From 2006-2007, Fritz Kling and his associates facilitated a “Global Church Listening Tour” with 151 church leaders in 19 countries. The Meeting of the Waters is his report on emerging trends that will affect the mission of the worldwide church. This report is timely since younger Christians are rethinking both the nature of the church’s mission and of the missionary calling.
Here are the trends that emerged through Kling’s conversations with church leaders:
- Mercy: The church must address the physical and material needs of humanity, not just their spiritual needs.
- Mutuality: The church in the developed world must interact with the majority world as peers, not as patrons who seek to control the use of their patronage.
- Migration: The church must minister to populations that are increasingly multinational, multiracial, and multiethnic.
- Monoculture: The church must realize that globalization is making local cultures increasingly similar to one another, and this face presents both challenges and opportunities.
- Machines: The church must utilize technology (especially computers) to accomplish its mission.
- Mediation: The church must take the lead in making peace and resolving the conflicts that increasingly characterize global culture.
- Memory: The church must take into account the fact that memory (especially of tragedy and oppression) shapes the way that people respond to the gospel.
If you are the pastor, missionary, or denominational leader, I urge you to read The Meeting of the Waters. It will not answer all your questions about how the church should carry out its mission in the postmodern world, but it will help you understand the questions that need to be asked and answered.
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