This is an article from the July-August 2003 issue: Have Missions Really Made a Difference?

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Dear Mission Frontiers,

I’ve just finished reading your May-June issue. Thank you for your strong affirmation of the need for mission agencies to take a fresh initative in the task of World Evangelization. As U.S. Director for SIM, I am very interested in being part of the on-going process. Let me mention a couple of con­cerns for your consideration as the process moves forward:

  1. As you well know, an increas­ing number of local churches and fellowships of churches in North America are choosing to conduct missions programs apart from any partnership with agencies. One of the major needs of missions from North America today is increased cooperation between church and mission. The organization of any such gather of agencies must be careful to avoid further polarization between church and agency and enhance their cooperation. How do we do this if we don’t include these churches in any gatherings that take place?
  2. The emergence of mission from the Majority World in the past 3-4 decades is, perhaps, the most excit­ing and far-reaching event in recent mission history. Any gathering of mission agencies should be largely a gathering of missionary sending forces from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, NOT just a joint IFMA/ EFMA/ISFM/ACMC meeting of North Americans who are involved in missions. Perhaps even more to the point, the LEADERSHIP and ORGANIZATIONAL PLANNING of any such gathering should be led by missions leaders from the Majority World, not by missions leaders from North America. Do they feel the need for such a gathering? What do they feel the agenda of such a meeting-should be?

Please put me on any mailing list or information list being assembled. I am very interested in the on-going planning and implementation of any gathering of mission agencies as proposed in Mission Frontiers.

Steve Strauss, Director SIM USA

Response to Steve Strauss

Virtually all responses so far are from the third world. The network will not be sponsoring house parties where invita­tion only reigns, but will be open to any qualified agency from wherever, as in 1980, which was a smashing success. Judging by that meeting the IFMA/ EFMA people will be the last to feel the need to attend. I wouldn’t mind if all of the people who come to send out the Call and even those who meet to implement it were third world-ers. No one will be “invited.” All are freely able to come. Those who do will formulate it. I myself will probably be unable to attend, due to advancing cancer.

I agree that this sensitivity must be addressed. It explains in part the simple fact that global gatherings of explicitly mission agencies are so infrequent.

For example, gatherings at which there is a significant presence of local church  leaders usually end up empha­sizing something less important than agencies could be discussing. Local churches simply aren’t in a good position to supervise field missionaries. However, if agencies want to gather together to see how they can best help local churches “send” their missionaries, this may help.

Ralph Winter


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