Thinking in progress. Notes under construction. Expect typos and clarifying positions.


Introduction to Great Commission Studies (MIS5000)

The following resources are for my in-class instruction.

Personal Reflection on Calling and the Great Commission

Our first modules will review your two prior assignments concerning personal reflection and the Great Commission.

Personal Testimony

This paper must be prepared in advance of the hybrid weekend and submitted to the professor by the beginning of Friday. Assignment 1: Students will prepare a two (2) page, double-spaced personal testimony paper. Specific guidelines for the paper must be followed and will be addressed in the course lectures. Points will be deducted if it is not followed. A specific guide will be available for download on the CampusNet page.

During the hyrbid weekend, students will use their preparation for this paper to conversationally discuss their testimony with one another in small groups during the first module of the weekend. The goal of this assignment is to help students consider their own story in a manner that is conducive to sharing it as part of evangelism. Conversing with one another about it will develop familiarity with speaking in this way. Finally, this gives everyone a chance to know other classmates in a more personal way.

Personal Reflection

This paper must be prepared in advance of the hybrid weekend and submitted to the professor by the beginning of Friday. Assignment 2: Students are to write a two (2) page, double-spaced paper responding to the following questions:

  • “What is my current understanding of the biblical/theological basis for missions?” Provide specific Scripture passages from both the Old and New Testament to ground your theology.
  • “What is the present status of my life’s practice when it comes to sharing the gospel with individuals?”
  • “Which of the barriers mentioned in class is the greatest hindrance to personal missions and evangelism in the lives of those I know?”
  • “Which of the barriers mentioned in class is my greatest hindrance to personal evangelism and why?”

In addition to sharing their testimony, students will use the last two questions from the above prompts in a group setting to dialogue about their own obstacles to personal evangelism. Students are also free to share any personal suggestions about specific ways that have overcome these obstacles.

Critical Contextualization

The second module of our hybrid weekend deal with the topic of contextualization. Contextualization is a common term used in Christian ministry today, but what does it mean and how do we do it well?

Contextualization on the Mission FieldContextualization on the Mission Field
This note is on my list of [[Important Questions to Answer]].

History of Contextualization
In 1972, the term "contextualization" was coined by the co-directors of the Theological Education Fund for the World Council of Churches.[[Nicholls1979-jt, 21.::rsn]] The person usually attributed with the term was Shoki Coe.[[Keller2012-ln, 91.::rsn]]

The Ecumenical Version
In its initial uses, the ecumenical version of contextualization often equated the context with Scripture in determining theol...
is an important topic, whether your field is across the ocean or across the street. For these lectures, we're going to look at Hiebert on ContextualizationHiebert on Contextualization
Paul Hiebert was one of the most significant missiological thinkers of the 20th century among evangelicals. Hiebert's work as both an anthropologist and missiologist set categories that are still employed in evangelical contextualization practices today.

In his work, Hiebert called for "critical contextualization." In a series of classic articles from the 1980s, Hiebert argued for this approach in opposition to twin errors which rest on either side. The first was the error of noncontextualiz...
to set the basis for our discussion. You can click on the link above to find copies of several articles by Hiebert that will frame our contextualization discussion.

Assignment 3: Students are required to read the article "Critical Contextualization" by Hiebert prior to coming to class. You can access the article here. You will need to have this finished prior to the discussion. It is a short article, but it covers some pretty complex topics. A first read before the discussion is essential.

Worldview Analysis Case Study

Break students into groups and provide each group with materials that present a case study for a particular worldview. Students will analyze the materials in order to exegete the culture and assess the worldview represented by the materials. Next students will consider ways to contextualize the gospel message that are both faithful to Scripture and understandable to an adherent of the represented worldview.

After developing an assessment and potential message of engagement, students will then present their findings to the class.

Representative Wordlview Case Studies

The following articles serve as a collection of real case studies for wordlview analysis. Each article is written by an adherent of the listed world religion, and each is arguing for a particular understanding of their religion. Students will do well to note while these fall into classical categories of world religions, that does not mean they can assume any basic pieces of the worldview based on their understanding of a textbook definition of these world religions.



Secular Humanist/ Techno-optimist

Developing Missions Method

On day two of the weekend, modules deal with the development of particular missions method in a given context. Biblical, theological, and historical bases for missions are essential for healthy missionary practice. However, we must still build the house. Once a foundation is laid, true obedience to the Great Commission requires developing specific missions methods to engage those outside the church in our disciple-making mission.

How does one turn a corner from understanding the bases for missions and developing their own methods in context?

The Core Missionary Task

The International Mission Board has developed a framework called the Core Missionary TaskCore Missionary Task
The core missionary task (CMT) is the language the International Mission Board uses to describe the center of their missions strategy.

The CMT consists of six phases:

Healthy Church Formation
Leadership Development

These aspects of the task are not necessarily linear, though they do follow a rough progression. Furthermore, the task is meant to be a spiral, in that once you reach the end, you begin partnering with the churches an...
which they use with all field personnel. This framework is helpful for developing healthy missions methods in a variety of contexts, not just in international missions and church planting.

It is important to note the difference between a framework and a method. Frameworks are scaffolding that allow us to maintain fidelity to the task given by Scripture but facilitate the development of specific methods that are context-bound.

Resource: Foundations You can download the entire Foundations manual from the IMB to see a complete understanding of their biblical and theological foundations as well as a thorough explanation of the core missionary task.

Current Topics in Christian Missions

While there are many current topics in missions, the following are especially pertinant to our current missionary context in North America, though they are also major issues globally.

At the end of day two, we can plan to discuss the following topics:

  • Diaspora Missions: The question of how we engage in cross-cultural missions in the face of unprecendeted global migration may be the most pressing issue in global missions today. While this is a global issue, it is especially sensitive in the United States, since we are the largest recipient of international migration in the world.
  • Developing Sending Culture: Increasingly, our current paradigms concerning mobilization of missionaries, church planters, replanters, and revitalizers are being seen as inadequate. How do we recast this essential task of calling out the called for the sake of the Great Commission within the local church?