Samuel Escobar, a few years ago commented that much of the missiology emerging from North America was an application of the Harvard Business School method. This was especially true of the Homogeneous Unit Principle missiology and the unreached people group missiology. The task according to Matthew 24:14 was to reach all the unreached people groups and so Christ would come again. So in the 1980s the definition of people group was established and people groups were identified and distributed among the continents and countries. What constituted “reached” was also defined so we would know when we’d done the job.
The idea that we can organise and complete the task keep raising its head in various forms. Eddie Arthur’s blog has been blogging about a recent manifestation of how agencies, especially multinational mission agencies are making decisions about local mission that they are ill-placed to do.
So what’s the alternative? Theologically we could and maybe should admit that the task of world mission does not belong to us. It is God’s mission, the missio Dei. Therefore, if mission belongs to God then perhaps God should be the one who plans the divine mission. And of we believe, as I do that God has entrusted his mission to the local church, perhaps it is the church who should be planning and not international and multinational mission agencies.
This however, seems to be a rather messy way of doing things. But perhaps this is God’s way. Perhaps God’s way of working is, in our eyes at least, messy. Perhaps as is the case with God’s foolishness and human wisdom (I Corinthians 1:25) so it is with God’s messiness and human organisation.