The Mission Commission of the WEA, conducted its 11th Global Consultation, from November 6 to 11, with 203 mission practitioners from 42 countries at Schonblick Conference Center near Stuttgart, Germany. The theme, God’s Disturbing Mission, emphasized the developing complexity and diversity in the practice of global mission today. At the same time it recognized that mission belongs to God (Missio Dei). The thought that God himself might be behind disturbances in the mission agenda proved to be an invitation to seek God, read His word, strengthen relationships across diversity, and bow in worship.
The reality of constantly renewing leadership was enacted as younger leaders led the Consultation from the platform. Their perspective drew attention to what is next. Speakers from India, Lithuania, Russia, Brazil, USA, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Kenya, S. Korea, South Africa and the UK took part, reflecting the broad range of global perspectives.
Table groups met all week to discuss, pray and commit to paths of obedience as God spoke a fresh to move forward in mission. Afternoon “post-it” sessions identified and focused on shared concerns and explored ways of cooperation in mission practice.
The event ended around the Lord’s Table, an enactment of the global missional community gathered by Jesus from every nation, generation by generation, and sent out as the fruit of His sacrifice.
Certain themes emerged: the challenge of developing adequate mission practice in and from contexts of complexity, uncertainty and change; and the reality of multiple approaches to mission and its practice.
A palpable sense of mutuality and interdependence reminded all that any redefinition of ourselves and our mission must take place in a context of discipleship–of following Christ together.
The consultation was designed to shape the future of the MC itself. The MC is guided in its work by a Global Leadership Council (GLC), formed from its constituency. Peter Tarantal of South Africa was elected as the new Chair. The GLC will meet in May 2012 and consider implications from the consultation for what comes next. Whatever the outcome, the consultation stands as a reminder that mission depends on God’s initiative and that he will use new and old senders to shape the future of Christian mission.