or influence readers?
Related: Alumni Academy Class on Introduction to Global Missions (Free for Alumni and Prospective Students)
MDS: I pray that every reader of this book will not finish it in the place where he or she started. I pray that each reader will grow theologically, missiologically and evangelistically. I pray that each reader will be more committed to missions, read the Bible through a missiological lens and understand whether God has called him or her to international missions service. And I pray that reading this book will move readers right around the world as God uses it to stir hearts and mobilize his church.
JW: There’s a lot of poor teaching out there on various aspects of missions — leadership, calling, contextualization, etc. My prayer is that God will use this book to help sending churches, agencies and missionaries fulfill their calling well and that the nations will be impacted.
M. David Sills is A.P. and Faye Stone Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology and Director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Intercultural Programs at Southern Seminary.
Jeff Walters is assistant professor of Christian missions and urban ministry at Southern Seminary. Before teaching at the seminary, he was a church planter in Paris, France.
This article originally appeared in the summer 2014 issue of Southern Seminary Magazine.