In 1987, about six other Caleb Project staff and I attended Singapore ’87, a conference geared for younger Christian leaders from around the world. The event proved to be a formative organizational experience, in part, because we invested a significant amount of time conducting semi-formal interviews. We divided the list of non-US delegates between us and then we spent an hour or so interviewing each one. Our primary question was, “What is the role of the US Church in global missions?”
I don’t remember all that we heard, but I do remember being impressed by the humility that characterized many of our global colleagues. Most people we talked with were appreciative of the role US missionaries had played in their part of the world. However, they were ready to become equal participants in God’s global cause. We did not hear, “Missionary go home.” We did hear a request for mutual adjustment according to gifts and resources.
This is the same message Paul Borthwick brings in his new book, Western Christians in Global Mission. Paul does not boil the issues down to simplistic answers. He regularly answers the questions he raises with, “It depends.” I agree that this is often the appropriate response to large global issues. Today’s world is complex and solutions are complicated.
However, Borthwick does a good job identifying key issues and responsibly calls for adjustments in the way North American Christians interact with the rest of the world. His experiences and conclusions are similar to mine. This book gives me hope that Western Christians are learning to listen and truly serve our sisters and brothers in the rest of the world.
I recommend this book to you.