Missions – The Current Situation in America

This is the second part of a seminar given at the Mission to the World (MTW) West Coast Missions Conference 2015 in San Diego, California. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of the series.

Current Situation

Since we are already fifteen years into the 21st century, we need to look critically at our world and ask how we ought to respond as the church. Internally, we need to realize how missions terminology has affected us. We have tended to make a distinction between those who go and those who send. It has created a divide so that those who send do not view themselves as active participants, which is very unfortunate.

We typically make distinctions between those who are sent and those who send, but one of the unintended consequences of this approach is that those who are the senders see their role as praying, giving, and visiting. They too are called to take the fullness of the gospel, and the hope of Jesus Christ, into all areas of life including their neighborhoods, schools, and work places. This command is not just those who go abroad or those who serve the foreign-born community in the US. It is a call for all.

An interesting emphasis that we have placed in our English translation of the Great Commission found in Matthew is the emphasis on “go” as an imperative. It is better translated “having gone,” “as you go,” or “as you are going” as a participle in the command. We are all called to this because it is “as we are going.” There is absolutely a call for people to respond and take the gospel to the world, but it is vital that we all see that the command is for everyone wherever God has placed us.

Another emphasis of the missions enterprise in the past century that has significantly impacted the way we view missions is the difference between world/home and global/local. But the movement of people worldwide will significantly impact how we think about missions. The 21st century is already being labeled as the century of migration. People are on the move like never before in the history of the world.

A few facts:

  • 5 million people move into cities every month – with over 3% of the world living outside of their country of birth.
  • Over 50% of the world lives in cities today with that number moving to 75% by mid-century.
  • 5% of the population in the United States is immigrant.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, the United States gained 8 million international migrants.
  • Our Asian and Latino population will double in the next thirty years.
  • The United States also has close to 900,000 international students with 28.7% of them Chinese. Since 2007, Chinese students have increased by 16.5% annually.

As a result of various forms of migration to the United States, we now have an estimated 361 Unreached People Groups represented in our borders – behind only India and China for the most worldwide. This is an astounding number – the world is coming to us as we are going to the world.

J.D. Payne wonderfully states, “God is the divine maestro, orchestrating the movement of people.” Acts 17:26 states that God has “determined allotted periods and boundaries of their [all people] dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” We need to be asking how the movement of people affects our missions thinking and strategy. The question the Good Samaritan famously asked of “Who is my neighbor?” changes with globalization and migration. We need to welcome the stranger among us.

Danny Carroll often points to how migration has been at the center of the human and biblical experience. Abraham was the first immigrant and he lied upon entry to his new land. Joseph assimilated into Egypt. Ruth is not welcome in her new land and is remembered by her accent and her labor. Daniel and his friends are taken into exile and forced to serve the country that destroyed their homeland.


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If God loves the stranger and wants us to welcome the stranger, we need to enter into their stories. We need to lend a listening ear, a helping hand, and a safe place. Global migration offers us a unique opportunity to involve the entire church in missions – by encouraging relational ministry and outreach to the global community among us. We have a global-local opportunity that will significantly increase in the coming decades as the United States is on pace to become a majority-minority country by the year 2040.

So how do we do this? We must return to the basics.

 

Jeff Kyle first went to China in the summer of 2004 and has been working with the China Partnership since graduating from Covenant College in 2006. He is passionate about US churches developing a global-local missions strategy. Jeff and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, live in New York City.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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