Jamie the Very Worst Missionary has a knack for the brutally honest. Her recent post Deciphering Missions argues that a lack of accountability in missions results in some missionaries being able to sound spiritual while doing virtually nothing. In her experience,
Every innocuous coffee date with a friend [turned] into ‘discipleship time’. Hours spent circling Facebook were important to ‘support development’ and everyday interactions with grocery store clerks and bank tellers suddenly became meaningful when referred to as ‘intentional relationships’.
Now, this problem isn’t unique to missions — lots of vocational ministry is self-directed, with the potential to sound holy while slacking off. Nor is this a problem which is true of all missionaries or mission organisations (and Jamie’s writing into an American context where missions is something of an industry).
It’s a good thing to have greater transparency in missions and more involvement on the part of supporters. But what exactly is a missionary supposed to be held accountable to? Here are two complexities of missionary ‘work’ and some suggestions. Read more
Tamie and I work with CMS Australia, a network of people who care about crossing cultures with the message of Jesus. Worldwide, CMS is one of the oldest world mission groups — for other groups in the CMS family, check out NZCMS, CMS Ireland, CMS UK and Crosslinks.
CMS Australia recently launched a new vision for the coming years. Below are some of the highlights for me. I’m particularly excited by the ways in which the vision helps us to use more missiologically astute language.
What stands out to you? Let us know in the comments below. Read more
As our day of departure draws closer (less than 3 weeks to go!) this question – ‘What are you most looking forward to?’ – is becoming more frequent. It’s perhaps the most difficult question I get asked. Quiz me about risk and we can have a discussion; query what an average day will look like and I have some idea; wonder what brought us to this point and I’ve got plenty to say; but ask me what I’m most looking forward to and I’m stumped. Read more
We got officially ‘commissioned’ last night. We made some promises about going to Tanzania and God’s people laid hands on us and prayed for us.
Interview with Senior Minister of St Matt’s David Bassett
Here are some of the highlights: Read more
At a deputation event yesterday, a lovely and very supportive older woman asked me, ‘What does your husband do?’ At first I was confused. ‘We’re both going to Tanzania,’ I said. Then I worked out, she was asking because she’s assuming that Arthur’s the ‘missionary’ and I’m ‘the wife’.
That’s how ‘missions’ used to be — like, back in the 50s — they’d list the man as the missionary, and after his name there’d be a little ‘w’ (for ‘wife’) if he was married. These days, both partners are seen to have a significant role to play, regardless of who is the official visa holder. CMS talks about sending families.
Anyway, I said that we’d be working in student ministry together at a university. That’s reflected on our residency permits as well – Arthur and I both had to fill one in. (Although admittedly, I went on Arthur’s as ‘accompanying wife’ but there was no place for me to write about my ‘accompanying husband’ on mine!)
When I began this series in 2010, we were part way through the CMS Australia application process. Now we’re nearing the end of the final stage, the five-month intercultural training course.
For the past few years, however, we’ve been working on partnerships. One dimension of this is the online tools we’ve been using, from the most distant level of communication to the most intimate…
What does friendship feel like to you? How do you build rapport with other people? Read more