Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lausanne Thursday : Diaspora

The Gospel comes to us on the way to someone else. - Alex McManus
Movement is inherent in the Gospel. Right now, we find ourselves in the midst of an incredible mass of movement - the largest amount of people moving in human history ever. If you've been around here long enough, you’ve already heard about the concept of global urban migration.

On diaspora: "Over the centuries, the term 'diaspora' has been added to contemporary vocabulary in reference to the People on the Move who will cross national borders, i.e. the scattered peoples. Other terms such as 'migration,' 'emigration' and 'immigration' have been used in reference to People on the Move." The global leader of the future will understand this idea and it will be integral to the way they impact people.

Some concepts pulled out of the advance paper - "Ministering to the Scattered Peoples" as well as this chart for some good comparisons:

Challenges to change:
local vs. global
here vs. there
sending vs. receiving
reached vs. unreached
laity vs. clergy
coming vs. going
cultural linguistic barriers, cultural distance [Something to think about, but I'm not sure the concept of diaspora eliminates cultural distance. If anything, the migration of cultures almost makes preparing students for cultural distance even easier ie: not far to travel to deeply experience another culture.]

nonspatial, no boundary
unreached = accessible
borderless = ministry without borders
new reality of unprecedented movements of peoples

New Approaches:
unprecedented movement in the 21st century
mobile and fluid
sending and receiving from anywhere
moving targets and move with the targets [how should/will this affect organizations that want a long term impact in a locality?]
glocal and liquid

+ Many churches in the West have 'Church buses,' but diaspora people have 'Bus-Churches.'
+ Japan is known to be 'the graveyard of missionaries' yet many nationalities within Japan are receptive to the gospel.
+ Reaching Transients Illustrations: Filipino seafarers are reaching multinational crew members and travelers on ships; Australian Christian host families are reaching out to International Students from countries like China; Malaysian Christians are reaching out to Nepali contract workers in Malaysia; Zambian Christians are reaching out to Malawi Muslim diplomats stationed in Zambia.
+ "We believe God is scattering the nations of the world to bring in a mega-harvest globally. Accordingly, the Church must embrace this new global reality and strategize to reach the various Diaspora people groups." [I could not agree with this idea more.]

If you are a student:
+ Understand and embrace this sociological concept. God has a strategy behind migration.
+ Start to look at the culture you live in with the mix of global cultures. Yes, even though your friends and their families are American, if they don't look like you, where are they really from? What could you learn from them? Have the nerve to ask them about their backgrounds - it will be fun.

For more info, also see JD Payne's series on diaspora.

This post is part of a series of posts about Cape Town 2010 highlighting what I think are some important concepts that students interested in missions should be aware of.

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