(Second of two parts; click here to read part 1)
"I find that what God is doing today is moving people outside their cultural comfort zones to peoples and language groups different from their own, and that is happening from everywhere to everywhere," says Edwina Thomas, national director for the U.S. branch of SOMA, Sharing of Ministries Abroad, an Anglican mission facilitating group.
"From everywhere" includes missionaries from the Third World coming to the West. According to David Barrett, there are about 16,000 non-Americans working in the United States as missionaries.
Thomas, who helped organize Stephen Kasamba's ministry trip from Uganda last fall, says numerous American churches were blessed as a result. "It was an incredible success because our people are so very thirsty and hungry to see people who are unashamedly, unabashedly speaking out for Jesus," she says. "We in America need the fire and the passion for the gospel that some of our brothers and sisters in the Third World have."
According to many analysts, such shifting paradigms will force Western agencies to examine their roles in missions and evangelism. "We need to realize that the great actors of mission in the past were people sent from nations in Europe and North America," says Samuel Escobar, professor of missions at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, "but in the next century, the great actors of missions will not be them. They will be the partners of them."
Escobar and others say new global partnerships need to go beyond the old models. "We have to ask the question 'In what way can Western Christians add value to a world where most of the evangelicals are living in former mission fields?' " says MARC's Myers. He believes God expects Christians ...1