Our spending on ice cream is enough to give everyone in the world a basic education. Just one of the random facts I’ve learned from reading Interserve’s Mission life and practice series.
The series of nine short booklets gives an overview of key issues for those thinking about global mission: either as those looking to go overseas or those (particularly churches and ministers) looking to support them. The booklets cover broad subjects like the Biblical basis of mission; the history of missions; thinking about cross cultural mission in a pluralist world. However, they also cover practical subjects like funding mission, spirituality for the long-haul, taking risks and working with others to engage in the great commission. And my favourite thinking about mission in a changing world and the place of mission societies in this.
For me they form a helpful addition to my recent training week with BMS. For the most part the booklets, which are all fairly short, don’t contain much that’s new: rather they are making me think about subjects from a fresh perspective. However, as well as helping me think about my involvement in mission I also believe they would be helpful to any church which seeks to engage in global mission and who is supporting Church Members in their work overseas. And if you are considering whether you should be going overseas they would be a really helpful part of your preparation.
The booklets include lots of reflection questions, which means they could easily be used with small groups, and have both footnotes and Bibliographies enabling further reading. While it is primarily focused on global mission there is lots that is applicable to mission in the UK as well.
I’ve one confession, which is that I know very little about Interserve and am not aware of anyone I know serving with them. But their thinking about the changing face of mission and mission organisations feels spot on to me. The existing paradigm, where churches contract out global mission to other agencies, is dying. As is notion of the UK being a sender: sure we will continue to send people but we also need to receive missionaries from other parts of the world and we need to adjust to the influx of people into the UK (whether as refugees, migrants, students or business people) and the opportunities that provides. The future for mission agencies, it seems to me, is to be facilitators and mentors, encouraging churches to share in God’s mission.
Anyway, the main point of the blog post is to say that these booklets are well worth the £25 they cost from kitab - Interserve resources.
And Ice cream? Well according to an article in the New York Times, Europe spends more money each year on Ice cream (and the US more on cosmetics) than it would cost to provide basic education to everyone on the planet, or everyone with basic water and sanitation.