I’ve spent an interesting afternoon with a group from the mission department of the German Baptist Union.
I was curious to learn how they structure and resource mission in Germany. In general they seem to have adopted a regional approach where the group gather together a couple of times each year (this time for a week in the North Western Baptist Association) but for the majority of their time they work dispersed across Germany. It was interesting also to see that one of the group works part time as a lecturer in missiology for the Baptist Seminary anchoring the work in theological thought. Overall the department seems to have four main areas of focus:
- Church development (both growing healthy churches and church planting)
- Encouraging social engagement
- World (intercultural) mission (both to Eastern Europe and the wider world and international churches in Germany)
Among the random thoughts that I take from the afternoon are:
1. We are called to be church with people not church for people. We are not called to parachute in resources or to lower the drawbridge to mount a smash and grab raid but rather to work with people, learning from them as we seek to share with them.
2. God is already at work. As with the point above, we are not superior to others, rather we are called to join in with the mission of God. Often this means taking time to be with people; relationships are what matters not resources or programmes.
3. Are we sometimes tempted to be so involved in our community we forget to invite people to faith?
4. Does English Culture (or German for that matter, and leaving aside that both are really groups of cultures) tend towards ‘uncertainty avoidance’? If so, the political developments of the next few years are going to make us feel profoundly insecure.