The World Has Changed
Church and missions leaders all over the Western world are recognizing a significant shift in the center of gravity of the global church from the Western world to the global south and far east. Western churches and missions agencies have sent personnel and resources to plant churches and ministries, established clinics and institutions, all over the world. The result, particularly during the post-colonial period of the past fifty years, has been extraordinary fruitfulness.
“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” - Author William Gibson
How and when did the world change?
- The shift south is due mainly to the growth of the Church in Africa during the past 100 years.
- The shift east is due mainly to the growth of the Church in China during the past 40 years.
- The Chinese Church has declared that they will send out one million new missionaries in the next decade.
How is the Converge platform a response to our changing global context?
With Converge, opportunities may be presented to students from anywhere to serve a global network of partner organizations. Opportunities for equipping are now virtual, and local, as a growing movement of experienced missional leaders have emerged all over the world. Converge offers a new paradigm of partnership, missional project fellowships, between mission minded people serving communities around the world.
All around us are examples of innovators and early adopters who have discovered new principles—new and more effective ways of thinking, being and doing that have yet to become the dominant or prevailing way of living.
We at Converge see the following trends and indicators shaping the future:
Mutuality. Instead of dependence on western funding and expertise, missional partners share resources and time with shared biblical values.
Movement. Young people respond to an invitation to a movement, not just a program.
Emergence. Investment in emerging leaders willing to serve and learn and pairing them with established leaders in communities is the most effective path to leadership development.
Integration. Effective organizations are focused on community development, micro banking, job creation, strength based assessments and sustainable project creation.
Accountability. Churches, foundations, and individuals are thinking more deeply about how their financial contributions are used. They are more personally engaged in well defined projects, trying to maximize every dollar invested.
Business. Creating sustainable businesses is an urgent need to create jobs and livelihoods in impoverished communities.
Inclusion. Too often legacy missionaries are known by too few in the churches that support them. Leaders are seeking to involve more of their congregation in focused, sustainable, and relational engagement that benefits both the field community and the discipleship of members of the church.
Hospitality. The Biblical meaning of hospitality is ‘friend of the foreigner’. God has always instructed His people to love and care for strangers. The world has never been so pluralistic as it is today since the days of the early church. Converge is built on the principle of hospitality, where Hosts in communities welcome student volunteers.
Relationships. Communities are no longer merely local. Just as the apostle Paul extended his circle of relationships through letters, today’s communities are more and more virtual.
Technology. With tech-savvy missions leaders, personal relationships across cultures are sustained, immediate needs are responded to, and a wider community is involved.
What has not changed
University. What has not changed is the purpose of University. Though universities are responding to trends and often leading change in cultures around the world, they will remain important communities out of which new missions movements will continue to emerge. Why? Because God is the original creator, gardener, artist, lawgiver, communicator, teacher, builder and architect. etc. Therefore, the university may be compared to a cathedral of worship to the ways of God in every arena of society.
Internships. What has not changed is the definition of internships. Yes, education is changing as a result of technology. Distance education is becoming more common. And colleges are connecting more and more internships to their academic programs. However, internships remain typically only a few people who are quickly integrated into the rhythms of the organization and community. And internships must have well-defined objectives.
Converge is a response
The Converge Project Host application is thorough, assisting the host in the process and design of a high quality internship experience. The Converge Course is designed to prepare the intern to both serve the needs of the field project and fulfill the learning objectives of the intern. In addition to viewing over fifty short instructional videos before departure, interns is prepared to listen, observe, and ask open-ended questions before proposing a unique contribution to be completed before departure.