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Dynamics of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana

by Kirk Sims (Author)
Thesis 408 Pages

Summary

This book assesses the conceptualisation of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana. It demonstrates that Ghanaian Methodists possess a robust ecclesiology with roots in the Akan concept of «abusua» and an evangelical theology rooted in John Wesley. The author gives interpretations to the ways mission takes place and proposes twelve models of mission whereby members of diasporic communities are agents of mission. As mission is seen a responsibility of the whole church, mission is a common theme related to the migration of Ghanaian Methodists to other contexts, often understood in terms of in the global North. The church’s presence in North America and Europe presents challenges and opportunities that must be negotiated in a broader Methodist mainline milieu.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • Charts, figures, graphs, and tables
  • Abbreviations
  • 1. Mission from the majority world
  • 1.1 Aims and objectives
  • 1.2 Scope
  • 1.3 Missiological discourse on mission from the majority world
  • 1.3.1 Historical expressions
  • 1.3.2 Discourse on the subject
  • 1.3.2.1 The North looking South
  • 1.3.2.1.1 World Church bodies
  • 1.3.2.1.2 In missiological circles
  • 1.3.2.2 Southern theologians have focused on missio ad intra
  • 1.3.2.3 Migration and diaspora discussions
  • 1.3.2.4 Something altogether new is emerging
  • 1.4 Signs of a paradigm shift
  • 1.4.1 Established northern paradigm
  • 1.4.2 Indicators of an emerging paradigm
  • 1.4.2.1 Strategy and structure
  • 1.4.2.2 Parallels the pre-Constantinian church
  • 1.4.2.3 Spreading through networks
  • 1.4.2.4 Ministry to and through the diaspora
  • 1.4.2.5 Not exercising traditional hegemonic relationships
  • 1.4.2.6 Living off the land
  • 1.4.2.7 Different doors
  • 1.4.2.8 Globalisation
  • 1.4.2.9 Multidirectional
  • 1.4.2.10 Southern spirituality
  • 1.4.2.10.1 Spiritual power
  • 1.4.2.10.2 Worship style
  • 1.4.2.10.3 Prayer
  • 1.4.2.10.4 Gospel presentation
  • 1.4.2.10.5 Zeal
  • 1.5 Structure of this book
  • 1.6 Conclusion
  • 2. Methodology
  • 2.1 Design
  • 2.1.1 Case Study
  • 2.1.2 Qualitative
  • 2.1.3 Theory
  • 2.1.4 Tools
  • 2.2 Primary research apparatus and process
  • 2.2.1 Semi-structured interviews
  • 2.2.1.1 Approach
  • 2.2.1.2 Ethics
  • 2.2.1.3 Selection
  • 2.2.1.4 Interview process
  • 2.2.2 Evaluation
  • 2.3 Conclusion
  • 3. Specifying the situation: the Methodist Church Ghana and international mission
  • 3.1 Ample documentation
  • 3.2 Rich history
  • 3.2.1 Asante
  • 3.2.2 Nigeria
  • 3.2.3 Northern Outreach
  • 3.3 Moving from the periphery and gaining traction
  • 3.4 No consistent method of international mission
  • 3.5 Active exploration of the issue
  • 3.6 Mainline churches are often neglected
  • 3.7 Not yet properly examined
  • 3.8 MCG is indicative of the emerging paradigm
  • 3.8.1 Matters of organisation and strategy
  • 3.8.2 Mirroring the early church
  • 3.8.3 Networks and diaspora
  • 3.8.4 Different spheres of influence
  • 3.8.5 Reflecting the current age of World Christianity
  • 3.8.6 African spirituality
  • 3.9 Conclusion
  • Findings and data analysis
  • 4. Analyzing the location, agents, means, and extent of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Where: the location of international mission
  • 4.3 How: the nature of international mission
  • 4.3.1 Diaspora
  • 4.3.2 Worship style
  • 4.3.3 Ministers
  • 4.3.4 Methodist deference
  • 4.3.5 Secondary aspects
  • 4.3.5.1 Rural
  • 4.3.5.2 Conferences
  • 4.3.5.3 Church planting
  • 4.3.6 A working definition of mission
  • 4.4 Why: the motivation behind international mission
  • 4.4.1 Evangelize
  • 4.4.2 Holistic concern
  • 4.4.3 Scriptural motivation
  • 4.4.4 World parish
  • 4.4.5 Ghana Ambassadors
  • 4.4.6 Ideas or teaching a Ghanaian way of life
  • 4.4.7 Changing demographics in World Christianity
  • 4.4.8 Minor observations of note
  • 4.4.9 Summary of motivating factors
  • 4.5 Priority and Future
  • 5. International mission through the modality
  • 5.1 Modalities and sodalities
  • 5.2 A sodality for the MCG?
  • 5.3 The missional church
  • 5.4 Missional expressions of modality
  • 5.4.1 Ghanaian affiliation, ministering to locals
  • 5.4.2 Ghanaian affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians
  • 5.4.3 Local affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians
  • 5.4.4 Local affiliation, ministering to locals
  • 5.4.5 Local affiliation, dual-purpose ministry
  • 5.4.6 Independent affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians
  • 5.5 Conclusion
  • 6. Methodist deference or a world parish: paradoxical realities of territorial Christianity in relation to international mission in the MCG
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Background
  • 6.2.1 Out of British Methodism
  • 6.2.2 Methodist relations in Ghana
  • 6.2.3 Methodist relations beyond Ghana
  • 6.3 Living with the remnants of Christendom on the world stage
  • 6.4 ‘The world is our parish’
  • 6.4.1 Background with Wesley
  • 6.4.2 World parish in Ghanaian Methodism
  • 6.5 Assessing the tension
  • 7. The role of migration in mission
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Ghanaian migration
  • 7.3 Patterns of church planting among the Ghanaian migrant communities
  • 7.3.1 The Abrahamic model
  • 7.3.2 The Macedonia model
  • 7.3.3 The Jerusalem model
  • 7.3.4 The Samuel-Eli model
  • 7.3.5 The Nehemiah model
  • 7.4 Through the lens of the e-scale
  • 7.5 Looking to the future
  • 7.6 Conclusion
  • 8. Models of diaspora mission
  • 8.1 Jongeneel and Noort
  • 8.1.1 Internal mission
  • 8.1.2 Reverse/external mission
  • 8.1.3 Common mission
  • 8.2 Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
  • 8.2.1 To the diaspora
  • 8.2.2 Through the diaspora
  • 8.2.3 Beyond the diaspora
  • 8.3 Proposed models
  • 8.3.1 Intra-cultural intra-church mission to the diaspora
  • 8.3.2 Intra-cultural mission to the diaspora
  • 8.3.3 Intra-cultural diaspora return mission
  • 8.3.4 Intra-cultural mission to the diaspora elsewhere
  • 8.3.5 Cross-cultural mission by the diaspora
  • 8.3.6 Cross-cultural intra-church mission by the diaspora
  • 8.3.7 Cross-cultural mission beyond the diaspora
  • 8.3.8 Cross-cultural diaspora return mission
  • 8.3.9 Inter-cultural collaborative mission by the diaspora
  • 8.3.10 Inter-cultural intra-church collaborative mission by the diaspora
  • 8.3.11 Inter-cultural collaborative diaspora return mission
  • 8.3.12 Inter-cultural collaborative mission beyond the diaspora
  • 8.4 Conclusion
  • 9. Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Central terminology
  • Mission
  • Majority world
  • Mission from the majority world (or majority world mission)
  • International mission
  • Africa
  • West Africa
  • Mainline
  • World Christianity
  • Modern missionary movement
  • Migrant
  • Diaspora
  • Statement of ethics
  • Consent form
  • Interviewees
  • Codes
  • Demographic codes
  • Codes from the interviews
  • Fuzzy set codes
  • Presiding bishops of the Methodist Church Ghana
  • Bibliography
  • Series index

| 17 →

Charts, figures, graphs, and tables

Diagram 5.1 Ghanaian affiliation, ministering to locals (GAML)

Diagram 5.2 Ghanaian affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians (GAMG)

Diagram 5.3 Local affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians (LAMG)

Diagram 5.4 Local affiliation, ministering to locals (LAML)

Diagram 5.5 Local affiliation, dual-purpose ministry (LADPM)

Diagram 5.6 Independent affiliation, ministering to Ghanaians (IAMG)

Diagram 8.1 Internal mission

Diagram 8.2 Reverse/external mission

Diagram 8.3 Common mission

Diagram 8.4 Mission to the diaspora

Diagram 8.5 Mission through the diaspora

Diagram 8.6 Mission beyond the diaspora

Diagram 8.7 Intra-cultural intra-church mission to the diaspora

Diagram 8.8 Intra-cultural mission to the diaspora

Diagram 8.9 Intra-cultural diaspora return mission

Diagram 8.10 Intra-cultural mission to the diaspora elsewhere

Diagram 8.11 Cross-cultural mission by the diaspora

Diagram 8.12 Cross-cultural intra-church mission by the diaspora

Diagram 8.13 Cross-cultural mission beyond the diaspora

Diagram 8.14 Cross-cultural diaspora return mission

Diagram 8.15 Inter-cultural collaborative mission by the diaspora

Diagram 8.16 Inter-cultural intra-church collaborative mission by the diaspora

Diagram 8.17 Inter-cultural collaborative diaspora return mission

Diagram 8.18 Inter-cultural collaborative mission beyond the diaspora

Figure 4.1 General flow of ideas and values

Figure 8.1 Key

Graph 4.1 Locations of MCG’s international mission presence known to MCG members in Ghana ← 17 | 18 →

Graph 4.2 Locations of MCG’s international mission presence known to MCG members in Ghana (external missionaries to Ghana excluded)

Graph 4.3 International mission in African contexts known to MCG members in Ghana

Graph 4.4 Level of priority the MCG places on international mission according to the perception of interviewees

Graph 4.5 View of the future of international mission in the MCG

Graph 4.6 Perceptions of the priority and future prospects of international mission in the MCG

Graph 7.1 Immigrants from Ghana

Table 4.1 Nature of MCG international mission is among diaspora

Table 4.2 Nature of MCG international mission is among diaspora

Table 4.3 Worship style as an aspect of international mission

Table 4.4 Worship style as an aspect of international mission

Table 4.5 Conceptualisation of sending ministers

Table 4.6 Conceptualisation of sending ministers

Table 4.7 Role of laity mentioned as part of international mission

Table 4.8 Role of laity

Table 4.9 Role of laity

Table 4.10 Methodist deference

Table 4.11 Methodist deference

Table 4.12 Ministry in rural areas

Table 4.13 Attending conferences as an expression of international mission

Table 4.14 Church planting as an expression of international mission

Table 4.15 Evangelism

Table 4.16 Evangelism

Table 4.17 Evangelism

Table 4.18 Evangelism

Table 4.19 Evangelism as an imperative

Table 4.20 Holistic mission activities

Table 4.21 Holistic mission activities ← 18 | 19 →

Table 4.22 Holistic mission activities

Table 4.23 Holistic mission activities

Table 4.24 Evangelistic and holistic mission activities

Table 4.25 Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8

Table 4.26 Matthew 28:19-20

Table 4.27 Acts 1:8

Table 4.28 Matthew 28:19-20 or Acts 1:8

Table 4.29 World parish

Table 4.30 World parish

Table 4.31 Ghana ambassadors

Table 4.32 Teach Ghanaian way of life and exchange of ideas

Table 4.33 Flow of new ideas

Table 4.34 Teach Ghanaian way of life

Table 4.35 Southern shift or northern decline

Table 4.36 Southern shift

Table 4.37 Northern decline

Table 4.38 Ragin’s six value fuzzy sets

Table 4.39 Fuzzy set values assigned to the priority MCG members perceive it places on international mission

Table 4.40 Fuzzy set values assigned to the perception of the future of international mission in the MCG

Table 4.41 Perceptions of the priority and future prospects of international mission in the MCG

Table 4.42 Perceptions of the priority and future prospects of international mission in the MCG

Table 5.1 MCG congregations in southern Burkina Faso

Table 5.2 GAMG congregations

Table 5.3 Distinctly Ghanaian congregations/services in another denomination

| 21 →

Abbreviations

AACC All Africa Council of Churches

AIC African Independent/Instituted/Initiated Churches

AME African Methodist Episcopal Church

AMEZ African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Benelux Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg

BMC British Methodist Church/ the Methodist Church (Great Britain)

BOM Board of Ministries in the MCG

BSRRD Board of Social Responsibility and Rural Development

CoP Church of Pentecost

CoN Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

CME Christian Methodist Episcopal Church

CMS Church Missionary Society

GBGM General Board of Global Ministries of the UMC

GMF Ghanaian Methodist Fellowship in the BMC

ECWA Evangelical Church of West Africa

EmK Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche/ the UMC in Germany

EMR Evangelism, Mission, and Renewal Division of the MCG

Evg. Evangelist

GMF Ghana Methodist Fellowship of the BMC

IAMS International Association of Mission Studies

KS Kirk Sims

MCCA Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas

MCG Methodist Church Ghana

MMM Modern missionary movement

MOU Memorandum of understanding

NAM North American Mission of the MCG

Prof. Professor

Revd Reverend (may also be coupled with Very, Rt [right] and Most)

SIM Sudan Interior Mission/Serving in Mission

SMC Supervising Missions Coordinator of the NAM

SPG Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

SUWMA Susanna Wesley Mission Auxiliary

UCC United Church of Canada

UK United Kingdom

UMC The United Methodist Church

UN United Nations

US/USA United States (of America)

WCC World Council of Churches

WMC World Methodist Council

WMMS Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society

| 23 →

1. Mission from the majority world

This last generation has seen a significant shift in World Christianity. The demographic centre of gravity has moved to the global South,1 and with the new state of Christianity, one reality is that mission has been emanating from the new heartlands of the church. Though it is argued by some that the North still maintains a degree of theological and financial ascendency in World Christianity,2 the growing existence of Christians from the majority world beyond their homelands is having a bearing on the nature of the universal church. This presence is being understood in light of Christian mission, and such a perspective challenges some of the missiological understandings of the modern missionary movement (MMM).3

As early as the 1970s, a handful of scholars began to take note of the inchoate actuality of macro-trends in what has emerged as a kairos4 in the whole of church history.5 It was becoming evident that ‘the new chapter of Christian history’, was ‘… a Christianity without Christendom, a Christianity more and more determined by the southern continents.’6 Christianity was emerging as a ‘true world faith’ and ← 23 | 24 → at the same time ‘becoming a non-Western religion’.7 With these different realities come new topics to examine, and certainly, mission from the majority world is a subject worthy of exploration.

1.1 Aims and objectives

This book elucidates some shifts of epic proportions by looking at a particular case study that can be illustrative of some of the mission thinking with provenance on the African continent. The specific church I shall examine is the Methodist Church Ghana (MCG), a denomination that has a long history in its context and has had an increasingly stronger influence beyond the borders of Ghana. From a religious studies perspective, this work is theoretically rooted in the missiological discourse on mission from the majority world,8 and it is using this solitary case as an example that will add to the broader body of literature on African missiology. This book seeks to answer the following research question.

How does the Methodist Church Ghana understand and engage in international mission, and to what extent does it place priority on international mission?

The central research apparatus has been designed to answer this particular question. The data are initially sorted and then assessed through fuzzy sets in chapter four. Further analysis takes place in the subsequent chapters.

This book has three central aims:

1. To discover how international mission is conceptualized in the MCG,

2. To ascertain the extent of prioritisation the MCG has for international mission, and

3. To give identification to the ways in which the MCG is involved in international mission.

1.2 Scope

The research presented here is limited to the understanding of international mission among self-identified Ghanaian Methodists. These will be voices from within the Methodist Church Ghana and from Ghanaian Methodists in sister Methodist denominations where Ghanaian Methodism is given a level of formal recognition outside Ghana. This is a contemporary study, with the conclusions based on the understandings present in the MCG between June of 2011 and October of 2013 when the primary research source materials were collected.

It is also helpful to say what this book is not trying to accomplish. By looking at a single denomination, this work cannot make universal claims. As a corpus of ← 24 | 25 → cases amasses, it will give more definition to the broader incipient framework that is taking shape. This case in and of itself cannot define the nascent paradigm, but it can offer additional insights that contribute to the broader discourse. Though migration and diaspora mission are significant themes that emerge in this piece, it is not simply an addition to ‘diaspora missiology’ since models not involving migrants are examined and are also a part of the conceptualisation of mission throughout this denomination. Although some history is explored, this work is not a historical examination. Except for raising a few questions for further exploration, it is not a projection of future normative practices. I shall now turn our attention to the broader intellectual setting of this book before returning to the specific context of the Methodist Church Ghana.

1.3 Missiological discourse on mission from the majority world

Mission from the majority world is far from being a new thing, yet its incipient prominence is coming more and more to the fore, and it is gaining traction with scholars considering its implications in this epoch of church history. For those in the North, it has been a time of coming to terms with the new reality, but it has been difficult for many to grasp the depth and breadth of the new ways of thinking. Much of the missiological writing on and from the majority world has focused on mission praxis rather than the flows of mission. However, mission from the majority world must be seriously understood as the church in the South will certainly have a growing influence on world mission during the unfolding generations.

1.3.1 Historical expressions

Before this burgeoning epoch, we can see that in previous cycles in the serial nature of church history, it was not uncommon for churches in what is now known as the majority world to have vast reaches in mission.9 Majority world mission has been taking place throughout the whole of Christian history, and that is evident in the reality that Christianity did not become primarily a religion centred in the North until around the year 900.10 Some earlier examples of missionary activity egressing from beyond the West would be the Nestorians from Mesopotamia and Persia who had penetrated into China in the seventh century11 and the interaction between the ‘Thomas Christians’ of India with fellow believers from the Oriental Churches ← 25 | 26 → for the better part of the last two millennia.12 Walls has written on the influence of Sierra Leone which ‘in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth probably produced more missionaries, ministerial and lay, per head of population than any other country in the world.’13 Stories abound about the nineteenth century African, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who led efforts as ‘bishop of the countries of Western Africa beyond the limits of the Queen’s dominions’14 to the Karen missionary societies that date to the 1830s15 or the Jamaicans who laboured alongside the Basel Mission in Ghana during the 1840s.16 However, statistically, international mission coming out of the majority world after the dawn of the MMM has only begun to gain significant traction within the last couple of generations,17 and it is growing at a much faster rate than mission from the West.18

1.3.2 Discourse on the subject

It can easily be argued that the modern missionary movement was a catalyst for great growth in World Christianity. Though much of the mission has been done by Africans, the MMM has had its influence in the numerical increase in places like West Africa. This region saw its Christian population swell from 557,000 to ← 26 | 27 → 109,752,000 between the years 1910 and 2010, representing an astounding annual growth rate of 5.43 per cent.19 It was as if a snowball had been started to form and roll, ever so slowly in the nineteenth century until, little by little, this snowball had gained so much momentum that it proportionately became an avalanche. Before they knew it, many in the initiating countries were not quite ready for the momentum of what became the church in Africa.20

The ‘younger churches’ were not very represented at Edinburgh 1910, displaying the general single-directional nature of mission and the notion of who was directing mission efforts. For the better part of the twentieth century, the church in Africa grew steadily and without much fanfare. African evangelists, lay people, and pastors mostly carried out this expansion.21 Much of their efforts were in contextualizing and inculturating the Gospel and the faith.

1.3.2.1 The North looking South

As Africans were busy adapting polities from the West in newly independent denominations on their own terms by asking questions of connecting theology to deep questions of life and in trying to keep up with more large numbers of new disciples, some in the North began to take note of new mission activity from the South. Long had voices in the West been calling for robust independent indigenous churches. Henry Venn (Britain), Rufus Anderson (America), and later interpreters had their ideas influence mission leaders, strategists, and practitioners. Their ‘three self’ principles continue to carry much weight in mission circles.22 However, Pierson posits ← 27 | 28 → that Venn and Anderson had not developed an understanding of the independent self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating churches becoming mission senders beyond their immediate context.23

1.3.2.1.1 World Church bodies

Details

Pages
408
ISBN (PDF)
9783631745182
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631745199
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631745205
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631744215
Language
English
Publication date
2018 (October)
Tags
World Christianity Migration mission Post-colonial Majority World Non-western Christendom
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2018, 408 p., 32 b/w ill., 46 b/w tab.

Biographical notes

Kirk Sims (Author)

Kirk S. Sims is the Intercultural Studies academic program coordinator at Asbury University in Kentucky. He holds a PhD from Middlesex University/Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. An ordained United Methodist minister, he has served in ministry and lived in the US, Ghana, the UK, and Germany.

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Title: Dynamics of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana