作者: Sadiri Joy Tira
During the Lausanne III or Cape Town 2010 gathering of world evangelical leaders concerned about accelerating world evangelization, I spoke briefly about the great opportunities of reaching out to the 214 Million International Migrants. I also mention the predictions of migration experts that this "global diaspora" would accelerate. Who would have imagined during CT2010, that just a few months later massive migration would take place in North Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and Japan, caused by political upheaval, violence, and natural disasters? Right now, if we combined all the International Migrants, they would constitute a nation larger than the population of Brazil, the 5th largest nation in the world. Including the Internal Migrants, there are close to 1 Billion People on the Move.
How do we see all this through the lenses of Global Missions and World Evangelization? Is the global Church prepared for this phenomenological population shift? Do evangelicals have a biblical understanding of hospitality? (Hospitality is more than just potlucks or coffee and Dunkin donuts -- unfortunately this is the understanding of many in the West!) What strategies do we have in most if not all points of entry and border doors of our countries? If the local congregations are not prepared, it is perhaps because the leadership is not prepared. So how are the Bible Colleges, Seminaries, and Divinity Schools in Universities preparing clergy and missionaries if their missions/evangelism curriculums do not address these global issues? Can denominations address this global issue if they keep insisting a dichotomized approach to missions i.e. "foreign vs. home missions"; "from here to there" instead of " from everywhere to everywhere"; "land locked instead of non-spatial (e.g. planting church only on land, concentrating only in the mega-cities while forgetting to plant churches on the ocean); leaving the work primarily to so-called "International Workers" instead of motivating, mentoring and mobilizing the ordinary migrant "Kingdom Workers."
If you have not yet read the latest International Organization for Migration (IMO) World Migration Report 2011 download it for FREE. I would encourage every missions educator and denominational leader/specialist to access and analyze this report. I would encourage you to read this report prepared every year and ask hard question on how the global situation impacts the way you do missions. Missiologists and Missions Strategists should be some of the first to read this along with the political and social scientists or the human rights and ecological activists, or government policy makers and legal experts.
My friend Dr. J.D. Payne, Lausanne/Global Diaspora Network Subject Matter Specialist (SME) and professor of Evangelism and Church Planting at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary posted his observations about this global trend in his blog "Missiological Thinking" (http://www.jdpayne.org/). He lists 5 Key International Migration Trends for 2011 (see original post). BTW, I asked Dr. Payne to serve as SME along with two other experts Dr. Tuvya Zaretsky of the Jews for Jesus (he also is an administrator at http://www.jewishgentilecouples.com/) and Mr. Sam George (http://www.coconutgeneration.com/CGenHome.htm). I would encourage you to read their work and visit their websites because they all periodically address global migration/diaspora issues.
Migration pundits predicted more people on the move by the year 2012. An informed Church can effectively engage the Whole World with the Whole Gospel.
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).