Recently Read: No Center No Periphery: A Regional Approach To Mission


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by Mande Muyombo

I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare, unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. —John Wesley’s Journal, June 11, 1739

Baptizing new members in the United Methodist Church of the CAR.As the General Board of Global Ministries moves to establish a headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, it also seeks to set up regional offices in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. These regional offices will provide valuable on-the-ground resources, enabling Global Ministries to be more fully present, regularly engaged, and quickly and easily responsive to the global church and its partners in key world regions.

The theology of our regional structure is based on our sense of mission “from everywhere to everywhere”—while recognizing the shift of Christianity’s center of gravity. Mission used to be thought of as coming from the center (churches in developed countries) and going to the peripheries (people in developing countries). But our sense today is that there isn’t a center anymore—that doing mission lies in mutuality, looking at each other as equal partners and learning from one another. Our heritage from the Wesleyan movement tells us that God’s grace is everywhere and everyone shares in it.

Mission in the Regions

We follow God’s mission and God’s movement—the Missio Dei—through the Holy Spirit. In this sense, the regional office becomes an avenue for Global Ministries not only to strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones but also to learn the best mission practices and facilitate interaction between regions. This structure will bring new perspectives and insights to our work. How can US churches learn from Latin America and what can Africans learn from the Asia Pacific? We are seeking to create space for learning the best mission practices. A regional structure also creates a sense of proximity with our partners.

We recognize that God is at work everywhere in the world. There is always something exciting happening in one region that may very well ignite passion in other places.

Programmatically, the regional offices will help to maximize the church’s impact. Being in closer proximity to the work, staff members can monitor and evaluate programs more effectively, while having the opportunity for more interaction in local contexts. Seeing first-hand how a local faith community is engaging in global mission, staff members can better design programming based on that community’s collective faith experience.

We also recognize that a regional presence allows Global Ministries to better respond to our missionaries in that region, enabling better supervision. Through partnership and proximity, we can create placements that are contextual and responsive to local priorities. This will help us maximize our work, whether it involves recruiting, sending, and supervising missionaries or cultivating placements. All of our programs will expand exponentially thanks to our proximity.

Global Ministries’ work in other areas—such as humanitarian aid, disaster response, global health, and finance and administration—will help us to build capacity for regional partners to work effectively in all of those areas. A regional presence also creates an opportunity for Global Ministries to forge deeper relationships with autonomous Methodist church, UMC, and ecumenical partners.

Read the rest on Global Ministries.

The Rev. Mande Muyombo helps lead opening worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

The Rev. Mande Muyombo helps lead opening worship at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

The Rev. Dr. Mande Muyombo is executive director of Global Ministries’ new Global Mission Connections unit. Originally from Katanga, DRC, he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Africa University in Zimbabwe as a Global Ministries’ scholar, followed by a Master in Theology and a doctorate from St. Paul Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. After returning to DRC, he was appointed by Bishop Ntambo to serve as director of Kamina Methodist University, where he increased the enrollment fivefold during his tenure there.

Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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