Last summer, I started a twitter chat about missions called #JustMissions. After writing my book A Smoldering Wick, I began connecting with like-minded people in the world of missions. But they were few and far between. To be very honest, it’s been a hard book to sell. Most people who ‘do’ missions don’t like to be told they are doing things wrong. Nonetheless, I still feel a deep desire to continue the conversation on mission practices with a more informed approach that lends to actually listening to the Majority World church. It is something I am passionate about, and I don’t think that passion will ever go away.
The first chat was done with Kent Annan and Bryan Entzminger, and you can find it here. Please check out Kent’s work which includes his book Slow Kingdom Coming and his new book on refugees that will be released soon. Also listen in to Bryan’s podcast, Engaging Missions, where he interviews missionaries from around the globe and works hard to highlight their work in the field and connect them to listeners.
The last chat was with Peter Rowan of OMF United Kingdom and we discussed colonialism and paternalism. It was a beautiful moment for me, talking to a missions agency about a topic many agencies do all they can to avoid. I’m so grateful for Peter’s outlook and the way in which he is working hard to bring voices from the margins into the spotlight.
In-between the first and the last chats, there were amazing discussions with Faitth Brooks, Honest Missionary, Mekdes Haddis, Ryan Kuja (PLEASE PLEASE check out his new book From the Inside Out which discusses many of the topics we covered in our monthly chats), Jean Johnson (check out her book We Are Not the Hero and note that she has a study guide now), Nathalia Barros Lewis, Greg Millsaps, CJ Quartlbaum, and Bryan Benz from the International Wholistic Missions Conference (in 2019 it’ll be in Kansas City and I hope you’ll come!).
I never got around to it, but I deeply wanted to have Beth Watkins as a guest on the chat. Please check out her Engaging Missions podcast, and her website. Also grab a copy of her free e-book For the Moments I Feel Faint.
As much as I have enjoyed this monthly chat, it has taken a certain amount of time and preparation. As many of you may already know, I am a foster mom. The last several months fostering has brought a whole new realm of experiences for this white American [struggling] evangelical. I have since decided to write a book on these experiences. In order to do so, and maintain my life as a mom, employee, and involved member of my church, I need to make space.
If any of you feel so inclined to pick up the JustMissions chat and run with it, I’d be happy to see that happen. It has taken a concerted effort to not just get cynical about missions. I must admit sometimes I fall into that. But I believe in hope, not necessarily hope in ‘missions’ per say, but hope that Christ moves us beyond cynicism and provokes us to work with Him toward shalom. That is where my hope is. I have hope that more missions agencies will see the need for shalom rather than colonialism, and that more missionaries will see that without intentionality, their work can be the work of colonialism.
Missions has brought me to where I am today: fighting for the rights of undocumented parents to be with their undocumented children. For that, I am and always will be grateful. I believe as more and more of us who are interested in missions, those of us who are or were or one day will be missionaries can usher in the alternative consciousness of missions, the world can actually be a better place: not because we bring Jesus wherever we go, but because Jesus is brought deeper and deeper into the crevices and silos of our profound hearts, bodies, and souls, as we connect deeper and deeper to our global neighbors.
Goodbye #JustMissions. But that doesn't mean goodbye #JustMissions participants. Please keep conversing with me, stay in contact. Keep pushing me to be more enlightened in how I look at missions.