At the crossroads
Communities of Mission Practice: Bringing God’s global family together
Several hundred Congolese children have access to education, thanks to global collaboration within the Congo Mission Network: Congolese partners with U.S. educators, mission co-workers in the Congo with Myers Park Presbyterian Church in North Carolina.
Through the Peru Mission Network, the Bridge of Hope fair trade handicraft project has tripled women’s income in Peru. Presbyterian Women, mission co-workers and many Midwestern congregations join Partners for Trade, an NGO formed out of U.S. congregations, all supporting the effort.
These are “communities of mission practice,” the intersection of passionate U.S. Presbyterians, global partners and World Mission personnel in work shaped by prayer, Bible study, reflection and worship. Diverse perspectives are bound by a common purpose and values, sharing knowledge and practice to spur one another on not only in faithfulness to God’s mission but in effectiveness as well.
In 1837, the Presbyterian Church’s Board of Foreign Mission sent mission workers to Brazil, Congo, Egypt and China to plant church communities. Thousands came to faith in Jesus Christ.
By the middle of the 20th century, the developing (colonized) world clamored for self-determination. Our church discerned a movement of the Spirit and reformed policy: the PC(USA) pioneered partnerships with national Christians, as mission workers shifted from an exclusive focus on direct service to one of equipping the local church to feed, heal and proclaim the gospel. Churches grew.
With globalization, U.S. Presbyterians’ awareness, communication and travel increased. The good news: this seismic shift opened the door to direct involvement and giving at unprecedented levels, transforming individuals and congregations. But our global partners note that our efforts have become highly uncoordinated and, in some cases, less responsive to needs as perceived by the local community.
We believe the Spirit is again calling us to consider new ways of being a connectional church. Because God speaks to people in every place, we cultivate mutuality with the global church. Because mission is critical to Christian unity, we work with ecumenical partners, too. “Communities of mission practice” are the intentional response to God’s call, creating and nurturing spaces of discernment and discipleship that transcend national borders.
Today almost 200 mission co-workers serve in more than 50 countries, bearing witness to Christ’s good news in word and deed. Together with our global partners and Presbyterians like you, World Mission is tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems for a long-term, systemic impact: to lift people out of desperate poverty, empower the global church to reach more people with Christ’s message of love, and facilitate reconciliation in violent places. This holistic approach seeks abundant life both now and in eternity. You can be a part of new and existing communities of mission practice by engaging with World Mission. May it be so.
Grace and peace,
Hunter Farrell Director,
Presbyterian World Mission
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