The world is changing. This is not a surprise to anyone who is living and breathing on planet Earth. However, the reality is that changes in the world = changes in mission work.

Let’s be clear: the foundation DOES NOT change! Jesus Christ, the gospel of grace, the Word of God – those all remain constant, unaffected by the development of human societies and cultures.

However, the contexts into which missionaries must go in order to reach unreached people groups with these foundations of truth are dramatically shifting!

 


 

What do you picture when you think about a typical church-planting work?

A remote tribal village, 100% isolated from any outside influence, zero exposure to technology, cowering in fear of “white” men who might actually be spirits?

The reality is that fewer and fewer people groups fit entirely into this box.

Today, people in remote villages on the islands of Southeast Asia have access to cellphones and the internet. Seemingly isolated animistic societies in Papua New Guinea are found to have incorporated customs that look very much like communion, a lingering tribute to a misunderstanding of some extremely brief exposure to Christianity in years past. People groups in Africa who have maintained the same land and customs for centuries are suddenly displaced due to war and find their culture and customs changing as they live in refugee camps with hundreds of other people groups around them.

Migration, urbanization, war, refugees, technological advances, political changes, travel capabilities: all of these play a part in the changing landscape of missions that Emanate graduates will encounter.

So how do we respond to these changes, positioning our students to reach this changing world?

1. Recognize the Changes
Emanate instructors and staff have extensive experience on the mission field and in ministries around the world. They bring their firsthand knowledge of the changing world into the classroom, challenging students not only to learn to evaluate the worldview of others, but also themselves.

    “It’s not just other cultures and people who are changing. As the North American culture changes, so does church culture in the West. We strive not only to understand the context that our students will be going into, but also the one from which they are coming. Both have an enormous impact in the development of the next generation of missionaries.”

-Brian Wardlaw, Emanate Instructor, Former Church Planter among the Yanomamo People, Brazil

2. Adapt the Training
While Emanate’s core values have not changed, we recognize that our students are living out those values in locations that look very different from those faced by missionaries in the past. The goal of seeing a thriving church for every people group cannot happen without workers who are equipped to live and work among people whose cultures, beliefs, and worldviews are increasingly “muddied” by the increased globalization of our world. We continue to evaluate our classes and develop content to ensure that our students are prepared to do just that.

    “The challenge of today’s world should impact us, sober us, challenge us in our equipping context to truly make the most of each moment, each situation, each class, every opportunity to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and the tools we need to be equipped with.”

-Vern Dyck, Emanate Director, Former Church Planter among the Pumé People, South America

3. Maintain Focus
Although the world around us is changing, ultimately, our vision and purposes are rooted in the character of God and His Word. Who He is and what He intends to do has not changed! As we remain focused and grounded in those truths, our purpose and vision are steadfast: we remain committed to training servants of the church to bring the gospel to unreached people groups in any context.