3 reasons to listen to the World Church
BMS World Mission is committed to listening to the Majority World Church and to contributing to a conversation between the Global South and western Church. Mark Ord argues why
1. When someone’s talking, it’s polite to listen
The Majority World Church has something to say: experience to share, points to make and questions to ask – and to answer. In all sorts of pockets of western culture we are used to being protagonists, having the answers and calling the shots. In this conversation, though, we may find that we are not at the centre of things – that, more than anything, there is much to be learned and gained from listening. We’ll discover that our experience of secularisation is a minority report in the context of global Christianity, that elsewhere faith is on the front-foot not in retreat. The challenges of pluralism are still there, though lived differently, and the gospel is met as power, rather than propositions.
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2. Joining the conversation of global Christianity is an antidote to our obliviousness
Much of the Majority World has been minimally affected by the materialism and rationalism that define our outlook and confine our imagination. We don’t know what we don’t know, but others see us – and everything else – differently. Their experience sheds new light on our world and priorities. It unveils our blind spots and names our fixations. Conversation is an art and as we learn to listen and sympathetically engage, we become more skilled at receptivity and grow in our ability to see the world anew.
We also join the conversation because we have a perspective, experiences, understanding and mistakes to share. If global Christianity is the table at which all are welcome, then we too have our place and our contribution to make to the kingdom cause of welcome and inclusivity that sees none left on the doorstep.
Want to learn from the World Church? Start with BMS. Watch BMS General Director Kang-San Tan’s latest challenging Bible study series today.
3. Despite the silos – South/West, majority/minority – we are one Church
These categories are still, I think, important as they keep us aware of history and privilege, but they are destined to disappear and we ought to get in on the act in advance. We are one, we will be one – every tongue and tribe! We don’t join the conversation for strategic reasons, we listen, speak, engage and embrace, because the deep and sometimes brutal lines that divide us are not so entrenched that the Spirit of fellowship cannot freely pass.
Mark Ord is Director for Mission Training and Hospitality at BMS. If you want to hear from engaging and inspiring speakers from the World Church, sign up for How to Mission, a three day conference from 8 to 10 July to engage and inform you for outreach in your own context.
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission
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