Christianmission is the endeavor by the faithful to spread the religion,particularly to the unreached populations. Missionaries undertaketheir activities across religions and geographical areas for theprimary goal of proselytism. Normally, Christian mission is avoluntary exercise that requires one to make personal sacrifices tospread the gospel of Christ. Believers have moved to foreign lands asministers to assert the God’s blessings. Some of them have adoptednew cultures in international territories, thus take a new faith. Thepreachers are widely celebrated for aiding and influencing among other religions in the world.1However, the individuals face challenges such as hostile communities,language barrier, and inadequate resources.
Accordingto Michael (2014), Christian missions entail a set of activities,including evangelism and humanitarian works. Through evangelism, themissionaries preach the gospel to the people for purposes ofconversion to . The ministers tend to work in closecollaboration with underprivileged and marginalized societies. Theassignment trips undertaken by the preachers can be short-term,long-term, or relational. As missionaries extend their assistance tocommunities through humanitarian works, they sermon the gospel ofChrist. At times, they help in the establishment of churches thatserve as places of worship for the communities.
Somemissionaries are trained and anointed to administer sacraments, aswell as offer assistance to improve healthcare and literacy. TheDoctrine of Love requires the missionaries to engage in compassionateactivities without necessarily advocating for conversion to thefaith. Some Christian missions in the traditional times wereapproached from the outlook of trade with the intentions to explainthe societal relations while promoting the gospel. Several peopletook new religious beliefs because of the fear imposed on them by themissionaries and cooperation of leaders in the society.2
Anotherimportant concept for discussion in is evangelism. Itentails preaching the gospel to both the faithful and thenon-believers. The most common themes are theevangelism, also the church, not forgetting the apostles and theprophets, as well as the missions, just to mention but a few. Attimes, it may involve providing information about the doctrines orbeliefs aimed at enhancing an individual’s conversion to thereligion. Evangelists serve in missionaries or home communities tospread the gospel to the people. The practice can take place indifferent settings and places. The religious education, art, theproduction of religious music, and the production of readingmaterials as concepts of the gesture have given evangelism a newmomentum.3
Inthe current society, evangelism has changed to mirror the newdynamics brought by technological advancement. TV and radio arecritical resources that promote evangelism in the society. The aim isto reach a wider audience without necessarily assembling them in achurch or revival meetings. Music and dramas have also beeninstrumental in spreading the gospel of Christ with positive results.Further, evangelism movements have emerged since the 20th centurywith a large focus on contacting the unreached populations.Evangelists all over the world should engage in fruitful discussionswith the people to spread the gospel, beliefs, and practices thatmirror the teachings of the Bible. The society cannot realize itsgoals without giving great reference to the gospel that serves as atool for encouragement and promotion of excellent values andpractices. Evangelism should not be used for only the unreachedpopulation, but need to be passed on all faithful to serve as areminder of expectations from God.4
Acelebrated South African scholar, David Bosch, refers to ecumenism asthe tendencies by Christians characterized with dissimilar traditionsto collaborate through closer working relationships for the interestof the society and the gospel. The concept advocates for closercooperation between the faithful and their churches.5It is notable that the perspective does not seek to unite the variousdenominations, but rather aims at unifying religions through thecooperation of mutual areas of interest. is not amonolithic faith due to split and divergent interests as well asbeliefs since the Apostolic Age. The issue created divisions amongdenominations, which affected the unity of the society. With time,various church leaders came together to create ecumenical councils atestablishing unity between the faithful. Currently, the world hasclose to 2.2 billion Christians who subscribe to differentdenominations and groupings.
Most groupings share common traditions, although differencesexist due to language, church government, and doctrines. Establishingunity between these groupings was important and remains crucial inthe spread of the gospel of Christ. The ecumenical movement is tohave emanated from the divisions between churches over theologicalissues. In the contemporary society, the ecumenical movement has beenassociated with advocacy for peace and justice in the society. Apolitical theorist, Martha Nussbaum, called for political and moralunderstanding within the community to achieve fairness and equality.Her perspectives share commonalities with the principles ofecumenism. Through his advocacy work, David Bosch championed for anend to the system of apartheid in South Africa. He worked closelywith the faithful from different denominations for the good of thesociety. Christian unity is achievable through reconciliation andunderstanding between the believers irrespective of theirdenominations and doctrines.6
Interfaithdialogue encompasses collaboration between the faithful from diversereligious traditions or spiritual beliefs. The concept does not aimat promoting the adoption of new beliefs, but rather emphasizesunderstanding and acceptance among people from different religiousgroupings. The world has thousands of religious gatherings that settraditions, doctrines, and values. Given this, there is a likelihoodof conflicts and differences in the society that might cause adverseconsequences. The initiators of interfaith dialogue called forunderstanding between religions to promote harmony and coexistence.Recently, the interbelief dialogue has emerged to help in theinclusion of other non-aligned individuals such as atheists. The newconcept considers that an individual may have philosophical beliefs,but lack alignment to any religion.7
Theworld has local and international interfaith initiatives gearedtowards promoting unit across religions and faiths. The thinkingdrives the creation of the concept that religion has a major role inthe promotion of peace and harmony in the societies. As such,dialogue among religions promotes good values that inform othersocial facets. It has contributed to understanding the role ofreligion in peace building. Different Christian denominations need towork together, alongside other faiths, to promote interreligiousdialogue. It is broadly accepted that religious practices provideinformation, more human interaction, and enhancement in makinginformed choices in life. The missionaries taught the values ofreligions and their importance to humankind. valuesadvocate for respect for the wishes of oneself and other religions asenshrined in the teachings of the Bible. Interreligious dialogue hassignificant benefits to the society, including the government in itsefforts to achieve a cohesive society that respects justice andfairness (Hedges, 2014, p. 202).
Abraham,William J. Artof Evangelism: Evangelism Carefully Crafted into the Life of theLocal Church(Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2011).
Hedges,Paul. "Interreligious Engagement and Identity Theory: Assessingthe Theology of Religions Typology as a Model for Dialogue andEncounter." Journalfor the Academic Study of Religion27, no. 2 (2014): 198-221.
Michael,Matthew. "African Theology and the Paradox of Missions: ThreeIntellectual Responses to the Modern Missions Crisis of the AfricanChurch." Transformation:An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies31, no. 2 (2014): 79-98.
Scherer,James A. NewDirections in Mission and Evangelization 2: Theological Foundation(NewYork: Orbis Books, 2015).
1 Michael, "African Theology and the Paradox of Missions,” 81.
2 Michael, "African Theology and the Paradox of Missions,”86.
3 Abraham, Art of Evangelism, 8.
4 Abraham, Art of Evangelism, 34.
5 Scherer, “New Directions in Mission and Evangelization 2,”11.
6 Scherer, “New Directions in Mission and Evangelization 2,” 48.
7 Hedges, "Interreligious Engagement and Identity Theory,” 200.