When asked to be part of this event, I asked one of the attendees if we are ready to be part of the foundation for the future of our mission going forward. After the meeting I feel like we are part of the gravel that is laid down before the foundation. We have much to do, but I think we are going in the right direction.
The result was to develop specifics for our existing ABWE teams and our American constituency through partnering, recruiting, educating and networking.
Preliminary steps would be:
1. To designate recruiters in the USA
2. To explore the potential for vision trips in the cities of Asia, especially for pastors
3. To supply stories of urban ministry in Asia for publications
There were some answers, but there were many more questions that will need answering.
The reps came from Cambodia, the Philippians, India, China, Thailand, Nepal, the US, Hong Kong and Australia for the Urban Missions Summit. There were networks developed, visions communicated and action steps considered. It was a great meeting and exciting list of possibilities for missions in the future. The meetings were in a room in downtown Bangkok. The time together was not secret, but the value and meaning to each of the attendees will be seen in the future.
The big question remains to be seen. Will ABWE, missionaries, churches, pastors and ministry partners see the opportunities in two key areas?
The first area for consideration is Asia (Australia is part of this area). The growth, finances and influence look to be moving this direction in the world. Do people see the need for reaching the vast people groups of this area of the world for Christ?
The second area of consideration is the cities. The growth, finances and influence for the various countries represented at the Summit are in the cities. Will ABWE and other missions consider this shift? Time will tell if this message catches on.
Many questions went unanswered:
- Will our communications and publications print material about the cities of Asia?
- Will funding from ABWE and our churches be considered for the cities of Asia?
- Will future missionaries begin to consider bi-vocational missions as an option to get the fields quicker? Also, will churches be willing to look at the cities and not just the ‘bush’ as viable mission consideration?
- Will organisations be willing to source missionaries from other areas of the world besides North America?
- Would missionaries look more to partnerships opposed to pioneer missions?
These are many of the questions that came from the summit. I do not think I can answer them now. I think the proof will be based on the fruit. Have the seeds of Urban Missions in Asia landed on rocky or good soil?
My opinion: I think the future of missions will continue to grow in the cities. Asia is the area of the world that the world is focussed on in politics, finances and missions. The big question of my skeptical Australian heart is... anyone is listening?
We will see… Keep praying
The adventure continues…
Urban Australian Missionary - Russell Matthews