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Dynamics of international mission in the Methodist Church Ghana


Kirk Sims

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.

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2. Methodology


2.1 Design

In an effort to answer the research question1 regarding the nature and priority the Methodist Church Ghana places on international mission, methodology and design must first be set forth. The methodology of a research project is rooted in the epistemological point-of-view of the researcher, for it is ‘the approach to knowing, including metaphysical assumptions about as well as techniques for coming to terms with, social reality.’2 The study has been an inquiry of how people conceptualize and understand the church’s emphasis on international mission. One epistemological assertion starts with the premise that such social research is inherently different from scientific research. As such, this inquiry takes an interpretivist stance whereby it is understood that people can actually contribute meaning to their environment, rather than using an objectivist frame-of-reference.3 One preoccupation of this project has been an ‘empathetic stance of seeking to see through the eyes of one’s research participants’.4

Being research rooted in missiological discourse, it is also essential to clarify the research position relating to the interdisciplinary field of missiology. Jan Jongeneel has spelt out the different subcategories and the potential stances of the researcher in each. Missiology by nature is not universally normative, though some approach it in such a manner, particularly when looking at the theology of mission. Though some may take a normative approach, the science of mission and the philosophy of mission may be explored with high levels of critical distance inherent to religious studies.5 This research...

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