This month marks WEC International going through a once-in-a-generation change to serve the church better. It’s exciting…
It is not news that local churches in the UK are ever more involved in cross-cultural ministry on their own doorstep. Through this happy trend many people are discovering and using missionary gifts without leaving home.
Mission agencies, meanwhile, are an 18th century invention, designed for days when reaching across cultures could only happen with specialist finance and organization. Missions were the watchmen on the wall, scanning the horizon on behalf of the wider church. Then they were the way by which Christians called by God could bury themselves long-term in a culture, doing the deep, necessary work of incarnating the gospel in a new world. And missions were learning communities trying to work out how to learn language and culture, how to disciple people cross-culturally, train leaders, spark movements to Christ, and how to spur new disciples to missionary efforts.
Those skills will still be needed, as long as thousands of towns and villages in North Africa and the Gulf, in North India, Pakistan and Aghanistan, in Central, East and South East Asia have no Christian church.
The newer opportunity, though, is to serve local churches in the Christianized world who are reaching out cross-culturally on their own doorsteps -- not coming as experts, but fitting in as part of the array of missionary gifts that God is raising up everywhere and deploying.
Some things happen slowly for a long time and then quickly all at once. Here in WEC we are seeing something of that. In an echo of our founder C T Studd, who sold a huge inheritance to put it at the service of the gospel, we are selling our large headquarters in rural Buckinghamshire and spreading ourselves into new centres around the country, preferably urban ones bustling with ethnic minorities, students, and growing churches. Our aim is to be both global and local. We’ve been heading this way for a long time. This month—which sees our headquarters relocate to Coventry—we’ve jumped!