Theme Verse: Mark 16:15
Dr. Gabriel Amoateng-Boahen, Missions Director, G-CCR-NA
Theology - According to Anselm, is faith-seeking understanding (Saint Anselm (1033-1109 was a Benedictine monk, Christian philosopher, and scholar who is recognized for many intellectual accomplishments, including his application of reason in exploring the mysteries of faith and for definition of theology as “faith-seeking understanding.” Faith for Anselm is more a volitional (the faculty or power of using one’s will) state than an epistemic (of or relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation) state: It is love for God and a drive to act as God wills. In fact, Anselm describes the sort of faith that “merely believes what it ought to believe. To “have faith” is to be in personal relationship with God, who is the truth himself). Simply put, trying to locate the God factor in the journey of faith for myself and to help others to do same.
Mission – Scholars generally define mission to include two main key elements, firstly, as an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically, involving travel; and secondly, the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially, a Christian one, to go into the world and spread its faith. For our purposes we will limit our discussion/focus to the following:
- To proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God.
- To teach, baptize, and nurture new believers.
- To respond to human need by loving service [For example, supplying food, clothing, medicine, relief services after a disaster (Samaritan Purse of the BGEA), and others].
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society (corruption, racism, discrimination, marginalization of the poor, and others). Each of these must have a spiritual component to preach to the total person (body, soul, and spirit- 1 Thess. 5:23).
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth (the “culture of silence” and violence against humanity, abuses of all forms and shapes, bush fires and de-forestation, destruction of river bodies and the natural beautiful scenery, and others).
- The target of any evangelization campaign/effort must be the soul of the human person- Mark 8:36).
The ‘Mission Shaped Church’ Report throws more light on mission and says “God’s missionary purpose are cosmic in scope, concerned with the restoration of all things, the establishment of shalom, the renewal of creation, and the coming of the Kingdom as well as the redemption of fallen humanity, and the building of the Church” (firstname.lastname@example.org/www.derby.anglican.org)
In the past we have had more than enough discussions, meetings, presentations, seminars, workshops, and conferences (like this one) on Mission. Contemporary mission calls for a more scientific, robust, persistent, consistent, practical, and aggressive Holy Spirit- directed approaches to mission programs that are measurable and critical, honest, and easily-evaluated for advancement. Mission like its “twin” brother, evangelization, is an action word that invites all Christians everywhere to, first and foremost, share the Good News, and secondly, to “renew the surface of the earth.” The disequilibrium in the social and economic orders must change. In most countries only the 10% rich few control the 90% of natural and human resources while the 90% poor share the meagre 10% of the natural and human resources. This imbalance must stop; and to stop it calls for a change of heart, and the change of heart calls for discipleship, which is our main task as Christians.
Our Call to Mission
- Jesus: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last- John 15:16.
- Paul: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me- Phil. 4:13.
- A prayer by Sir Francis Drake, the first explorer to circumnavigate the earth: “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. We arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.”
- Paulo Coelho: “The ship is safest when it is at the port. But that is not what ships were made for.” The Pilgrimage (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), p.22. (Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, amongst them is the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. His novel, The Alchemist has been translated into 80 languages.
- Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; And suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
- Hearing Jesus’ Call to follow him (John 20:21- “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” brings focus, hope, confidence, and perseverance in difficulty in our lives. Hear this call through some of Jesus’ followers who have impacted many greatly:
- William Booth: Call to the good fight (The Apostle Paul says same in 1 Tim. 6:12).
- Amy Carmichael: The Cry of Blood.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Discipleship.
- Ruth Haley Barton: Our True Vocation.
- Pope Francis:
- Evangelize the poor: that is your mission (Catholic News Agency, Vatican).
- Evangelize with the Gospel of Joy – Vatican Radio.
- Pope Francis Puts Mission First- Maryknoll Magazine (maryknollmagazine.org-magazines).
- To Evangelize, We Must be Open to the Action of the Spirit.
- “New Pope Ranks Evangelization as the Church’s Highest Priority.”
- “One of the things that excites me most- and also scares me- about Pope Francis is his style of evangelization, which is the mission of the Church.”
- Evangelization: The Way of Pope Francis, the Mission of the Church.
- Evangelization is the mission of the Church, not of a few, but my, your, our mission.
- Pope Francis and the New Evangelization- Lecture given by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.
- Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel.
Having heard from these servants of faith above in relation to mission, it is highly valuable and recommendable to put into writing the specifics of your current understanding of your own life’s mission yet to be fulfilled (Personal reflection). Let us remember the fact that God called us together with our weakness. Your weakness can become your ministry (Please see my book: “My Ministry Is Where Misery Was”).
All the above quotes point to one thing- the urgency and the need for a positive response and prompt action to Our Call. Some notable key words and phrases are:
- I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will last - (John 15:16).
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me- (Phil. 4:13).
- Disturb us Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves (Prayer).
- We arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore (Prayer).
- As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.
- Mission to many, connotes “foreign travel”/”exploring new lands,”/ “breaking new grounds”/”attempting the unknown,” and therefore seems scary and fearful. But we can easily embark on “Local Missions”- work which is known and very familiar to us either individually or corporately. Being bold and aggressive but humble, and with the Spiritual Leadership of the Holy Spirit, is the key to Great and Abiding Success, and thus fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
The urgent need to train quality and caring leaders for the task ahead is NOW.
Contemporary Theology and Mission
- Spirit contemporary by Leon Fontaine (The Spirit Contemporary Life: Unleashing the Miraculous in Your Everyday World… By Leon Fontaine, published June 21, 2016). “He says for the first in my life I “felt’ God and witnessed life altering… He called it “Spirit Contemporary.” (Divine Encounter?).
- Locating the God factor in everyday life experiences (from rising to bed time).
Practical Theology and Mission
Practical theology as the name implies is theology at grassroots, theology that is practical, measurable, doable, easy to evaluate, and re-evaluate/re-strategize to move to the next level as the Holy Spirit offers spiritual leadership. Let us consider the following for Local and International/Global Missions to set specific mission-oriented goals as we mission through:
- Hospital and health institutions outreach ministry.
- Prisons Ministry.
- Educational Institutions (Teachers/Professors, Staff, Students, and Parents at all levels.
- Professional Missions (medical missions, teachers and students exchange programs to Ghana and other places).
- Marketplace mission.
- Taxi and truck drivers at the stations.
- Farmers (to reach them on their farms).
- Men’s ministry.
- Women’s ministry.
- Youth ministry (Career guidance and counseling, camps, and conventions).
- Widows, Widowers, and Orphans ministry (Bereavement support and counseling).
- Church Missions (“the problem in the Church is the baptized Catholic”).
- Personally involve yourself in the Strategic Master Plan for Evangelization (SMPE):
- Pillar 1- Leadership Training (Bro. Clement Gyamfi, Bro. Charles Kluvi).
- Pillar 2- Mission Oriented Ministries (MOM) (Bro. Augustine Anyimadu, Sis. Millicent Awuah, Sis. Irene Gyasi, Bro. Gabriel Amoateng-Boahen).
- Pillar 3- Visitation (Bro. Jerome Tananibe, Sis. Veronica Brew-Mensah)
- Pillar 4- Children and Youth (Sis. Audrey Mensah, Bro. Matthew Oduro- Sarpong, Sis. Mary Kwateng).
- Pillar 5- Practical Christian Living (Dr. Maxwell Barffour, Sis. Esther Yalley)
- Pillar 6- Marriage and Family Life (Bro. Anthony Boadu).
- Pillar 7- New Travelers’ Program (NTP) and Unaligned Members (Bro. Robert F. Addo).
- Pillar 8- Priest and Religious (Rev. Fr. Fred Agyeman, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Adu-Addai, Rev. Fr. Michael Boahen).
- Pillar 9- Technology/Media Evangelization (Bro. Kofi Nyame, Bro. Michael Donkor, Sis. Eunice Serwaa Asamoah).
- Pillar 10- Welfare and Hospitality (Dorcas and Barnabas Ministry) - (Sis. Vida Ansah, Bro. Daniel Mensah, Dr. George Assibey-Mensah, Sis. Josephine Serwaa)
- Pillar 11-God Loves A “Cheerful” Donor (GLAD) Project (Bro. Donatus Kotogbor).
- Pillar 12- Physical Headquarter and Formation Center (Bro. Augustine Afriyie, Bro. Edward Boahene, Bro Alex Danso, Dr. Samuel Awuah).
Strategic Master Plan for Evangelization Monitoring and Evaluation Committee Members:
- Gabriel Amoateng-Boahen, Chairperson
- Veronica Brew-Mensah, Vice Chairperson
- Millicent Awuah, Secretary
- Donatus Kotogbor
- Anthony Boadu
- Mary Kwateng
- Josephine Serwaa
- George Assibey-Mensah
Let us discern to partner with other mission-minded ministries as below:
- Ghana National Office (Adom Fie)
- Archdiocesan Service Teams.
- Renewal Ministries
- Ghanaian Catholic Parishes/Communities
- Council of Ghanaian Churches
- University Catholic Communities
The “Ambassadorial Assignment”
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall run away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry- 2 Tim. 4: 1-5, KJV.
Now then we are ambassadors of Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God- 2 Cor. 5:20, KJV.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall repair the waste cities (nkuroagoago), the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers - 61:1-5, KJV.
The Final Apostolic Exhortation
According to Maryknoll Magazine, Pope Francis puts mission first and expresses the urgency and indispensability of missions in the Church today. He is also the first Pope since the early Church to emphasize evangelization or mission as the highest priority in the Church. While every recent Pope has noted that all Christians, by virtue of baptism, are called to mission, they have presented evangelization as one of many Church teaching, increasing vocations, and encouraging Sunday Mass attendance and confessions. While not denying the importance of these issues, Pope Francis sees them in the context of mission. “May the whole of ministry be in a missionary key,” he says. Pope Francis continues and says, “We must come out of ourselves and grow in boldness.” Boldness, of course, can lead to mistakes, but Pope Francis contends, “A Church (Charismatic Renewal Prayer Group) that does not go out sooner or later gets sick in the vitiated atmosphere of her enclosure.”
To embark on any meaningful mission work is to travel outside of you (The command in the Great Commission is Go ye and NEVER Come ye-Matt. 28:18-20). In the words of Pope Francis, “we must come out of ourselves and grow in boldness.” Our present generation is thirsty and hungry for God and the time to act is NOW and NOT tomorrow because precious unsaved souls leave our families and communities for hell on daily basis according to 1 John 5:12 (Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life). This is the time to de-populate hell and populate heaven. For a Bumper and Bountiful Harvest, we must be Bold and Launch Deeper. Let us embark on both “Defensive Evangelization” and “Offensive Evangelization.”
HOW DO I MAKE DISCIPLES?
- Have the burden to make disciples. (Paul- 2 Cor. 11:28).
- The simple discipleship message (Death at Calvary Cross, the Resurrection, Ascension, the Coming of the Holy Spirit, the Acts of the Holy Spirit, and the Second Coming of Christ).
- Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit for the opportunities.
- Have a plan (how many disciples a week, month, year?).
- Evaluate, and re-strategize.
- Journal as you go along.
- Form your disciples by equipping them with basic evangelization materials and resources.
- Give them assignments and follow up with them.
- Encourage them always to stay on top of their assignments.
- Guide them to imitate Christ (Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 11:1).
- Share the cost of discipleship with them.
- Contextualize the discipleship engagement in the light of the fivefold offices (… He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors, and teachers. Vrs 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ- Eph. 4:10-12, KJV.
God bless your missionary/evangelistic efforts.
Dr. Gabriel Amoateng-Boahen
Dated: October 2, 2016.
Missions Director, G-CCR-NA