The Affinity World Focus Team has published a series of Resource Papers to provide information and advice about World Mission for churches and Christians.
The Resource Papers will assist churches in matters such as developing a Mission Policy and preparing and commissioning Christians for missionary service.
Christians considering short-term or long-term missionary service will find information about opportunities with Affinity Associate mission agencies and also advice on how to prepare for missionary service.
This paper outlines the composition and function of the Team. It is made up of people passionately committed to Affinity churches and to world mission from both Affinity Partner Churches and Mission Agencies. The Team does not function as an operational unit but as a connector, catalyst and a resource exchange, focused on enabling partner churches feel a vital part of the work of its missionaries and overseas involvements.
These two papers list websites that provide a wide range of information useful to Affinity Partner Churches and Associates regarding mission, missionary service and training options for missionaries. Also listed are the websites of missionary service organisations such as OSCAR, Operation World, Global Connections and Interhealth.
This paper considers such themes as the Mission of God; the church entrusted with God's mission; the believer entrusted with God's mission and the global scope of God's mission. It also poses the question "Is your church centred on both the Word of God and the Mission of God?" The Word of God commands it; the need of the world demand it.
This paper includes the cross-cultural mission policy statements of two UK churches as an aid to churches wishing to develop a policy for their mission involvement. "The smallest church has the power to make their influence felt around the world. No church is worthy of the name that does not put itself in sympathy with the magnificent breadth of the Great Commission and draw inspiration and zeal from its worldwide sweep" (Andrew Murray).
This paper offers a grid, covering eight criteria, to evaluate a church's stance on cross-cultural mission involvement under three headings: "we get involved in mission projects as opportunity arise"; "mission involvement is seen as pert of our ministry"; "mission involvement is of primary importance to us".
Based on the premise that Mission is not ours, but rather God's, this paper suggests six stepping stones designed to lead, under God, your church into a Great Commission mindset. The steps are not intended to be prescriptive but, rather, a stimulus to your thinking as you consider the context in which your church ministers as you seek to bring a truly global perspective to that ministry.
This paper addresses situations where churches and mission agencies co-operate in sending out church members to serve cross-culturally overseas. It sets out appropriate roles for the commissioning church, the missionary, the sending agency and the host church/agency. It considers the need for shared ownership that respects the commissioning church's pastoral responsibility for the missionary, the sending agency's responsibility to support the missionary and the host's responsibility for the on-site project and the missionary's role in that project.
This paper is designed to assist churches commissioning members for long term cross-cultural missionary service. The church needs to ensure that the member's call to missionary service is tested and supported; that commissioning for long-term service is undertaken well by churches and mission agencies working together; and to enable all participants and partners in the programme to find the experience fruitful. Four checklists are included to assist in this process.
This paper addresses the need for churches to ensure that their members receive adequate preparation and training for cross-cultural service overseas. That training should include such things as maintaining spiritual vitality, living and working cross-culturally, guidelines on appropriate relationships and behaviour, understanding the cultural and religious context of the region/country of service and security and risk-assessment practices etc. A comprehensive list of training options is included.
This paper includes an annotated list of helpful books for those preparing for cross-cultural ministry. There are reviews of five books on various aspects of such ministry and two books on broader mission issues, all written from a Christian perspective. Also reviewed is a secular practical guide to handling cultural differences.
This paper outlines a programme of personal partnership development, evidenced by a supporting church(es), a body of prayer partners and adequate financial support promised before entering assignment overseas. There is a tendency to think of support primarily in terms of finance; this is a mistake. The focus needs to be on building a prayer team to stand with the missionary for the long term. It outlines the means for developing a partnership team.
Pastoral visits by church leaders to missionaries during their overseas service are recommended from a number of points of view and benefit both the missionary and the church. This paper outlines seven purposes served by such visits including encouragement, understanding the ministry and context of the missionary, concern for his/her welfare and discernment of the missionary's spiritual, emotional and physical health etc.
The handling of serious crisis situations is a very challenging and inherently difficult matter. This paper gives some general information, pointers and guidelines that will be helpful as church representatives handle communication with the missionary, his/her family, the church family and the media. Links are included to more comprehensive treatment of this issue.
This statement of good practice is focused on churches commissioning members for cross-cultural ministry overseas of two months to two years duration organised by the church, or a mission organisation or other Christian organisation. It applies to individual placements, electives, team trips and gap year programmes. The aim of the statement is to ensure that planning of, and preparation for, short-term mission service is undertaken well by churches and agencies working together to enable all participants and partners in the programme to find the experience profitable.
Short-term mission opportunities bring benefits to the sending church as an opening of a window onto the world of overseas mission; for the receiving church/mission team by way of giving a burst of new energy and enthusiasm for a brief period and for the individual in giving a taste of mission that might, among other things, lead to being called to a longer-term commitment. This paper includes short-term options offered by 10 mission agencies associated with Affinity.
This paper charts some of the overseas links, in five continental regions, of five Affinity Corporate Partners, three mission Associates, one college Associate and three Publishing Associates.
These comprehensive Standards have been developed for stewards of God's grace to use in the development of any cross-cultural partnership that will involve funding. The Standards describe a healthy process of mutual discovery that can lead to a deeper participation in the love and mission of Christ especially in such cross-cultural relationships.