Going Global: A Congregation's Introduction to Mission Beyond Our Borders Paperback – Apr 1 2011
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Gordon W. King is the director of The Sharing Way, the relief and development department of Canadian Baptist Ministries. He served in the past as director of corporate and major donor development, World Vision Canada, and as principal of the Baptist Seminary in Cochabamba Bolivia. He has thirty years of global ministry and program experience. Gary Nelson currently serves as the president of Tyndale University College and Seminary. Prior to working at Tyndale, he served as the general secretary of the Canadian Baptist Ministries and CEO of the national and global work of Canadian Baptists for ten years. Terry G. Smith is director of partnerships and initiatives for Canadian Baptist Ministries and served in the past as principal of the European Bible Institute in France. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, teaching in the areas of global Christianity and culture. Terry has twenty-five years of global ministry experience in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The authors do a masterful job of recasting global mission for the North American church. As the world becomes flat and spikey (see Chapter 2) there arises the need for the church to rethink its posture in global engagement. From a position of power to one of humility, learning, and collaboration is needed. With the rise of the church in the Global South the church of the West (Europe and North America) are no longer the epicenter of the global church. It is time to separate ourselves from our current political culture of power in that regards as we move beyond our borders and embody the good news.
There were several chapters for me that jumped out and hit home. First of all, "The World is Flat and Spikey" (Chapter 2) did a thoughtful job of synthesizing Thomas Friedman's flat-world motif (The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century) with Richard Florida's spikey-world (Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life). Indeed the world is both as globalization connects the global village, but does not do so equally. The other chapter that I thoroughly enjoyed was "Letting the Parables Set the Rhythms" (Chapter 5). Revisiting several familiar parables (i.e the sower, the good Samaritan, etc.) the authors shed more light on them in regards to what it means to engage in mission beyond our borders. I found that chapter helpful and insightful.
With not knowing too much about the book before setting off on this journey in many ways made the book more powerful. I didn't approach it with certain expectations so I simply let the authors carry me on a journey. It was a fascinating book that hit home on many fronts and is especially applicable in the urban context I find myself in. I was thoroughly challenged, encouraged, and even convicted which has moved me forward in new ways to connect, love, and serve my neighborhood. These past 48 hours have been a good time of change which has mostly resulted from this book. I highly recommend it.
I'll start by mentioning some aspects I think are good. The book does deal with important issues such as the changed (and still changing) context of the world in which mission is done. It speaks about issues of globalization, poverty, power, and neocolonialism. It also address the issue of "agency" and that as folks from North America, we need to focus on mission in ways that strengthen the capacity and agency of those we work with and lesson dependency on outside forces. The book also talks about culture and how culture and power in international relationships are linked. The authors use one of my favorite books, James Scott's "Domination and the Arts of Resistance," to do this which is very helpful. They write about the need for subverting power that dominates and about God's preferential option for the poor. Overall, if a congregation's starting place is a traditional view of what it means to be involved in mission (we are the center and agents of change and we work with passive recipients of our charity) then this book can be very helpful as a starting point to rethink this paradigm. Unfortunately, this seems to still be the starting point for many churches wanting to engage in international mission work.
However, I do have some fundamental problems with the book. First, it is written from a fairly evangelical point of view. The authors are Canadian Baptist and the evangelical bent definitely shows. The main Biblical text used to undergird mission is Matthew 28. In a postcolonial context, there are other passages that could better speak to how we see God's calling (Luke 4: 18-19 for example). Another important issue is that while a few sections speak to connections between our local context and that in which partners live and work, the main thrust is about how "we" work with partners in "their" context. The action takes place "over there" and North American Christians get to join with others in changing the "others" context. The authors do talk about ways to enable "participation" by all involved in mission, but just because someone participates does not mean that the issues of power have been dealt with. One of my favorite quotes comes from a book by Baaz entitled "The Paternalism of Partnership" and she writes that what is seen as partnership by one side can be seen as just another form of oppression by the other. There is another book by Cooke and Korthari entitled "Participation: The New Tyranny" which also addresses issues of changing language and practice in these relationships while not dealing with power disparities. An example of this can be seen in chapter 7 when the authors discuss Participatory Learning and Action as a formula to use when engaging with partners in "developing" areas. One of the first aspects of this engagement has to do with conducting a "needs assessment" and then, later, judging "capacities". While working in South Africa, the partner with which we worked relied on an Asset Based model which first looks at assets and capacities within a community before ever asking questions about deficiencies. When one starts with "needs" it is very difficult to ever get to the capacities of a community because the entire conversation is framed around what a community doesn't have, what it lacks, and not what is already there. In addition, while what is taught in the book is much better than simply practicing charity, it does not go nearly far enough in helping North American Christians look at their own context. Again, all the action happens somewhere else which makes it difficult for North Americans to make connections between poverty and oppression in other places and that which we experience here. Lastly, and connected to the point above, the authors constantly refer to "rich" or "wealthy" North Americans. This essentialism can serve to mask the huge disparities that exist within North America and, again, can keep us from asking hard questions about ourselves.
In sum, I do think that this book can be a starting point for engagement with churches, especially those that are more conservative. However, there would need to be much more following this, both in education and experiences offered, to help them move beyond where this book leads into a much deeper understanding of partnership and mission.