Advancing Perspectives Globally
More than 50 curriculum developers representing over 25 countries converged at the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM) in Pasadena December 9-13, 2003 for a consultation called “Advancing Perspectives Globally.” Following closely on the heels of a preparatory gathering in Amsterdam in April 2003, this meeting brought together leaders who are translating, adapting or developing the Perspectives course in different languages and countries.
The consultation was designed to encourage and equip leaders who are using the Perspectives course, or materials based on the Perspectives course, to mobilize Christians for more strategic mission involvement. The Global Desk of the USCWM’s Institute of International Studies organized the conference to accomplish several goals:
- to equip course developers in a comprehensive process of organizing and serving sustained Perspectives education movements,
- to re-affirm the basic vision of the Perspectives course,
- to encourage the transculturation and adaptation of the Perspectives course in diverse forms and styles, especially outside North America, and
- to develop a relational network of Perspectives course developers and coordinators.
Exchanging Reports and Ideas
Most of the invited participants had been involved for some time in adapting the Perspectives course in a nation or language. Consultation organizers structured sessions to be highly interactive, encouraging participants to exchange reports of victories, difficulties, challenges and breakthroughs. Conversations brimmed with stories, ideas, cautions and prayers.
Affirming the Core of the Course
Steve Hawthorne, Bruce Graham, and Ralph Winter (by video) worked together to tell the story of how Perspectives has been steadily maturing from its beginning. The course has emerged as more a revelation of God’s purpose than a challenge to meet world needs. Instead of a special course for mission candidates alone, it has become a course to help any believer orient his or her life around God’s purpose. The course continues to develop in honest missiological inquiry and fidelity to the Scriptures. Sixteen core ideas have been identified, which should greatly help those seeking to adapt Perspectives in different cultural settings.
Forming a Perspectives Family
In order to help those initiating and organizing Perspectives courses and courses derived from the Perspectives course, the Global Desk announced a new entity: the Perspectives Family. This is a designation designed to provide encouragement and support for those who are developing or using specialized curricula inspired by the Perspectives course and, at the same time, to protect the integrity and identity of the Perspectives course. Consultation participants responded warmly to this inclusive designation. The Perspectives Family can refer to people using or developing Perspectives or approved curricula, or it can also refer to curricula reviewed by the Global Desk and approved as part of the Perspectives Family.
Releasing a Manual for Perspectives Developers
In addition, version 1.0 of the Perspectives Developer Manual was released at the December consultation. It contains further detail about the Perspectives Family, tools for curriculum developers, and a ten-point development process. This manual will be published as a PDF document, available to download at no cost by those who are registered on the Website as Perspectives Family members. Version 2.0 of the manual is planned for release in June 2004.
Equipping Developers in Workshops
The Pasadena consultation also featured interactive workshops, designed to help participants exchange expertise and insights in small groups. Each workshop included two 20-minute presentations interspersed with discussion and interaction. Workshops included: “Understand Your Audience” (Levi DeCarvalho and Dave Richards); “Develop Leadership/Education Team” (Sundee Simmons and Max Chismon); “Develop Service Structures and Partnerships” (Peter Rullman and Dave Sherbrooke); “Organize Publishing and Distribution” (Greg Parsons and Jonathan Lewis); “Develop Curricular Tools” (Levi DeCarvalho and Martha Shirkey); and “Evaluate” (Chul Ho Han and Harold Britton).
Focusing on Seven Crucial
Settings in Working Groups During two evening sessions participants were asked to “roll up their sleeves” in working sessions, lending their wisdom and ideas to some select efforts. Seven small groups were formed to focus on seven settings in which the Perspectives course is at a crucial juncture: Romania, Indonesia, United Kingdom, India, the Horn of Africa, among Chinese peoples, and among a people in North Africa.