Trajectories in Global Missions
I returned to America in July from China after teaching in a Shanghai university for four years, including serving occasionally more broadly in Asia; and I just stepped off of the plane recently from a one-month, five-country trip to numerous universities in Sub-Saharan Africa. I happily discovered from these travels that what missiologists like Timothy Tennent have been saying for years is, indeed, so right:
The ‘west reaches-the-rest’ missional paradigm must change; it should be replaced with the paradigm of ‘missions-from-everywhere-to-everywhere!’
The days are long gone—and probably should have never occurred—where we see Westerners as delivering the missional goods to nationals waiting expectantly at the table of need. Instead, missions is, and always needs to be, a two-way street. All Christians, from the South China Sea to the American Great Lakes, bring missional goods to the global table; and Christian servants worldwide are wise to strategically and intentionally dine at this mutually beneficial table! African believers bring things to the table that Asians don’t bring; Asians offer contributions that Canadians need; and the list could go on. In essence, Jesus’ command to fulfill the Great Commission falls equally on everyone’s shoulders, regardless of their geographical locale.
Academic Missions, ESN, and Global Scholars
As this is true for all Christian activities—from Church planting to well digging—it’s also true for Christian professors. The world needs Christian professors from, say, North America to practice their disciplines internationally. At the same time Christian professors in North America need their international colleagues. Each group brings things to the table that the others need.
This is why we, at Global Scholars, are excited to announce that the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) is partnering with Global Scholars around a shared mission. As you know, ESN (the impetus for these wonderful blog posts) identifies, encourages, and equips the next generation of Christian scholars to be redeeming influencers within higher education (EmergingScholars.org). This is predominately, though not exclusively, done in the North American context. Global Scholars’ mission is similar, but with a focus on higher education beyond the North American borders (global-scholars.org). Global Scholars has for 27 years fulfilled this mission by equipping and sending predominately North American professors from every discipline to teach in public universities internationally. Additionally, in late 2016 they plan to launch an academic guild to help further fulfill this mission, a guild that identifies, encourages, and equips local, national, Christian scholars serving outside of North America.
This ESN-Global Scholars partnership begins at Urbana! Are you interested in better integrating your faith and your scholarship in America and/or abroad? Would you like to practice your discipline outside of North America? Do you share Charles Malik’s vision: “To change a nation, teach its leaders; to teach its leaders, influence its universities; to influence its universities teach in its classrooms”? Then be sure to visit with ESN and Global Scholars this year in St. Louis at Urbana! ESN will share booth space 626/628 with InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministries while Global Scholars will be at Booth 329. Also consider dropping in on Dr. Keith Campbell’s (Global Scholars’ VP of Global Partnership) presentation, The Missional Professor in Universities Outside North America. See you at Urbana 2015!
About the author:
Keith Campbell is VP of Global Partnerships with Global Scholars (global-scholars.org). He holds a PhD in New Testament and put it to good use for four years teaching the Bible in a Shanghai university and in a Beijing seminary. He’s the author most recently of Researching Abroad: Tips and Tools for the Trade (EnerPower Press). When he’s not traveling the world for Global Scholars, Keith would rather find himself in camp beside of a mountain river next to a roaring campfire after backpacking all day, strategizing how to write this into his current job description!