Thursday, May 9, 2013

Is Cambodia the future of the global UMC?

Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Assistant Professor of Religion and Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership at Ripon College.

In a recent online post, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) highlighted their work in Cambodia.  Methodist missions in Cambodia are a joint, cooperative effort by The United Methodist Church, the French-Swiss United Methodist Church, the Korean Methodist Church, the Singapore Methodist Church, and the World Federation of Chinese Methodists.  The goal of mission work there is to develop an autonomous Methodist Church by 2016.  In addition to the variety of Methodist Churches involved, there is substantial national variety within the United Methodist missionaries in Cambodia.  The group includes a Kenyan, a Filipino-American, and a Bangladeshi.  Cambodia may be seen as a model of missions cooperation where United Methodists are active globally in partnership with other autonomous Methodist Churches and without a long-term goal of formally extending the denomination.  Yet, Cambodia may also be seen as a challenging mix of identities and organizations that might complicate the articulate and achievement of mission goals.  What do you think - Is Cambodia the future of global UMC mission efforts?  Should it be?

1 comment:

  1. A simple comment - an international team of missionaries working out their own cultural and ecclesial differences while they work together in a new cultural context is probably the most effective way to engage in mission. The kind of linear mission that sets uniform goals and shapes efforts toward realizing them is antithetical to living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in complex cultural situations being shaped by rapid social change.

    And praise the Lord if their goals do not include "extending the denomination." We forget that the concept of "denomination" arose in the US context to manage our particularly American religious diversity. It has no particular relevance globally. A global CHURCH will need an ecclesiology built on something a little more substantial than denomination or ecclesial branding. We don't have that yet.