by Ed & Lai Kheng Pousson, Singapore, March 4, 1996 (E-Mail Internet:firstname.lastname@example.org)
On February 26, 1996, a Joshua Project 2000 leaders' meeting was convened in Singapore by Anglican Archbishop Moses Tay and the Singapore Center for Evangelism and Missions. The half-day session drew 150 key leaders, including heads of major denominations and missions agencies in Singapore. The speaker, Luis Bush, international director of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, presented the Joshua Project 2000 strategy. The participants then responded positively through small group discussions followed by corporate feedback, which seemed to indicate that the vision and principles of Joshua Project 2000 can and should be implemented here.
The feedback revealed that some of the agencies and churches represented at the meeting do target specific unreached peoples in the region and beyond. But the participants expressed that the realities and priority of unreached peoples are not widely understood by the church at large. And two groups reported that only about 10% of Singapore's long term missionaries are actually pioneering in unreached people groups. Other challenges which the groups noted included fragmentation, duplication, insufficient commitment to church planting, and the lack of cooperation between churches and missions agencies. Direct links between Singapore churches and overseas churches characterize much of Singaporean missions. But it was noted that too few of these partnerships actually go beyond church development among reached peoples to pioneer new churches among unreached peoples abroad. But the discussion groups strongly affirmed Singapore's massive missionary potential in terms of many sending churches, missions agencies, long term missionaries, wealth, resourcefulness, and partnerships with overseas ministries that are within fairly easy access to least evangelized peoples.
Overall, the session stimulated greater awareness of untapped potential here and a sense of urgency to make strategic adjustments and move forward with a sharper-than-ever focus on the least evangelized peoples of the Joshua Project 2000 list. A full day follow-up meeting of executive leaders of major denominations, churches, and missions agencies has been set for March 21 this year. The leaders will then consider how best to work together for a Joshua Project 2000 missions expression in Singapore, and to discuss the possibility of Singapore hosting a Southeast Asia Joshua Project 2000 consultation some time in 1997.
JOSHUA PROJECT 2000 SINGAPORE LEADERS MEETING WITH LUIS BUSH
26 FEB 1996
by Andre de Winne, Executive Director, Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Mission (SCEM)
DISCUSSION AND FEEDBACK SUMMARY
NOTE: A plus (+) sign at the end of a statement means that this was explicitly mentioned by more than one discussion group.
Question 1: Where are we right now in missions?
Much of our existing mission work is still in the beginning stages There is not much pioneering among truly unreached groups (+); only 10% are in pioneering (frontier missions) work. There is a trend towards training nationals rather than sending Singaporeans We tend to focus more on work in urban areas Although many churches work through mission agencies, an even larger number is sending direct, or through direct church links. Tentmaking is becoming more prominent We suffer from tunnel vision; there is a lack of data and resources The exit of a team often results in a slow-down of the work The working relationship between churches and agencies needs more research; there is a need for reconciliation and healing of relationships between the two in order for partnership to take place. There is lots of ignorance, hindering true partnerships There is a go first mentality, then we worry about strategy, priorities...
Question 2: How well are we doing?
We are not doing enough There is a lack of understanding of the task (+). The concept of an unreached people group is still not well understood. Too many still think only in terms of tribesmen with bones through their noses. A lack of willingness to go; we tend to go to the more comfortable places, very few want to venture into say, Africa. Adopting an unreached people group is not adopting a set of statistics. Where is the compassion? There is fragmentation and duplication of efforts. The Joshua project will help to bring better focus.
Question 3: How strategic are our partnerships with ministries overseas?
Networking and partnerships are essential (+), if not, we are trying to re-invent the wheel There must be a greater effort to build trust & relationships, cultivate accountability There must be reconciliation and a mutual recognition between churches and mission agencies. Both have a role to play. Local churches are missing out on a lot if they dont work with agencies. Partnerships are strengthened or activated by sending out our best people. instead of bringing people here for training, we should bring the training to them.
Question 4: How do we move forward in our responsibility to the least evangelized peoples in our region?
Train pastors in missions. Provide important mission information to pastors. Make it practical, how to... fire up the pastor or fire him! The church needs to be much more pro-active in missions: suggestions include: identifying couples who may in time to come be interested in going to an UPG mobilizing the congregation for short exposure trips challenge young people to give up one year for missions. challenge the congregation to break out of their comfort zone : relocate to a less comfortable location in Singapore to identify with the unreached. retirees can serve as senders or even goprayer mobilization, e.g. through SWN (+) Need to be more focused, also in prayer: have special interest groups to pray & work towards reaching countries, e.g. Lets pray more and talk less about prayer. Have a quarterly AD2000 meeting to facilitate networking; this can be focused on special interests or countries, e.g. Vietnam. Don't forget UPGs in Singapore: Japanese, P.R. Chinese workers, migrant workers from Bangla desh, Sri Lanka. Follow-up is essential, in partnership with agencies. Equip nationals in other countries to reach groups in those countries. (+) Churches should work with mission agencies to be active and effective in
starting new work among UPGs (+). Pastors tend to go by vision, own plans or existing relationships; they should link up with agencies.(+) Mission agencies should change their recruiting strategy: instead of recruiting through conferences, they should concentrate more on working with pastors and church leaders who can then help to recruit from their congregations. Stop duplicating efforts. (+) Emphasize long-term training e.g. language and translation ministry so that people can be reached more effectively. Have much more and really effective networking (+), including the giving of financial resources. Equip and support nationals: trust them; dont just pay for a bicycle or a computer, support the national pastors / evangelists... Use social projects, e.g. education, medical work, arts & crafts etc. for restricted access nations. Have a National Missions Consultation (+), integrating all aspects of the task, with working committees that provide ongoing leadership, a central database (SCEM!). There must be actual mobilization of pastors of churches otherwise things will remain as just plans. SCEMs role needs to be affirmed and strengthened by provision of adequate financial and other resources. Use SCEM as a clearinghouse. More education of pastors and laypeople to orientate them in understanding the realities and needs of the UPGs (+) Many still do not really understand the concept of UPGs Redirect the many mission trips into JOSHUA PROJECT 2000 TRIPS - for on-sight prayer, research etc.
Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Mission (SCEM)
10A Townshend Road, Singapore 207608
Tel: +65 2994377 Fax: +65 2918919