Andover

Dr. John Easterling

Dr. John Easterling

Rev. Clive Burnard

Rev. Clive Burnard
Group 2

Group Picture

Names in Andover

Group
Group

Barry Abel,elder, New Farm Chapel, Alresford.

David Bass, Andover Baptist Church.

Rev. Clive Burnard,Minister, Andover Baptist Church

John Butt, Andover Baptist Church (Missions pastoral coordinator)

Dr. John Easterling, North West Christian College, USA

Penny Elliot, Missionary to Tanzania.

Andrew Fairhead, Elder, New Farm Chapel, Alresford.

Sheila Few, Andover Baptist Church (women’s leader)

Roger Frith, Missions coordinator, Wantage Baptist Church

Andy Harries, Andover

Gudrun Harries, Andover Baptist Church

Dr. Tim Harries,London

Lillian Hayes,Andover Baptist Church

Colin Judkins,Retired missionary to Africa and Europe.

David Judkins,Elder, Andover Baptist Church

Peter Judkins, Prospective Missionary to Africa

Josh Kelso, Associate Pastor, Wantage Baptist Church

Janet Maughan, Andover Baptist Church, (finance coordinator)

Dr. Jim Harries,Missionary to Africa

Angela Merridale,Winchester Baptist Church

Colin Morgan, Norwich

Rosemary Morgan, Norwich

Gill Needham, Andover Baptist Church

Eileen Perriman, Andover Baptist Church

Alison Pressey, Elder, Andover Baptist Church

Julia Pring,Somerset, one-time missionary to Africa

Elizabeth Robinson, Andover Baptist Church

Elspeth Rodrick, Mission chairlady, Andover Baptist Church

Gill Thompson, Mission chair, Acomb Baptist Church

Mike Thompson, Prayer coordinator, Acomb Baptist Church

Yvonne West, Andover Baptist Church

Sheila Wilson, Andover – Anglican Church

John Fung, London

David Barnatt, Elder, Andover Baptist Church

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Keynote response to “Jesus: Our rule of Thumb” by Louis Krog

I think Julia captured the very essence of what vulnerable mission is all about by looking at the life of Jesus as our prime example of a vulnerable missionary.

There is a tendency to over complicate concepts and papers especially when speaking at conferences. It would seem a contradiction to over complicate a discussion on vulnerable mission and I think Julia struck a very good balance between complexity and simplicity in her lecture.

In the limited time allocated to my response, I would like to pick up on a few points made by Julia. I have tried to keep my response as practical as possible.

Julia picked up on an aspect of vulnerable mission which might be less obvious but just as important, non-verbal language. One of the main objectives of the vulnerable mission philosophy is to minister in the local or native language of the people. The old cliché “actions speak louder than words” is so true when it comes to our ministry. In fact, St. Francis of Assisi actually put it best when he said: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words”. So queuing up with the locals at the communal water tap instead of insisting on piped water or waiting like anybody else to get your sandals repaired instead of going to the shop for a new pair will certainly have a greater long term impact locally on your ministry than perhaps a weekly Bible study. I am of course not implying that Bible studies have no real long term value. The point I am making is that local people may be more attentive if mutual respect exist.

Another aspect made reference to by Julia is the question of local variations of the same language. Of course, the ultimate aim of vulnerable mission is to minister in the local language of the recipients. But with the ever increasing westernisation of the world, the definition of “local or native language” will change. Julia’s example of the difference in the meaning and understanding of her and Kenyan English is a poignant example of this. I guess, partly, the aim of a vulnerable mission is to preserve local and native language forms by intentionally choosing not to minister in English, even if westernisation demands it of us. In my mind, there are levels of vulnerability.

No Effort

Local English

Full Native

Part Native

Fig. Levels of vulnerable mission

Ultimately, the aim of VM is to reach the stage where we minister totally in the native language but it may be that the point of entry is initially higher up the pyramid.

But of course, as Julia quiet rightly pointed out, the VM mission choice does pose a challenge to “foreign” missionaries. How does one maintain a workable and healthy balance between “ministry context” expectations yet stay faithful to ones own past and cultural up brining. In practical terms, do we live in huts like the locals or is it ok to live in a brick house? It is an unfortunate fact that parties on both sides (i.e. locals and other foreign missionaries) will have expectations but the challenge is how we respond to these expectations.

Another of these expectations is the expectation of finance. I think in this case, both parties (i.e. local context and fellow missionaries) will share the same expectation, that being as a western missionary, will come financially equipped to invest in local ministries. So for missionaries who come to the mission field financially “ill equipped” (in a manner of speaking), the challenge of setting up locally sustainable ministries would be harder. This is especially prevalent in countries where a strong dependency culture exists. The positive outcome of this however is that at least one can be sure that those involved in setting up and running these financially sustainable ministries are there for the right reasons. It is after all easy to pay for friendship but hard to make real friends.

The financial dimension in relationships, as Julia puts it, will always be a hard one but I am of the opinion that it cannot be one that should be avoided in ministry. I agree with Julia in that we must “try and teach the value of trust and true friendship” but this can only be done by changing people’s financial expectations of “foreign” missionaries.

Normally, when people’s expectations are not met, the will simply move on but, if we are able to change people’s expectations we stand a better change of producing more locally sustainable ministries, and very often, the only way in which we are able to change people’s expectations is addressing issues head on, in this case finance.

Time does not permit any further discussion but I would like to conclude by commending Julia for pointing to Jesus as our rule of thumb.

The only real way in which we will be able to make the right choices and over come the challenges a vulnerable mission lifestyle throws at us, is by looking at the ultimate vulnerable missionary.  Vulnerable mission is about relationships as Julia pointed out and we will not have to look further than the relationships Jesus enjoyed with a variety of people yet he was able to bring his message across effectively by engaging with people in a way they understood.