Key evangelical educators, business leaders, and mission agency directors from around the world gathered last month in Singapore to discuss diaspora training for the global church and to prepare for the forthcoming Scattered and Gathered: A Global Compendium of Diaspora Missiology from Regnum Books. Deliberations focused on setting priorities and developing strategies for effective institutional and informal training in diaspora missiology and culminated in the crafting of the Singapore Resolution which reflects several areas of consensus about the way forward in equipping the next generation of researchers and practitioners of diaspora mission. Dr. Tetsunao Yamamori, President Emeritus of Food for the Hungry and former International Director of the Lausanne Movement, was among those at the consultation. He concluded:
“Those gathered in Singapore affirmed the importance of advancing diaspora missiology to grapple with the issues facing the church today. In the coming decade, churches will experience the fruit of God’s blessing among the peoples on the move beyond belief.”
The consultation of some 40 participants were convened by the Global Diaspora Network (GDN), an international body of leaders originally commissioned by the Lausanne Movement at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010 to lead the global Church in fulfilling God’s missional purposes among diaspora peoples. Participants characterized the gathering as a strategic follow-up to the Manila 2015: Global Diaspora Forum which brought together hundreds of leaders from around the world. Dr. Miyon Chung, theologian and professor at Morling College (Australia), was among those who left Singapore with a clearer sense of vision and strategy:
I found the consultation in Singapore and the upcoming compendium, Scattered and Gathered, to be powerfully relevant and significant. The greatness of the Church can no longer be assessed by the magnificence and opulence of cathedrals but in the effective utilization of God’s people on the move. In Singapore, I gained valuable insights and tools on how to nurture and equip the Church for missions in the 21st century.
Dr. Joanna Felciano-Soberano, Academic Dean of Asian Theological Seminary (Philippines) echoed this sentiment:
The first thing that I have done upon my return from Singapore is to reflect on the conversations and action plans within my own seminary context. I have been more conscious to include diaspora conversations in my own classes and now must work on the diaspora missiology curriculum template for our missions department. I am now more aware of the critical role of the Church and the seminary in orienting and informing the community of faith on the compelling challenge of reaching the diasporas with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hosting the consultation was the Singapore Centre for Global Mission and its National Director, Lawrence Ko. Ko said that churches must embrace the “new thinking” known as diaspora missiology and begin to understand and engage “the people on the move in our borderless world.”
The official meetings of the consultation were held from 2-5 March 2016 in Singapore and moderated by Dr. Sadiri Joy Tira, Lausanne Movement Catalyst for Diasporas. Dr. Tira often referred participants to the Seoul Declaration on Diaspora Missiology and the Cape Town Commitment call to action on diaspora, explaining that the Singapore Resolution is following up on the mandates of those statements.
In addition to crafting the Singapore Resolution, participants reviewed the forthcoming Scattered and Gathered: A Global Compendium of Diaspora Missiology, considered sample syllabi from diaspora mission courses being taught around the world, provided feedback on the Lausanne Global Classroom curriculum on diaspora mission, and developed a basic curriculum framework for training in diaspora missiology.
[In addition to my official report above, let me add a word of thanks to those who supported me and Borderless in our participation in this event. I was able to personally attend as well as help three other participants from the majority world to come as well thanks to your generosity. While in Sinapore, I used down time to have a number of very fruitful meetings with other partners. Thanks so much for standing with us! -- Cody]