Author: Sadiri ’Joy’ Tira
In my recent post ( 03.11.2011) I briefly mentioned that an increasing volume of literature related to Diaspora and Christian missions is emerging. I know of several evangelical theologians, missiologists and Christian socio-economists who are vigorously researching and writing articles. Others are going to produce textbooks on Diaspora Missiology. (However, I better not steal the sound of their thunder!)
For those who are complaining about the scarcity of diaspora related publications, my advise is to be patient. Just watch for the avalanches and be sure to read the literature once they hit the "book room" and shelves.
Evangelical missiologists such as Tom Houston, Samuel Escobar, Ted Yamamori, and [the late] Ralph Winter (before his home-going) were all informed about the development of Diaspora Missiology. It is meaningful to quote Winter:
“[Diaspora Missiology] may well be the most important undigested reality in missions thinking today. We simply have not caught up with the fact that most of the world’s people can no longer be defined geographically" (from a personal E-mail message in Summer 2004).
Furthermore, in “Finishing the Task: The Unreached Peoples Challenge,” (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader. 2003) he writes:
As history unfolds and global migration increases, more and more people groups are being dispersed throughout the entire globe. Dealing with this phenomenon is now called “diaspora missiology.” Not many agencies take note of the strategic value of reaching the more accessible fragments of these “global peoples” (p. 534).
Actually, we have many books and files of diasporic literature available to us. However, these are the writings of political and social scientists, analysis of economists, reports of historians, visions of geographers, warnings of lawyers and criminologists, prescriptions of medical experts tracking down epidemics, and the agendas of transnationalism advocates.
Question is, where are the Missiologists and church growth experts? Unfortunately, we have to catch up! It seems that many of us still see the world the way William Carey did. Our missiology must be updated. We must connect our students to the 21st Century. For example: Often we still do missions from here to there. But missions now is from anywhere to everywhere! Missions today should be multidirectional e.g. Reaching to Africans all over the world not just in the continent of Africa. Missions today must be GLOCAL e.g. Financial support to workers outside the homeland is equal to the support given to those reaching the same people in the city, no more home, overseas and foreign fields; workers should all be labeled Kingdom Workers!
Missiologists are intellectual invaders! They have no world map like geographers; they cry for help from bible scholars and systematic theologians; they also ask the help of the linguists; then they turn to anthropologists and sociologists to understand cultures and social issues. Historians keep correcting missiologists about past documents. Missiologists need the right numbers, so we need statisticians! Surely, they have no technology but they want the technological gadgets to accelerate their task of world evangelism.
Students of missiology are expected to be interdisciplinary. So, it is about time for missiologists to interpret and integrate the data related to diaspora and migration to come up of their own Diaspora Missiology literatures. I would like to encourage many of my missiologist friends to write and publish to help future diaspora missions students and practioners.
Before I sign off I’d like to recommend one important book to the readers:
So what are the authors telling me? How will these influence my heart, mind and hand to finish the task of world evangelisation?
Lausanne Diasporas exists to motivate and mobilise the Whole Church to take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World. More literature is needed to assist in developing an intentional and strategic response to mass international migration.
Sadiri Joy Tira (D.Min., D.Miss.) is the LCWE Senior Associate for Diasporas; Vice President for Diaspora Missions at Advancing Indigenous Missions (AIM); Director of the Institute of Diaspora Missiology at Alliance Graduate School (Philippines); and Diaspora Missiology Specialist at the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives at Ambrose University College (Canada).