For nearly two decades, my heart and mind have squarely been with the Chinese church. And they will continue to be. Due to several recent developments, however, I’ve accepted a new position with an organization that will move me out of East Asia.
This decision was made with much reluctance. Having lived so long outside of the West and among our Chinese brothers and sisters, we grieve the loss of home. At the same time, I’m grateful for the opportunity ahead.
“What will you do now?”
This year my wife and I realized the time had arrived to reconsider our future. We had no idea what that meant. Would we remain in country for two more years or only a few months? Not wanting to make a hasty decision, we resolved to wait until a door opened so wide that we couldn’t turn away from it with a good conscience.
Just days later, Mission ONE contacted me with an offer. They requested that I consider joining them as the “Theologian-in-Residence.” Little did I know, six months earlier, they had wanted to invite me to assume this role but thought, “He’ll never leave East Asia.” And they were right. At that time, we had no plans to leave ever.
As Theologian-in-Residence, Mission ONE has tasked me to expand the scope of my work while focusing more on key issues related to contextualization, honor, and shame. On the one hand, I’ll travel to a broader range of places, training ministry partners in theology and contextualization. Along the way, I expect to take up adjunct teaching roles periodically in North American seminaries.On the other hand, I will join Mission ONE’s training team to help develop more resources that will help the Church in the areas of contextualization, honor, and shame. Naturally, we already have several writing projects in mind. In addition, we plan to create multiple tools, curriculum, and trainings. In short, this role enables me to continue to do many of the things I’ve been doing while freeing me to pursue several projects that I’ve only been able to dream about until now.
“Who is Mission One?”
For almost 30 years, Mission ONE has partnered with local Christian leaders and organizations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Mission ONE works worldwide to transform people and communities through Christ. They come alongside local ministries in hard places— bringing the hope of the gospel through the global Church. Most of the indigenous ministries Mission ONE partners with serve among Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or tribal people.
One of the things that has impressed about Mission ONE is its commitment to quality. They are mindful to invest themselves wisely in relationships. The leadership understands that an overemphasis on quantity and speed too often undermines long-term fruitfulness. Mission ONE seeks to be strategic and catalytic when choosing its ministry priorities.
“Will you still do work with Chinese?”
Yes. That is my intention. Exactly how, when, and where are still to be determined. The political dynamics in East Asia means that making such predictions difficult to impossible. I’d appreciate your prayers as we try to navigate the path ahead. We need wisdom and energy. Finally, given our relocation and the duration of our time in East Asia, pray for us to develop and foster friendships.
Finally, I ask for your prayers. Leaving home and moving to America has not been easy. We are grateful to those who have encouraged, counseled, and assisted for us. We ask for you to prayer for our hearts and minds as we try to honor Christ through this transition, especially as we acclimate to this new role and location.
With all sincerity, thank you.