2011- Big Tent: ‘A new texture of relationship’ World Mission Matters addressing three issues in mission

INDIANAPOLIS (PNS) This is a time of remarkable mission work, but it’s
also a time of rapid decentralization, said the Rev. Hunter Farrell, speaking
at a World Mission Matters lunch as part of Big Tent here.

Farrell, director of the General Assembly Mission Council’s World Mission
area, said that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) now has 11,000 mission
agencies — congregations that send mission workers and organize mission

“It’s such a great time to be engaged in God’s mission,” Farrell said. “We
need it so bad.”

But often, mission agencies’ best intentions are thwarted when they don’t
listen to feedback from their partners. For the past 18 months, World
Mission has been carefully listening to its global partners about how to do
mission in the 21st century.

Three central issues have emerged: the root causes of poverty, reconciliation
amidst a culture of violence and sharing the love of Jesus Christ around the

Valéry Nodem, the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s associate for
international hunger, said that the church has the moral obligation and
authority to fight poverty because it works alongside people every day.

The Rev. Sarah Henken, World Mission’s regional liaison for the Andean
region, asked attendees to imagine what the world would look like if we
really dedicated ourselves to reconciliation.

We live in a world with dividing walls — literal walls of concrete and
figurative walls of injustice, she said. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by these
walls, but when we look through the eyes of God’s love, we begin to see

Although governments and NGOs can and should provide aid, the church

alone is called to share the good news of Jesus Christ, Farrell said. When
working with unchurched people, it’s important to be open, honest,
respectful and humble when inviting them to see what God is doing.

Working with local partners to train leaders is also important. “God is
calling us to begin a movement of God’s people,” he said, urging attendees
to begin to “weave together a new texture of relationship.”