fpimage.jpg (14684 bytes) topnewarc.jpg (18624 bytes)


December 1988


Editorial Comment

Let's Not Stumble over Words Now!

Bridging the Gaps

Anticipating Tomorrow's Headlines

Project 2000- Partnerships That Help Emerging Third World Missions Penetrate Unreached Peoples

Project 2000- One Way to Help Plant a Church

Regional Centers' Meeting Encourages Mobilizers

Caring Hands Needed at Extended Family Co-op

A.D. 2000 What's Different About That?

"Oh God, Make Satan Pay for This One...

Churches Spearhead Programs for Missionary Preperation

"Closure and Christ's Second Coming

How Cockroaches Help Missionaries...

bar1.gif (57 bytes)


Anticipating Tomorrow’s Headlines

An Interview with Darrell Dorr, Coordinator for the Global Network of Centers

Mission Frontiers: Most of our readers are familiar with the U.S. Center for World Mission, since Mission Frontiers is the Center’s official bulletin. But now, suddenly, we are being told there are possibly 40 centers for world mission around the world. What does that mean? Are there 40 mini-USCWMs around the world?

Darrell Dorr: Absolutely not. Each of the 40 centers has its own form and set of functions, although there is significant overlap in functions from center to center. Magnus Sorhus of the Kansai Mission Research Center in Kobe, Japan, was correct when he pointed out that none of the centers—including the U.S. Center for World Mission—can possibly expect to do what everyone else is doing.

The Kansai Center focuses on research. The Brisbane Centre is strong in mission mobilization—especially mobilizing young adults. Each center has its own focus, its own audience, its own strengths. At the Singapore meeting, we came to appreciate our diversity all the more.

MF: There was another recent meeting, a meeting of regional centers for world mission in the U.S. Bruce Graham, associate director for Regional Centers at the USCWM, commented that the U.S. Center wants at least “some part of every regional center to be under the supervision of the USCWM.”

Are these international centers for world mission in some way also under the leadership or direction of the U.S. Center?

DD: I’m glad you asked that. I’m grateful for the work Bruce Graham and Wes Tullis have done to serve those regional centers who look to us for leadership and who want to be legally and financially affiliated with us. But the centers I’ve been responsible to serve are those which are autonomous from us and which are our peers.

Most of these centers are in other countries, but some, like us, are based in the U.S. It’s important to recognize that the U.S. Center for World Mission is not out to create some empire of branch offices around the world!

MF: Apart from their relationship to the USCWM, are there any other distinctions between the two types of centers?

DD: There’s overlap in function, but the international and national centers tend to do more mission research—especially primary research—while the (US) regional centers are top-heavy in mobilization. Both do training, including offering the introductory Perspectives course, but the international and national centers are more likely to also conduct training for missionary candidates headed for the field.

MF: You suggested at the Singapore meeting that centers for world mission take up Ralph Winter’s challenge that they, among others, “take orders” from international consensus groups in determining their agendas. Will this really happen?

DD: It already has. My exhortation in Singapore was simply for the brethren to “excel still more” (to use Pauline language!). For example, the Singapore Centre is spearheading the WEF Missions Commission’s survey of research centers. The East-West Center has buttressed the Asia Missions Association and Third World Missions Advance. For years MARC has provided much of the operational backbone for the Lausanne Committee, and we at the U.S. Center have tried to do what we can to rally behind the January 1989 Global AD 2000 consultation.

MF: Okay. So there are these 40 centers and some of them got together in Singapore. Why should Joseph and Josephine Average Christian care?

DD: For two major reasons, I think.

First, the development of a network of centers is one more piece of evidence that all the recent talk about a “global evangelization movement” is for real. Centers for world mission are themselves signs of such a movement, and they are key implementing agents to translate the rhetoric of a movement into reality.

Second, participation in both global and regional networks of centers helps us at the USCWM to serve the publics the Lord has entrusted to us, including Mission Frontiers readers. Our research will be sharper, our tools will be better, our training will have more depth. These networks extend our reach and put more resources at our disposal.

MF: Those are pretty big claims!

DD: But they’re also realistic. We now have relationships with other centers who can market-test some of our materials and ideas. Even while we were in Singapore we received a strong dose of reality therapy. For example, we were confronted with inconsistencies in our literature distribution policies, and so we got the extra "push” we needed to come out with some written proposals for improvements.

But there are other benefits we can expect from these strengthened relationships. Those of us who were present in Singapore now have a greater degree of trust in one another than we did before the meeting, a trust, for example, that will foster the sharing of sensitive research data within prescribed limits.

Another strategic benefit: CentreCon revealed the potential for centers for world mission to establish the permanent national research functions that are indispensable to Global Mapping’s many aspirations. Centers can either become these permanent national research functions or can serve as advocates for the establishment of such functions.

MF: And now you’ve established an association of centers. What’s the significance of that?

DD: For a center to say that it’s part of a network gives greater credibility, especially to some of the newer and smaller centers, but we’re not getting into the formal endorsement or accreditation business. I think “association” conveys too much of the feel of an organization, while “network” better describes the informal nature of our interaction at this point.

We discussed the possibility of recruiting staff for one another: the average church or Christian is frequently more eager to support “overseas” missionaries than missionaries working in their own country. Even though the “homeside” center staffer is making a strategic contribution to world evangelization, that contribution is so broad and subtle that it’s often virtually invisible to people in the pews . . . so let’s send some workers to a center in Seoul or Brisbane or Oslo, and maybe they’ll send some staff our way!

We may be able to negotiate some reciprocal training agreements. We could help set up the long-discussed worldwide “Adopt-a-People” clearinghouse that links congregations and mission agencies and ensures that no known unreached people group is overlooked. We may be able to exchange late-breaking mission news via electronic mail, cassettes, or video: exciting news that currently goes unreported.

And here’s one more strongly felt need: one center may soon assume the responsibility for low-cost NTSC-to-PAL video conversion (conversion between the North American standard and the standard used in much of the rest of the world) on behalf of other centers. That way everyone can share quality videos with everyone else.

MF: So CentreCon was worth it?

DD: Sure. Meetings and networks aren’t exciting in themselves, but they often house tomorrow’s headlines. Centers for world mission are vital parts of the infrastructure for world evangelization. My hope and prayer is simply that the rest of the Church will develop a growing appreciation for these instruments of innovation and implementation.

A directory of centers for world mission, produced immediately before the 1988 CentreCon huddle, includes  the following list of existing or prospective centers. A few centers are not listed here because of political sensitivities in their countries. Further investigation may reveal (a) the existence of additional centers unknown to the conveners of CentreCon and (b) that some listed organizations are not actually  centers for world mission according to their own or others' assessment.

Africa Centre for World Mission (Walkerville, South Africa)
African Center for World Mission (envisioned for West Africa)
Andrew Murray Centre for Prayers, Revival, and Missions (Wellington, S. Africa)

Daystar Research Unit (Nairobi, Kenya)
Searchlight Project (Jos, Nigeria)

Asian Center for Missionary Education (Manila, Philippines)
BCV Centre for World Mission (Melbourne, Australia)
Brisbane  Centre for World Mission (Brisbane, Australia)
Chinese Church Research Centre (Sha Tin, Hong Kong)
Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (Kowloon, HK)
East-West Center for Frontier Mission Research  and Development (Seoul, Korea)
Hong Kong Center for Frontier Missions (Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Kansai Mission Research Center (Kobe, Japan)
New Zealand Centre for Mission Direction (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions (Singapore)
Sydney Missions Resource Centre (being developed, Sydney, Australia)

FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM (Stuttgart, West Germany)
German Center for World Mission (Bonn, West Germany)
Norwegian Center for World Mission (Oslo, Norway)
Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (Oxford, England)
Scottish Centre for World Mission (Glasgow, Scotland)
WEC International Research Office (London, England)

Latin America
Brazilian Center of Missionary Information (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
IMDELA (San Jose, Costa Rica)
Misiones Mundiales (Santa Fe, Argentina)
Nat'l. Ev. Commission on W. Missions (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
PUENTE (Quito, Ecuador)

North America
Alberta Centre for World Mission (Edmonton, Alberta)
Billy Graham Center (Wheaton, Illinois)
Canadian Centre for World Mission (Toronto, Ontario)
Emerging Missions Research Center (Milpitas, California)
Issachar (Seattle, Washington)
Midwest Center for World Missions (Oak Park, Illinois)
Missions Advanced Research & Communications Ctr. (Monrovia, CA)
Northwest Centre for World Mission (Vancouver, BC)
Overseas Ministries Study Center (New Haven, Connecticut)
U.S. Center for World Mission (Pasadena, California)
World Evangelization Research Center (Richmond, Virginia)

bar.JPG (1889 bytes)


bar2.JPG (1819 bytes)