When Brazilians think about how they participate in God’s mission they are “doing missiology.” Hopefully the work of thinking will help them to do some good. If they are successful we are all likely to benefit.
The numbers of missionaries and the number of places where they work is staggering.
Brazil may now be the second largest sender of missionaries in the world.
- The implications are global–because Brazilians from many Christian groups add to the numbers of Christ followers who are attempting to follow God’s call in almost every country of the world. They are doing the kinds of things that you and I like to support: helping people out of poverty, training young people, using sports to shape the lives of kids in urban and rural settings, training people in job skills, rescuing people from sex-trafficking and worse, meeting medical needs where there are no doctors, training new followers of Christ and training leaders for they communities, and so much more.
- The implications are personal–for both the families who move away from Brazil, and for the families they meet and serve. Brazilians want to work for the good of the world, and invite people to follow Jesus. The friends of the missionaries, back in Brazil, are learning about, and engaging constructively, in the lives of people in other parts of the world, in other realities, bringing greater understanding among peoples.
- The implications are “discursive”–that is when Brazilians think, from their experience, from the Biblical story of the gospel, and as Brazilians, they are providing all of us with new perspectives and better understanding about the mission.
- They add new ways, and new words, to help all of us get our hearts and minds around what God’s mission is and how He works to bring salvation and justice to the ends of the earth.
- They add new ways and new words and new paths of service that renew the possibilities for some of the older mission sending countries (such as our own) can respond more fully to God and to His call to all to participate in His mission.
So the idea behind Martureo, the Brazilian Center for Missiological Reflection, is that much good and much harm can be, and has been done by the way Christ’s followers think about, prepare for, do and support the missionaries who enter our troubled world from Brazil. Better thinking about mission, thinking about mission that is more connected to the conversations about mission in other parts of the world and in other times in history, and thinking about mission that is “more Brazilian” are keys to tipping the balance toward doing more good.
So, in Martureo we work with influencers and doers. Martureo does not send or train missionaries. The influencers are the ones who organize and lead the process to train, support and send missionaries from Brazil. The doers are the people that some call missionaries. They are the ones sent by churches and mission agencies and who work for the good of their neighbors both near and far.
We publish materials that help these leaders think clearly about the mission and how they involve themselves in it. We teach. We do research and publish the results. We gather people to discuss progress, problems and solutions.
We trust that this will help all of us understand better the God who loves us, loves humanity, gave himself for us, and called us to be his people.