Summary: Christian Mission in the twenty-first century
Mission Awareness Sunday
In the November 1886 issue of the Monthly Record, the publication of the Church of Scotland in these Maritime Provinces, a review was done on a book entitled, ’A Century of Protestant Missions’ by the Rev. James Johnson. Worldwide from every Protestant tradition from Great Britain, the Americas and Europe there were 3000 ordained missionaries, 730 layman, and, get this and hear it correctly, 2500 women, sent out in what was referred to as ’all parts of the heathen and Mohammedan world.’ "These 6230 messengers of the Churches are now preaching the everlasting Gospel in 20 times as many languages as were spoken on the day of Pentecost. 27,000 native converts are now employed and paid as evangelists to their own countrymen, and 2500 are ordained pastors of native congregations. The money raised for carrying on Protestant Missions amounts to 2,450,000 pound sterling annually. 870,000 adults, converts from the heathen, are now in full communion with the Church of Christ as the result of Protestant Missionary Labour."
Mission is always about people meeting people and often what stands out are the differences in people and the cultures they create.
And finally just a quick word before I attempt to tie many of these comments together and this comes from a Dr. Pierson, in 1888, of whom it was said ’he and other leading advocates for a missionary revival are profoundly anxious to win the world, not to any denomination, but to Christ’ I wonder if your mission motto comes from him - ’the world for Christ’? He proposes a program that is so modern that the Canadian church is now promoting it and encouraging people to become part of it. He goes on to encourage exposure tours for clergy who will visit foreign lands and return home to tell the tale of Mission around the world. He writes: "Then we shall have a true missionary revival, and the pulse of a sluggish church shall beat with new life, and a new missionary era shall dawn."
"Then we shall have a true missionary revival, and the pulse of a sluggish church shall beat with new life, and a new missionary era shall dawn."
Now, ponder those words for a moment.
What were people saying an hundred years ago about mission and the place and importance of mission in the life of the church? From 1886 comes the following editorial comment:
"We want a missionary conscience that will demand no more self- denial of those who go to the front than those who stay at home. No more unreasonable demands of self-denial from missionaries by self-indulgent professors (that’s critical people, by the way) at home."
So it was desireable to have all people, those at home and those who traveled to far off places, to consider they all had a part to play, a strategic part to play in promoting the gospel.
There were always stories meant to encourage young and old alike. The Dayspring Mission of Nova Scotia was a powerful motivator for people who wanted to feel a part of mission work- sort of a hands-on experience like our ’cows for Central America’ or one of the many ’Something Extra’ projects we are encouraged to support, or some other effort that touches the local congregation and inspires a new interest in Mission. After seeing the faces of the children I went to visit in the Community Based Orphan Care Centre outside Blantyre, the Estelle MacKenzie AMS set aside money to be directed specifically to these children.
Here is a little story from 1887 listed under Mission Items:
A clergyman on his way to a missionary meeting, overtook a boy and asked him the road and where he was going?
"Oh," he said, "I’m going to the meeting to hear about the missionaries."
"Missionaries!" said the minister. "What do you know about missionaries?"
"Why," said the boy, "I’m part of the concern. I’ve got a missionary box and I always go to the missionary meeting; I belong".
The reflection was then added to this story:
"Every child should feel that he (or she) is ’part of the concern.’ and that his work is just as important as that of anyone else. Linch-pins are very little things, but if they drop out, the wagon is likely to come to a stand-still. Every pin and screw should be in working order, and every child should be able to say, ’I always go to the missionary meeting. Why, I’m part of the concern."
I’m part of the concern!
We are partners together in this great undertaking of God!
The Estelle MacKenzie Atlantic Mission Society has a powerful mission statement:
"Partnership is people of faith working together
in a spirit of mutual cooperation, providing
friendship and caring through the church and its