When most people think about missions, they think about overcoming barriers, overcoming walls, building bridges to get beyond where they are so that they can connect with locals. This is old school missiology. It’s a new day. Today the way to connect with people is via networks. Networks are the way to link and connect with one another. In the past we built bridges to overcome barriers and connect with people. Today, the way to be connected is to be networked.
There are dozens of examples I could use to stress this, but here are just a few quick ones:
- The fall of the Berlin Wall.
- The Yellow Revolution in the Philippines.
- The Arab Spring—Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria.
In each case, how were these people mobilized? The internet & text messaging – the people are networked.
As it’s a new day for revolution, politics, science–well, just about everything; it should be a new day for how we do missions too.
We need to create new structures that fit the new generation of workers. We can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow. Like the men of Issachar we need to understand the times. (1 Chronicles 12:32) This is core to where we need to move missions.
I was at a table discussion yesterday afternoon and I could see a couple guys were asking the wrong questions. Their focus was on the past. The future is not going to be the past. Look at how quickly the world has changed! When I went to university words like; Wi-Fi, internet & cell phone didn’t even exist! Now we use them every day. The world is changing so fast that some business experts say you basically have to reinvent yourself every 4-5 years or you’re going to go out of business.
Missions has been trudging along using strategies that were developed in the 1980’s or earlier. We need to rethink how to do these things. It’s time to rethink missions.
I just read about how this kind of networking is happening in business to allow small start-ups to compete with large seasoned institutions. I think you're on the right track. I'd be interested to see a sending agency be seriously focused on innovation.