Read the full report here: Nine Game-Changers for Global Missions by Eric Swanson
- Cities: The percentage of people who live in cities grew from 8% in 1900 to over 50% now. China has between 100 and 160 cities with populations of 1 million or more (America, by contrast, has nine). Church planting and evangelism strategies that work well in rural areas must be modified to fit within the city.
- Mutuality: Rather than the dominance of West toward the rest the new world now sending and receiving nations in located both East and West and North and South. No experts here; we all need to be learners from one another.
- Partnering: Working independently may be the least complex, but often misses opportunities for well-rounded and contextual ministry approaches. We need to recognize that in most cases there is already something valuable going on locally that we should connect with rather than insisting on operating independently.
- Investing in leaders: One church begins a new ministry by asking a potential partner, “Tell us what God is doing in your ministry? Can you take us to places where this is working? How can we help you make this sustainable? How can we help you leverage what you do well across everything?” Instead of constantly starting from scratch or pouring resources in to the best local salesmen, mission leaders are learning the advantages of finding and partnering with ministries of local leaders who are already proven leaders.
- Combining good news and good deeds: Good deeds verify the good news while good news clarifies the good deeds. We must live in this tension and say yes to both.
- Greater financial accountability: “How can we get behind indigenous works without destroying them? How can we be lavishly generous but incredibly wise in our giving?” We need to admit that some ways of “helping” especially financially actually hurt the ministry.
- Business as mission: Business as mission normally falls into three categories: “Job Fakers”—supported missionaries that work under the cover of “business”—usually some type of consulting or educational service. The second group are “Job Takers.” These are folks who serve as expats overseas occupying jobs that nationals could do. The last group is called “Job Makers.” These are business people that go into a country to create jobs and livelihoods for people. Easy to aim to be a job maker, very hard to do.
- Focus: “Our church loves to be able to focus our prayers, our thinking, our going, and our giving on one massive need of the world in a specific location of the world. This trend increases effectiveness by creating deeper long-term ministry relationships in an area rather than moving from one area to another with impersonal projects.
- Technology: The printing press, radio, TV, and the Internet have allowed the church to increasingly enter a world without boundaries. Communication technology allows for developing and maintaining ongoing relationships from a distance.
Which trend affects your thinking most?