I participated in a very interesting forum on Friday evening. Global Interaction, an organisation that you’d normally associate with overseas mission, hosted an evening on multicultural mission in Australia. Interested, I went along for a look see.

Well, I am glad I did. I think I have just found Sydney’s mosaics.

The forum was held at Bankstown Sports Club. Many of the participants, like myself, seemed to come from multicultural areas in Sydney’s south and west and many that I talked to seemed familiar with the Emerging-Missional conversation, including the writings of Hirsch and Frost. But like myself, they had some qualms and were keen to explore what it means to be missional in much more explicitly multi-religious and multi-cultural settings than what normally gets talked about.

At one point in the evening I raised the issue that I have raised here on a number of occasions, that I think the homogenous unit principle of cross cultural mission collapses in the face of utter pluralism (though I phrased it more in terms of how do you do incarnational mission when you’ve got more cultures than Christians). That seemed to stump a few of the mishos, which is unsurprising because it stumps me sometimes too, but simply the fact that they took the question very seriously was encouraging. The best response coming from the floor was the suggestion that maybe we have to start off incarnational but shift to multicultural church in the discipleship process. This was not dissimilar to Steve Hayes’ comments here at Glocal Christianity some weeks back. All I would add to that is the need for networking and pooling expertise, which this evening was a good first step towards. I hope there are more of these evenings in the future.

Thanks to the Global Interaction team for taking the initiative.

5 thoughts on “Global Interaction on Local Mission

  1. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for your comments, and like you, I really enjoyed the thingy that GIA did at Bankstown Sports. It’s great when what has been historically an O/s mission agency supports local initiatives in multicultural mission and church – well done Keith, Rob, Julie-Ann and Nat.
    I hope something comes of all of this because I think the homogenous stuff you were talking about is biblically inacurate, bordering on being wrong. I don’t blame the people proposing it – it’s well intentioned, just a bit dated for a 21st century Australia (much like this 1st time blogger!!!).
    If you’re into such 20th century things like real paper and ink (I am – I struggle with technology like blogs and social networking sites, after all I was born in 1960) you might like to check out a book called “You don’t have to cross the ocean to be a missionary” by David Boyd from Jesus Family Centre at Cabramatta – it’s a great book and their church is a great expression on an integrated, missional, multicultural expression of what church should be. Not perfect mind you (and they’d say as much) but very, very good and very, very authentic.
    Anyway, I’ll look forward to seeing who else responds and in what way. Again, good on GIA for being brave enough to get behind this dialogue and good on you for your comments. By the way, Mark Falson is a good friend of mine – we’re in a Pastors Renewal Group together and have been for some years.
    Blessings
    DAVID

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  2. Hi David, looks like some more face to face gatherings are being planned given the positive response. I’ve also been sounded out about setting up and online forum to keep the conversation going. Very encouraging. The book you mention sounds interesting. Do you reckon they might have a copy at Morling College? I’ll say hi to Mark for you. He’s mentioned a group from time to time that he gets a lot of value out of. I expect that’s you guys. I was in a prayer triplet with him for a while and he was the one who actually brought this night to my attention.

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  3. Hi Matt,
    It’d be good for some more face to face things because from the look of the blogs from people like yourself and Steve(?), you’re doing the heavy theological/sociological/anthropogical heavy lifting on isssues like multicultural church.
    It’s good to see people engaging with the prevailing wisdom of people like McGavran (haven’t thought about him since College!!!)
    It’d be good to hear what others think. Steve Hayes comments (and diagrams) are really relevant and I look forward to hearing more of this both face to face and via blogs.
    Bless ya
    DAVID

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  4. Matt,
    The book probably isn’t available from Morling’s library. I’m lending my spare copy to Nat from GIA and would be happy of her to lend it to you when she’s done with it.
    Cheers
    DAVID

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  5. By the way, I have just launched a forum which you can now access from the top menu bar. This will allow readers such as yourself to raise topics for discussion. Much more egalitarian which is important for this sort of conversation. Hoping we can get some good discussion started.

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