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


Introduction to Christian Missions (MIS5100)

The following resources are for my in-class instruction.

Critical Contextualization

The first modules 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.

Worldview Analysis Case Study

Assignment: 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

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

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, thought 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?