My name is Jesse Brown and I am originally from Kansas City. About two years ago I was sent out as an “involuntary” missionary to South Africa. Since then, I have been blessed to be able to work with various organizations using my agricultural background as an avenue to participate in missions. God has blessed me with several opportunities living and working throughout South Africa.
God’s global perspective and engagement is as diverse as the cultures within it. God’s engagement with the world started with creation and He has been seeking a relationship with all His creation ever since. Being a people of God we are called to centripetal mission by “inviting, gathering, welcoming, receiving, embracing and incorporating those around us to Him.” Since the fall when Adam and Eve hid in the garden, He has been seeking to restore order, bring life, and restoration to the world (Gen 3:9). As missionaries, we should ask, “Is our ministry bringing order or chaos?”
“Global engagement started with God, because it is who He is.” Therefore, as missionaries we are invited to participate with what God has been doing since the beginning. From a centripetal mission of drawing people to Christ, we are sent out in centrifugal mission to engage those around us on His behalf. In Acts 1:8 when Jesus spoke to His apostles, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth,” He was simultaneously drawing the apostles to Himself and sending them out in mission.
Question to the Professor: Having listed some of the dangers of focusing too much on either centripetal or centrifugal mission, could you share some life examples you have learned from?