Nike theology and mission

I have observed two tendencies in the relationship between mission and theology. On one hand, there is an unhealthy pragmatism in mission—a sort of ‘Nike Missiology’–don’t think, ‘Just Do It.’ However, mission without theological reflection tends to repeat the mistakes of the past or becomes a pragmatic attempt to find the cheapest and quickest way to fulfil an already decided course of action. On the other hand, there is a tendency in theology to reflect, often upon abstract themes, uniformed by and with little relevance to, mission practice. This sort of theological reflection is doomed to suffocate in the rarefied atmosphere of abstract debate.

Theology needs to navigate a pathway between these two errors and create a space where people can think and discuss openly and honestly about the concrete issues being faced in mission today. It needs to start with specific contexts and reflect theologically and practically upon those contexts, in the light of the gospel.