The Mission Throughout History Part 3

Discover how to live daily on mission. This resource dives into "The Mission" and why it is important for each church.

World Missions

January 29, 2021


Contending for Mission

The Mission Throughout History Part 3

The end of the nineteenth century brought a shift in the methods and accessibility of the Mission due to globalization. What is globalization? Oxford Dictionary describes it as a business or organization that develops international influence and can operate on a global scale.

Dana Roberts, author of Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion talks heavily about the effect of globalization upon missional movements. “The importance of the transportation and communication revolution of the late nineteenth century – including the telegraph, and the beginning of electricity and the telephone – was extended by the twentieth century development of wireless communication (the radio), the automobile, highways, the airplane, and finally computers and the internet.”

How did this affect the mission? Travel became quicker and safer. In the century before, many missionaries were isolated, being called to another country meant going into the unknown with little or no communication with the rest of the world. Travel became quicker and safer. The option to return home for a sabbatical became available for missionary. It was also easier for missionaries and mission minded leaders to get together to discuss issues within their field. An example of this was the Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910. This was the third and most popular missionary conference, with the first being held in London (1888), and the second in New York (1900).

The Edinburgh Missionary Conference was a gathering of Protestant missionaries from around the world to progress the Mission. These leaders discussed the practical and theological issues that they faced such as missional education, missionary cooperation, and the relationship between missionaries and governments. Within this conference, areas that had not been focused on, such as missionary training, the element of race, culture, women in missions, and the unity of the church all began to be brought into discussions. This marked the beginning of a new era of missions.

Missions in the 1900s

"At the beginning of the 20th century — almost 60 years into its history — the Foreign Mission Board was still overwhelmingly a China missions agency. Although personnel served in Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Japan, roughly 50 percent of Southern Baptist missionaries were in China. In 1903 the FMB enlarged by appointing its first missionaries to Argentina. Ministry in the 1900s also expanded through institutions such as schools, seminaries and publishing houses. Doctor T.W. Ayers established the first Southern Baptist mission hospital, Warren Memorial Hospital, in China in 1903. The FMB also began regularly appointing nurses, including Jessie Pettigrew, the first FMB nurse. Other medical personnel served at a thriving mission station in Nigeria. Women educated at the Woman’s Missionary Union Training Center in Kentucky started community centers throughout China, Japan and other nations. As women and children attended tutoring programs, exercise gyms and parenting classes, female missionaries developed deep relationships that allowed them to naturally share the gospel."

-International Mission Board

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