Interested in missions but not sure how you can serve? At the Missions for Everyone event in March, participants had a glimpse of the wide range of opportunities to serve in missions. It was an eye-opener for many. Three broad areas were introduced:
Language-related roles such linguists, translators, surveyors and literacy specialists all contribute to giving people groups the scriptures in their heart languages and, if necessary, teaching them how to read.
Participants were introduced to the foundations of translation – language assessment (surveying who speaks what, where, how many), language analysis (grammar, sound system, writing system), cultural studies and training co-workers. They were also told about literacy programmes to help people learn to read and write in their own language.
“... [I learnt] how critical it is to use the heart language, arts and culture in discipleship.”
EthnoArts specialists are needed to make use of the traditional artistic expressions of a people group to reach them with the gospel. Those with skills in visual arts, music, dance or drama can serve by working alongside communities to create artistic works in the art forms of that people group to effectively communicate God’s message and transform lives.
The workshop leader shared that every culture has its own unique art forms which communicate meaning. When they worship God using their own instruments and art forms, they are both touched much more deeply, and also better able to reach out to their own community. So rather than expect people groups to adopt western music and art forms when they become Christians, we should help them use their own art forms to worship God.
"I am educated more about how translation work is done and how arts can help ethnic communities..."
Professional skills of many types are needed to provide essential support functions for field projects. There is much more to missions than just sharing the gospel! One of the greatest needs is for people with management, administration, finance, teaching or IT skills – whatever skills that God has gifted you in, there is a need waiting for you to fill! The speaker shared that although his background was in IT, he has worn many different hats in his over 15 years in the field. He spoke about holistic missions, which includes meeting the needs of communities for things like clean water and education. Participants were grouped by their skill areas (eg. business, IT, teaching, finance etc.) to discuss a case study, and saw how their expertise could make a difference in the mission field.
"I got to understand more of the variety of needs present in the field that ... that requires partnering and sharing of resources."
Altogether, about 50 people attended, and 15 indicated an interest to find out more. In fact, one young lady was has already arranged to go on a 3-month attachment overseas beginning in May!