Considering “justice” today in world missions is an emphasis of the future since a younger cadre of workers is moving to the fields of the world to take on some of the biggest challenges facing mankind — poverty, malaria, war destruction, famine, slavery, etc.
In 2013 Greg started a grad program at MU that is focused on the mission of justice in our world. He trains workers for action, tackling the humanitarian issues and crises of our days. He sends students out into the world to work for justice through many organizations and efforts.
So today’s missionaries seem to be focusing more on the “justice” side of things as they go out to make their impact on the world. We tended to make the Gospel transactional, and discipleship an individual matter. They tend to make the Gospel holistic, and discipleship and issue of doing justice in our world.
In spite of what you think of their emphasis or even agree with my analysis, here’s an implication for today’s Caregivers, who are normally in their 50’s or older and have a lot of experience in the mission fields as we knew them — with our “transactional Gospel,” and our focused church planting philosophies:
- Will we be able to understand the theological orientation of the new missionary we visit on the field or who visits us in our Care Centers?
- Will we give them “space” to wrestle with the “essence of the Gospel” as we did — or have we got it nailed and it doesn’t have to be wrestled with by anyone else?
- Will we be able to cut them theological space to work out the Gospel in their generation as we did in ours?
- Will we be able to empathize with them since they will come from pressure cookers and tense situations confronting the power structures intent on neutralizing their efforts?
I think knowing the difference between our perspective on missions and the perspective the new cadre of workers is bringing to the field, will help us in our Care efforts.
One thing a young missionary doesn’t need, is to have their Caregiver think or communicate in some way, “You surely are ‘offtrack’ theologically on what the Gospel is!” even though understanding what the Gospel is biblically, is at the core of what we do, and should be discussed, debated, and wrestled with for clarity. Isn’t the generational change and perspective on the Gospel stimulating?