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There is a deepening crisis in mission as practiced by North American congregations. Many mission activities are more effective at satisfying church members than making a lasting difference, producing what's too often consumer-oriented "selfie mission." Too much effort is based on colonial-era assumptions of mission launched from a position of power. These practices are not just ineffective—they deviate from mission in the way of Jesus. Hunter Farrell and Bala Khyllep want to help free congregational mission from harmful cultural forces so churches can better partner with God's work in the world. They invite leaders to lay the foundation for more faithful and effective missions with three core elements:
Farrell and Khyllep deliver key takeaways from the latest mission research, inspiring examples from innovative congregations, and a set of step-by-step tools for churches to discern and implement sound practices that will work for them. The local church community is well-positioned to build a spreading circle of relationships centered in Jesus Christ. With this book, congregations of every Christian tradition will find practical help to direct their resources in truly life-giving ways as they seek the mission of God.
|Title: Freeing Congregational Mission: A Practical Vision for Companionship, Cultural Humility, and Co-Development|
By: B. Hunter Farrell, With S. Balajiedlang Khyllep
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2022
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)|
Weight: 14 ounces
Stock No: WW000682
B. Hunter Farrell (doctor of anthropology, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) is the director of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary's World Mission Initiative (WMI). He has worked for over thirty years as a missionary, director of world mission for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and a professor of mission and intercultural studies. He has published articles in periodicals including Missiology, The Journal of Latin American Theology, and Christianity Today.
S. Balajiedlang Khyllep (ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary) is the associate director of WMI at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and regularly preaches and leads mission workshops in Pittsburgh-area churches and beyond. He belongs to the Khasi people and grew up in northeast India.
Author: B. Hunter Farrell
Located in: Pittsburgh, PA
Submitted: January 17, 2022
Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in Dallas, Texas at a church that loved missions. I studied at Fuller seminary, served as a missionary in DR Congo and Peru for 15 years and then led our denomination's global mission work for 15 years. I have been teaching missions and intercultural studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for the past 5 years.
I speak four languages (Spanish, French, Tshiluba and English) and find a lot of joy in the act of "interpreting", i.e., helping one group to understand what another linguistically different group is saying.
I'm married to an amazing woman and have three grown children--a social worker, an occupational therapist and a pro soccer player. I'm grateful to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
What was your motivation behind this project? After thirty plus years of work in global and local missions, I wanted to share some insights and learnings from the global church with the people who-- though they may not know it-- are in fact the primary decision-makers in the American church's "missionscape" today. I began doing research for the book in 2014 and surveyed, emailed or talked to more than 1600 Evangelical, Catholic and mainline Protestant congregational mission leaders. So many of them felt ill-equipped, under-prepared or overwhelmed by the complexity of global and local mission-- as denominational structures,and the number of U.S. missionaries sent out have waned, I felt motivated to provide congregational mission leaders with practical strategies and tools they could use to lead their congregations more deeply into God's mission.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? The insights, tools and motivation to begin a veritable reformation of the way their congregation understands and engages in mission. So much of what we actually do or financially support in mission is embedded with deep colonial-era assumptions about mission (mission from a position of power, rather than Jesus' model of servant leadership) and with the most recent cultural phenomenon of what we call "selfie mission" (mission as self-improvement). In our research, we found congregational mission leaders hungry for strategies and tools to lead their people into the life-giving mission of God.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Two ways this writing project has impacted me: (1) Working with a gifted editor at InterVarsity Press, I realized that my frustration (not uncommon among long-term missionaries) with the often inefficient, paternalistic and ultimately ineffective strategies our congregations use to engage in mission (support of orphanages, child sponsorship, short-term mission trips, meal packaging programs, etc.) was rooted in my own colonial-era assumptions. As I worked with Congolese, Peruvian and U.S. urban communities, I truly believed that I knew better what these communities needed than they did themselves. In doing the historical research for the book, I saw clearly how *all of us* have been caught by the riptide of racist assumptions that are our inheritance from colonial European mission history. I tell the story in the book, but I think this discovery was one of the greatest gifts I received from the writing of "Freeing Congregational Mission".
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