REDISCOVERING A DYNAMIC ANGLICAN MISSIOLOGY
A Paper presented by the Most Rev. Dr. B. A. Kwashi to MERE ANGLICANISM conference in Charleston, SC Jan. 18 -21, 2012
INTRODUCTION : APOSTOLIC MISSION AND MINISTRY
From its birth on the Day of Pentecost, the church, continuing the mission as commanded by Jesus, did not find it difficult to respond to mission. Having been with Jesus, learned from Jesus, and understood what the mind of God was and what God is about in the world today, Pentecost provided the apostles with what they had been waiting for - the promised Holy Spirit. Thereafter, the Acts of the Apostles provides us with snapshots of key moments in the life of the apostles and in the development of the mission. We hear of how they proceeded when they were faced with new situations, or with problems which could either thrust the gospel forward, or retard its growth.
The Anglican Church has always claimed the inheritance of apostolic succession. If this is to be more than just an academic "text book" type of claim it must be substantiated in our generation, and be seen in the life and witness, the ministry and mission of the church today. If we are to rediscover the urgency, the dynamism, the fire and the zeal which clearly characterized the life and work of the apostles, then we need to look again at what they did and how they did it, and we need to see how these characteristics can once again become the hallmarks of the church' mission and ministry today.
In Acts 6 we hear how a particular problem arose, and we see how it was dealt with. We should note in particular how the mission of the church was preserved. Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.7 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7)
At any point in time the church needs leaders who are visionary and discerning, who will stand up to safeguard the mission of the Church. The apostles in acts 6 verse 2 were quick to see the hand of the devil; they discerned the situation and made a clear distinction of the issues involved; they could see what was going to bring distraction and destruction to the mission. The apostles had a clear vision and knew what their most important task was, and they were not going to bargain about priorities which had been clearly set by Jesus. They would NOT be distracted from the mission of the church. In the presence of everyone they declared that they were not at liberty to neglect their primary task of preaching and taking the gospel to the whole world. This was nonnegotiable, but they made a proposal that the people select seven men to take on the responsibility of administering tables.
This would leave the apostles free to PRAY, to PREACH and TEACH, and to CONTINUE THE MISSION with a clear mind and focus. The quality of the people selected for any such new task can either solve or increase the problem (verse 3). The apostles therefore set down certain criteria. Those to be chosen must be full of the Holy Spirit; they must be full of wisdom; they must have a good reputation. We should note that it would have been impossible for the apostles to have laid down in clear terms God's principles of service without themselves being good examples. The known character of the apostles and the manner in which they now proceeded was most important and provided necessary teaching for the community at large, and in particular to those who were to be chosen. That they were visionary and discerning elders was one great example for the seven to follow.
Moreover they were not distracted by the devil's tactics from their primary task of preaching the gospel. This was a great lesson that was later to be copied by Philip and Stephen.
Notice that both the twelve and the seven were described as "servants". All of them served, whether as administrators, food attendants, teachers or preachers. All who serve must be full of the Holy Spirit, of wisdom and must be of good report. What the apostles did was full of significance: they prayed for the seven and laid their hands upon them (verse 7).
Here is a sign of agreement, and a sign that they were of one mind and one purpose. By acting in this way a principle of passing on the baton was ensured from the very outset. Indeed the baton was passed on with far greater effect than they may have imagined, as several of the seven "administrators" chosen to serve the food, became firebrand evangelists.
Let us therefore look again at the apostles' priorities, as we seek to rediscover for ourselves the character, fire and vision which was theirs. We shall look at
2. TEACHING AND PREACHING
3. MISSION AND EVANGELISM
4. A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Prayer is one thing which the apostles never took lightly. After the day of Pentecost, the apostles were immediately faced with opposition, with challenges and with problems from without and from within the infant community. In Acts 4 we hear how the apostles encountered the Sannhedrin, the religious hierarchy, but they were bold to declare, "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20). When Peter and John were released, they did not seek redress in the law courts, or look for other ways of addressing the injustice of the Sannhedrin; instead, the whole community immediately went to prayer (4:24-30). In that prayer they begged God so to help them that they be not distracted from the ministry of declaring the word of God with boldness, and that they be enabled to go on into mission, in obedience to the command of Jesus, with the attendant evidence of signs and wonders (v.29-31). The following chapters in the Acts of the Apostles show God's resounding answer to that prayer.
Jesus was a man of prayer and was recognized as such by his immediate community. The apostles were Jews and throughout their life they had been praying several times a day, and yet they saw something different in Jesus; Jesus achieved so much out of his prayer; he lived a life based on prayer, and so they begged, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1). In reply, Jesus said, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name . . ." (Luke 11:2). It is not a matter of "If" we pray, but when or whenever we pray, because in praying we enter into a relationship with God who is our Father. Jesus' praying was vital and effective because of the closeness of his relationship with God. This is emphasized again in Matthew 6:5-15 ). Jesus questions the motives of those who pray in order to impress others, or who babble on and on, as if length were a virtue in itself. Much of our praying should be in private because it is an expression of our relationship with God:
"But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
Having seen the over-riding importance and the effectiveness of prayer in Jesus' life, the apostles were not prepared to compromise this by wasting time on administrative matters which others could supervise. Therefore they insisted: "we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word" (Acts 6:4)Jesus promised that our prayer would be heard and that therefore we should not easily give up or lose heart (Luke 18:1). He promised that what is good and right will be given to those who pray (Luke 11:9-13); he even promised to answer prayer for mission, saying "ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2).
The problem is of course that we sometimes insist that we want what will not be best for us in the long run - and then we accuse God of not answering our prayers. One of the great Christian women of prayer of the last century was Evelyn Underhill, who commented: "The man whose life is coloured by prayer, whose loving communion with God comes first, will always win souls; because he shows them in his own life and person the attractiveness ... the transforming power of the spiritual life. His intellectual powers and the rest will not, comparatively speaking, matter much. The point is that he stands as a witness to that which he proclaims. The most persuasive preacher, the most devoted and untiring social worker, the most up-to-date theologian - unless loving devotion to God exceeds and enfolds these activities - will not win souls."1
Therefore prayer is: 1 Menzies, L. (ed.), Collected Papers of Evelyn Underhill, London, Longmans, Green & Co.,1946, 121-122 (a) the pastor's primary obligation to the church (b) the only condition under which the work of the Christian ministry can be properly done.
Therefore the priest MUST set aside time for prayer: "A priest's life of prayer is, in a peculiar sense, part of the great mystery of the Incarnation. He is meant to be one of the channels by and through which the Eternal God, manifested in time, acts within the human world; reaches out, seeks, touches, and transforms human souls. His real position in the parish is that of a dedicated agent of the Divine Love. The Spirit of Christ, indwelling His Church, is to act through him."
If the priest does not put God first, no-one else will do so. God can never be adequately served or known except through sacrifice. The demands on the time and strength of the parish priest are great, and it might seem that he can give exclusive attention to God only at the expense of time and attention which are needed by his people. But history shows that this is not so. It is those whose prayer is strong and deep whose work for God and for others is also strong and deep.2 "Much is now being said about evangelism; but before we get effective evangelism, we have to get effective evangelists. Evangelism is useless, unless it is the work of one devoted to God, willing and glad to suffer all things for God, penetrated by the attractiveness of God."3
2.TEACHING AND PREACHING
Jesus' relationship with God was so close that when he taught the people about God they instinctively recognized that here was something different; here was a person who really did know what he was talking about; a person who knew God and who could teach others about God:
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29)
Because of this the crowds flocked to listen to him. Young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate all came, and they all could understand and learn. Through his words, his actions, his miracles, his manner of life, Jesus was teaching about God; in him the presence of the Kingdom of God could be seen. The people were hungry for this teaching. They realized that here at last was the clue to the meaning of life, the living of life and the fulfillment of their hopes, longings and aspirations.
According to St. Matthew's gospel, Jesus' parting words to the disciples were: 3 Menzies 125 2 Menzies 123 4 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)
The people must be taught or else they will wander like sheep without a shepherd. The apostles refused to give to any other work the priority which should be given to the word of God, and they therefore openly declared: "It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables" (Acts 6:2)
The apostles realized the central importance of teaching and did not take it lightly. Acts 2:42 neatly summarises their manner of life: And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
The apostles themselves taught the people in speech and in writing, and they urged others who had heard to pass on the message. Paul urged the young Timothy: "what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well." (2 Timothy 2:2) "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:23-26)
Similarly, he wrote to Titus: "But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1). As with Jesus, so with the apostles, the teaching affected and controlled their living: they lived out their teaching every moment of their lives. Therefore Paul could write: "Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church" (1 Cor. 4:16-17).
For both Jesus and the apostles, such teaching and preaching grew out of a life of prayer and was therefore authentic and done with absolute integrity, being also rooted in the word of God and lived out daily by the teacher or preacher. If there is to be a rediscovering of the ministry and mission of the church, then we today must follow the same pattern with the same emphasis on teaching and preaching, the same dedication, the same passion and conviction, refusing to be side-tracked onto issues of lesser importance, and resisting distractions, time wasting activities and endless unproductive meetings with little or no results in life-saving activities. Teachers today must teach well, and to do this teachers must know God, know God's word, and obey God and God's word. They must model and train others in ministry skills and in pastoral and evangelistic development. Those who preach and those who listen must be ready for missions locally and internationally. Skills required for missions must be demonstrated by teachers and passed on to others. The models, attitudes and accountability that others see is what they will copy.
Wherever they serve, those who teach and those who learn should be a blessing to the people. This will be so because the aim of teaching is to produce change and transformation in individual lives, and in the lives of churches, communities and nations. Authentic Christian teaching will lead naturally to community development, health care, education of children and other life-saving activities. These are urgent matters and should not be left to government agencies (whose commitment may be uncertain). Those who teach and preach must therefore demonstrate strength, character and discipline in relationship to their call, their respect for authority, and (if ordained) their oath of office and Holy Orders.
3.MISSION & EVANGELISM
Mission is an exciting enterprise, an exciting adventure and a very contagious spiritual experience. It is God's mission, and it is the power of the gospel that gives boldness to the believer to proclaim and to demand a response to the saving power of Christ. Such mission must be taught, lived out and demonstrated, not as a once only event, but as a way of life, and as a means of blessing for other people. We do not quite know whether the team of seven, selected by the people and presented to the apostles to serve at tables were part of the three thousand at Pentecost, but what we know is that they were not only faithful and successful in administering the widows' food, but also they were responsible for the evangelization of new frontiers beyond Jerusalem. Philip was led by the Spirit to witness to the Ethiopean Eunuch and he baptized the eunuch. Philip was also responsible for the birth of the church in Samaria, and then made his base at Caesarea: Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.(Acts 8:4) And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.(Acts 8:38b-40) On the next day we who were Paul's companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. (Acts 21:8)
Stephen was to be found in the synagogue expounding Scripture with profound accuracy before the Sannhedrin, who later sentenced him to death: And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. (Acts 6:8-10)
We do not have much information about the credentials of the elected seven except that they were young men full of the Holy Spirit; they were people of good report within the community and they were people of wisdom. The young men were full of the fear of God, as it is written, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). One thing that we can easily deduce, however, is that these young disciples had been well taught in the Scriptures, and they demonstrated passion, zeal, commitment and a total dedication to the mission of the gospel which they had copied from the apostles with whom they had lived.
The young disciples and the apostles displayed similar qualities. The young deacons fulfilled the dreams and aspirations of the apostles. They did not add more to the problems of the church; they, rather, were a huge blessing and they brought solutions to the church. Furthermore they were instruments of expanding the mission - a ministry they carried out with joy.
In Jerusalem and then in centers all over an ever-growing region the Christians came together to be taught by the apostles, to break bread and to pray, but after they had gone out of "church" they continued joyfully and honestly to share with those in need, and to help others in whatever way possible. Such love always has the power to attract and to draw others into the community, so they were respected in their locality, their numbers grew rapidly, and they themselves grew in faith as they saw God at work transforming lives and situations.
God calls us to mission just as he called the apostles and as he called the first deacons, to bring healing, to be solutions and a source of blessing to unreached peoples all over the world, to expand the frontiers of the church and to bring glory to the Lord.
From our consideration of the Scriptures, it has become clear that this call, together with the call to teach and preach, is inextricably bound up with the call to pray. The teaching, the preaching and the mission are fed by the prayers of the assembled church, and the worship of the assembled company of believers is fed by their life and work, ministry and witness. Neither makes sense without the other. Prayer and worship, mission and ministry cannot be divorced; they must go hand on hand.
It seems that the value of the Prayer Book itself is often neglected, or not realized today. The Book of Common Prayer (1662) is a book of prayer, providing the collects, the litany and many additional prayers which can guide and inspire Christians in their private and corporate prayer life. Prayers memorized in childhood can be a blessing in old age. The Prayer Book is also a teaching manual with information on the seasons, the lectionary, and teaching in the catechism and on the importance of the Eucharist, together with the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith. It is also a book of mission, and a valuable tool for mission. As people are gathered to pray, a worship centre arises, and from that centre the gospel spreads, people are gathered to prayer in another locality . . . and so it goes on. Our liturgy must live in our lives so that our lives may live through our worship. This is, however, only possible when the worshippers (priests and people) are actively taking part in the teaching, preaching and witness of the church.
It should be remembered that just as prayer is both personal and corporate, and teaching is done both individually and in groups, so too pioneering evangelism is of two kinds: personal commitment to Christ and church planting. Individuals need to be led to a personal encounter with Christ, but these individuals also need to be gathered into a living, worshipping community who enrich, support and encourage each other. It is from this community of faith that other communities are founded and other individuals brought to know, love and serve the Lord.
4.A VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The devil does not change his methods, and the church after the apostles struggled through persecution, dealing with heresies, with the formulation of the creeds, liturgies and expansion, with world evangelism. In each generation the church faces the same struggles with the devil as the apostles had done. It is therefore the duty of the leadership in each generation to seek to confront the devil as the apostles did and to save the message and the church from distraction and death by applying Biblical methods and by living the gospel. Let me point to three examples of such struggles today. These are aspects of mission and ministry which must be seen with the eyes of Christ, approached with the compassion of Christ, and to which God's solutions must be brought. Only in this way can we have a living, dynamic vision for the future.
a.False Teachers and Proud Preachers
So many of St. Paul's letters mention the problems caused by false teaching, and the situation is the same today indeed many of today's heresies are the former ones wrapped up in a new language. Such heretical teachings are peddled by a variety of so-called learned teachers and evangelists, who are more concerned with power, territories, with making money and gaining a name for themselves, than they are with proclaiming the truth of the gospel.
The gospel - if it truly is the gospel that is being proclaimed - will assuredly bring life, light and growth; because of the gospel, structures will be developed for the building of life together in communities and for the care of the environment; and at the same time, the power of the gospel will militate against all forms of dehumanization or degradation. False teaching must therefore be countered by authentic teaching and a living presentation of the true gospel in the lives of Christians, and especially of Christian leaders. Let us remember that the pulpit is a place where one is called to serve others; it is a holy place, but it could be anywhere - in a boat, in the market, in the church, at home ... We must love the pulpit, revere it, respect it and use it to teach the truth, bring out facts, give guidance and direction for the life of the preacher and for the lives of the listeners.
The pulpit must be used with wisdom and sensitivity, the tempo and understanding of the hearers must be gauged and they must never be in doubt about the preacher's love for God and dedication to his/her call. People are drawn to a sincere pulpit. The pulpit must never be a place of show, oratory or entertainment. It is holy place of meeting between God and man.
b.Youth and children
As we look at the potential hearers, and at the whole community around us, one observation which is very clear and yet often ignored, concerns the age of the people. In Africa the youth form a very large percentage of the population, and interestingly the USA Census Bureau states that as percentages of the USA population in 2010 those under 5 years formed 6.5%, those under 18 years formed 24% and those aged 65 and over formed 13%.
According to UN figures the proportion of people under 30 years of age in North Africa and the Middle East is striking, for example: Egypt 61%, Sudan 67%, Iraq 68%, Libya and Algeria 58%. Of these the percentage aged 15-29 who are not working and not going to school are Egypt and Algeria 37%, Sudan 36%, Iraq 43%.
It is a sad fact that those under 35 years of age are largely ignored and generally do not seem to have a place in the mission of the church today. This age group feel unwanted by governments; they are largely unemployed; a good proportion are underemployed or unemployable. For similar reasons, they do not seem to have a place even in the church. In fact they may have no offering to bring and are hardly educated and cultured for responsible church gatherings.
The new generation congregations provide for them a place of identity and make no demands on them whatsoever: little is required in terms of morality or ethics; they just have to be present at entertainment "worship" services. We of the older traditional church must first and foremost repent of past negligencies and seek a sincere way, a sincere, transparent and credible way of bringing onboard methods of solving this problem.
We have a huge task which needs the patience, prayers, dedication and seriousness of all of us in order to give the younger generation a future to hope, believe and work for. If this challenge is not met, this vast and growing throng of young people will be increasingly available for any activity of evil against their nation and its citizens.
c. Local Mission
In his book, "A Brief History of Islam"4, Harry Boer highlights various factors responsible for the demise of Christianity in North Africa at this time, noting particularly the problems Christians faced in Muslim dominated areas. He then concludes:
Consideration has been given to this particular aspect of the Muslim advance, because it is so rich in instruction for us at the present time. The Church in North Africa lost its position and even its life because (a) it was not a "united Church" and (b) it was not a witnessing church. Because of its disunity (especially in Egypt) it ended by having greater regard for people who did not believe in Christ (the Muslims) than for those who confessed him (their Orthodox brethren). Because of its lack of witnessing power, the mass of the native inhabitants were not truly interested in the gospel and when the Europeans left they went over to Islam. Today all of North Africa is Muslim. It might well have been Christian. That it is not Christian is in large measure the fault, not of the Muslims, but of the Christian Church itself.5
World mission actually begins locally (as for example Acts 2, 6, 8), making mission and evangelism the main focus of the local church. This means daily bringing in new babes in Christ, discipling them and training them to disciple their homes and 5Boer 66. 4Harry Boer, A Brief History of Islam, Ibadan, Daystar Press, 1969, 64-65. families, their neighbourhood, market place, work place or wherever. It means welcoming visitors from near and far, providing hospitality and evangelising them and encouraging them to take their faith back to their localities. Mission is not something "out there"; it must be seen as the life-blood of the church HERE and NOW. We are concerned about famine in Africa, fighting in the Middle East . . . and rightly so. But have we even seen the true condition, situations and needs in the streets around us? Jesus saw the crowds swirling around him, he had compassion on them and he acted.
How much of our church budget goes to the Children, Sunday School and Youth departments, to the training of future leaders, to world-wide mission? What about our personal giving? But, more importantly: what about our personal living?
In seeking to rediscover a dynamic Anglican missiology we are not doing something new. It is not that the true gospel and an authentic mission have somehow been lost since the days of the early church. Throughout the centuries there have been outstanding, shining lights who have not only demonstrated faithfulness in prayer, teach, mission and evangelism, but who also saw the future of the church and contributed in their own time in line with apostolic missions. We may briefly call to mind five great examples here:
Thomas Cranmer, who was a genius in translation and in writing; who saw the need of translation in order to further the work of mission and of teaching, and who provided a magnificent compendium of prayers which have stood the test of time and are still valued by many all over the world today.
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a Nigerian and a former slave boy, who became the first black Bishop in the Anglican Communion. His gifts were many and his commitment to Christ and to the mission of the gospel could not be daunted by any power or circumstance. He was an evangelist, a translator, and administrator, developer, nationalist and statesman. He translated the Bible and Prayer Book into Yoruba, and compiled a dictionary, grammar for the Yoruba language as well as primers for Igbo and Nupe languages. He vigorously pursued the principles of making the church self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating with an indigenous pastorate.
Leslie Newbigin (1909-1998), a Church of Scotland missionary who served in India for very many years. He was an outstanding Bible teacher, preacher, writer, evangelist and Bishop.
Festo Kivengere (1919-1988) a Ugandan Bishop, passionate evangelist and leader of his people in times of great difficulty under Amin. He played a leading role in the East African Revival.
John Stott (1921-2011) an English priest known all over the world as a Bible teacher and preacher and the author of many books. In 2005 Time Magazine ranked him amongst the 100 most influential people in the world.
The mission of the church cannot, will not and will never die. It is true that the evidence around us today points to the unwelcome fact that the message of the gospel can degenerate in just a few generations. It seems almost impossible for the missionary zeal of any congregation to rise above that of its priest. If this is correct, then most congregations will be operating at 50% of the missionary zeal of their priest - and this is only when they are doing very well, and where there is good teaching, good fellowship and good prayer meetings. A few from that congregation, a very few indeed, may rise up to 70% or 80% in their zeal towards that of the priest. Suppose that from this congregation there is recruited someone who goes for training for the priesthood. If this man is operating at 50% when he goes to the seminary, and if the seminary is very orthodox and non-evangelical or liberal, then he is panel-beaten and sprayed down to 25% at Graduation, and in that state he is ordained and sent to another congregation. Since he is now operating at 25%, his congregation will be at 11.5%. As time goes by, a member of that same congregation may be selected and sent for training, operating at the same 11.5% and comes out from the seminary operating at 5.75% It is only a matter of time, as the downward spiral takes its toll, that the work of mission and evangelism in his church will die.
We may choose to neglect the gospel and be careless about the whole mission of God, and indeed in a given generation with a particular group of people the baton could be dropped and the mission discontinued in that place and at that time. God's mission, however, will move elsewhere and continue.
There is so much to be done in the church and world today. In the same way in which Jesus spoke concerning the harvest in Israel, "The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few" (Matthew 9:37), so is he speaking in our time and in our context.
We must therefore determine and say to ourselves today, here and now, that the mission of God will continue to the third and fourth generation - and beyond - beginning from us.
This means that we must firmly fix our eyes on Jesus Christ from whom, like the apostles, we will draw our example for the training and living out of mission and ministry. We ourselves must ensure that our own lives are rooted in prayer, in solid Biblical teaching and preaching, and in mission, so that we become such effective channels for Jesus Christ to use, that young, vibrant and committed men and women are attracted, trained and in turn become faithful servants in the mission and ministry of the church. It is essential that we SEE God at work, and that the next generation who will take over from us likewise see the transforming power of the gospel in action in lives, communities, churches and the world, with no respect for race, tribe, class, status or any other human consideration or barrier. If this not so, the gospel becomes merely "story-story", the church begins to die, mission degenerates into maintenance, and the devil has the upper hand. That need not happen, and by the grace of God it will not happen IF we, you and I, are prepared to allow God to use us in his way and in his time. The mission is God's mission, the dynamism is from God's Holy Spirit, the call for workers is a call to you and me.
+The Most Rev. Dr. Benjamin A. Kwashi Archbishop of Jos
Adeyemo, T.(ed.) Africa Bible Commentary, Zondervan, 2006
Barclay, W. The Daily Study Bible: The Acts of the Apostles, Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press
Boer, H. A Brief History of Islam, Ibadan, Daystar Press, 1969
Bosch, D.J. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, New York, Orbis, 1991
Douglas, J.D.(ed) Let the Earth Hear His Voice: International Congress on World Evangelization, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Official Reference Volume. Minneapolis: World Wide 1975
Kwashi, B.A. Bishop's Charge, Nigeria, Jos Diocese 1999
Menzies, L. (ed.), Collected Papers of Evelyn Underhill, London, Longmans, Green & Co.,1946
Stott, J.R.W. The Messages of Acts: To the Ends of the Earth, I.V.P.
Van Engen, C. Mission on the Way: Issues in Mission Theology, Michigan, Baker Books, 1996 12
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