The State of Missions

The director of World Inquiry talks about the challenges and priorities of the evangelical missions community

A new evangelical initiative aims to discern the areas of priority as the missionary community looks toward the future. Director Luis Bush launched World Inquiry with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization 2004 and the School of World Mission of Fuller Theological Seminary. Results of the initiative will be released in Thailand next year.

Darrell L. Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary interviewed Bush in May at a preliminary Inquiry meeting in Seoul.

How has September 11 affected missions?

The impact of testimonies of missionaries in places like Afghanistan has created interest, awareness, and new commitment for serving God overseas in America. The renewed interest in activity in these countries has also increased the opportunities and the potential for misunderstanding and risk for missionaries in these highly sensitive fields.

[September 11] was an earthquake to nationals in several countries where persecution is intense and has become more intense.

What trends are currently challenging world evangelism?

Key trends include increasing globalization and urbanization. These needs are being met through a shift from nationwide initiatives to city-based initiatives. Seeing 18 city-based initiatives arise in India showed that this more localized approach did better than national efforts. What ministry in the cities [shows] is that holistic approaches driven by nationals are more effective in communicating the whole gospel.

There are also the ongoing issues of injustice and the rise of a more violent religious fundamentalism. Some of the greatest lessons for Christians worldwide today are coming for the lives and service of Christians ministering in the face of either persecution or such daily suffering.

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