Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Global Mission Mobilization Efforts

WEA Releases Landmark Study

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) recently published an extensive, international study of mission mobilization efforts which includes some findings that may pique your interest.

1. What Is Missions?

Missions paradigms are in a state of flux. Those surveyed had no common understanding of what is and isn’t “missions,” but held a variety of views on casting the net wide to include social action as well as evangelism, local ministry (cross-cultural or not) along with international work, and short-term as well as long-term efforts.

2. How Do We Mobilize?

Mission mobilization approaches also vary. Some models focus on education and information, while others emphasize mentoring and relationship building, specific programs and processes, or simple pragmatism. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses and most efforts blend more than one approach.

3. What Fans the Flames or Douses Them?

Researchers identified a number of “accelerants” to world mission involvement. These include the example, encouragement, and support of family members, and, though to lesser extent, missionaries and church leaders. Biographies, conferences, and classes all may play a role. The bottom line, though, on why people become missionaries? It’s their sense that God has called them to it. (We reported similar findings from other research in a previous Propel article, Mobilization through Mentoring: How Relationships Are Our Most Powerful Tools).

Researchers also identified “retardants” or obstacles to world mission involvement. These include funding and fundraising challenges (especially for non-Western would-be missionaries), cumbersome mission structures and requirements, and tendencies in our larger cultures toward secularism, individualism, and materialism. The authors also point out that rather than blame individuals, organizations, or circumstances, we should acknowledge we are in a spiritual battle against forces that seek to undermine the extension of God’s influence in the world.

» Want to learn more? Read Mission in Motion: Speaking Frankly of Mobilization, edited by Jay Matenga and Malcolm Gold. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2016.

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