In mid-2011 Global Connections commissioned a strategic review of trends that are having an impact on global mission in the UK. The review was undertaken by Paul Hildreth, a researcher from Salford University on a voluntary basis through a series of interviews with selected leaders from our member agencies and churches.
The aim was to gain a better understanding of how the broader economic, technological, environmental and social context in which Christian mission takes place is influencing the work of churches and mission in the UK and across the world.
The review addressed two research questions:
- What do our partners see as the key trends that are impacting on global mission in the UK?
- What do these organisations feel that they need to do to respond effectively to these trends?
A summary of the initial findings is available for download. There are also two presentations available which were made for the Global Connections Conference in November 2011: part one and part two.
The key messages from this review were:
Church is changing - responding to an increasingly complex world where multi-cultural mission is on the doorstep, there is a growing emphasis on crossing the ‘sacred-secular divide’ and where communities right across the world can be easily reached. Traditional relationships with mission agencies are being re-evaluated as churches increasingly establish their own connections with projects and churches overseas.
Mission is changing - Fewer people are coming forward for long-term mission and the definition of what it is to go long-term is reducing. There has been a growing trend of short-term and ‘entrepreneurial’ mission. Approaches to funding have changed as nearly all agencies have moved to a ‘personal support model’ for their mission partners. Broader questions are being raised about the UK’s future role in global mission and whether it has adapted sufficiently to rise of Christianity in the global south, migration trends and increasing urbanisation.
Mission agencies are changing - Many are finding it increasingly challenging sustaining their traditional ‘people sending’ model. Most are adopting strategies to respond to changing circumstances, but others are asking whether the changes have gone far enough. Whilst there is no immediate crisis, there is a need for strategic collaboration between churches and mission organisations to face challenges for the future and to enable the UK to retain its relevance to global mission.