Editorial 编者语

By Dr Diane Marshall (SIM Global Director for Regional Development)
马狄安博士 ( SIM 全球区域发展总监 )

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In this edition of SIMnow, we want to think about thriving in global missions as a journey rather than a destination. God launches our workers into new relationships and ministries when they enter a new context. This requires depending on Him for the big things, such as personnel, resources and finances. Dependence is also about the little things, like adjusting to new foods and daily rhythms, which often take more energy than we expect. I’ve been there myself, and it’s demanding, day in and day out! Fruitful cross-cultural workers call upon God moment by moment for his wisdom and strength. As we say in SIM, each day is “By Prayer” (Phil 1: 9-11).

Next, thriving in cross-cultural ministry requires a learning heart. Frequently workers have to navigate the challenges of learning language, or even changes in accent and vocabulary for a language we thought we knew. We encounter new ways of doing things that once seemed so automatic in our home culture. Nothing is simple! All this learning takes humility, courage, sensitivity and resilience (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Thirdly, to succeed in making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in communities where He is least known requires building relationships of trust. Thriving involves growing relationships with local people and with our team members. How do we do this? What does it look like in practice? In the least it means learning culture, understanding the strengths and needs of those with whom we minister, engaging with unseen powers, and modelling the process of life transformation. To make disciples of Jesus, we have to be on the journey of becoming disciples of Jesus (Mk 10:35-45).

Fourthly, a worker who thrives is part of a thriving team. No Christian worker, whether at home or overseas, can ‘go it alone’ – we need each other! Count the number of people Paul names in his letter to the Philippians, or in Romans 16. Fruitful cross-cultural ministry requires teamwork. Yet building healthy teams is challenging – they require skilled and gracious leadership. SIM is working on this challenge through intentional leadership development – we want to begin through leaders who thrive (Phil 2:19-30).

Finally, thriving depends on healthy partnerships. Paul says to the Philippians, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil 1:4-5). Effective collaboration and partnership in the gospel are essential in the mission journey. The most important partnership, as the Apostle himself demonstrates, is between the church and its bands of mission workers (Acts 14:26-15:3a).

SIM partners with churches to fulfil God’s mission across cultures locally and globally – thriving churches and thriving agencies. This involves collaborating with churches in cross-cultural ministry through fostering
healthy communication, exercising pastoral and member care, training in cross-cultural ministry and mentoring. As well as financial resources, the skills of managing finances and legal matters, projects, HR and missional business are also needed. Most important is having a shared vision for those living and dying without ever hearing of Jesus (Rom 15:23-29).

In this edition of SIMnow we invite you to consider some of the multiple factors – personal and corporate – that contribute to thriving workers in their ministries making Christ known in our world today. Follow SIM’s history and growth over 125 years, give thanks for the expansion of SIM East Asia, and celebrate with us as we join God in His mission.

在今年最后一期的宣教异象中,我想要邀请你一起来思考,所谓在全球宣教工作中持续蓬勃昌盛,意味着我们应该把它视为一段旅程,而不是最终目的地。

当上帝把我们的同工带入一个新的环境时,祂同时也引领他们进入一段新的关系和事奉中,因此首先我们必须懂得倚靠祂来做大事,比如人事、资源和财务,以及那些比我们想象中还要花费更多心力的小事,比如适应新的食物和异文化的生活习惯等。我自己也曾经走过那样一段旅程,每天都辛苦的应对着大大小小的事;所以宣教士必须时刻都呼求上帝的智慧和力量来帮助他们,才得以持续地在宣教工作中效力。这个情况就好像我们在 SIM 的事奉中常常说的:每一天都『藉着祷告』(腓 1:9-11)!

第二,在跨文化事工中保持蓬勃发展的方法就是拥有一颗学习的心。例如同工们常常需要面对语言学习的挑战,包括那些我们以为对方应该已经知道的语音和词汇的变化,但原来他们其实并不清楚。我们也会遇见新的做事方式,即便这些方式在我们的家庭文化中其实是自然而然就存在的。所以,没有什么是理所当然的!所有的学习都需要谦卑、勇气、敏感和适应力(林前 9:24-27)。

第三,如果要在极少听闻福音的社区中成功培育主耶稣的门徒,我们还需要建立互相信任的关系。所谓的蓬勃发展,就是要与当地人以及我们的团队成员建立一个良好的关系。我们应该怎么做呢?我认为包括了文化方面的学习和理解,此外还要了解和我们一起工作的人的长处与需求;另外还必须运用看不见的软力量,以及了解生命被改变的实际过程。所以,想要培训主耶稣的门徒吗?那么我们就必须先亲自踏上成为主耶稣的门徒的旅程(可 10:35-45)。

第四,一个蓬勃兴旺的工人是一个兴旺的团队的一份子。无论是在国内还是海外,没有任何一个福音工作者能够“单独行动”,我们都需要彼此!建议你去数一数保罗在写给腓立比书或罗马书第十六章中所提到的一长串人名,你就可以了解那些有果效的跨文化事工都需要团队的合作。然而,建立一个健康的团队可说是一项极大的挑战,必须要有熟练的技巧和慈蔼的领袖。SIM正积极地开展新领袖的培育,来应对这一个挑战;我们希望从那些蓬勃成长的领袖开始做起(腓立比书 2:19-30)。

最后,蓬勃昌盛取决于健康的伙伴关系。保罗对腓立比人说:“每逢为你们众人祈求的时候,常是欢欢喜喜地祈求。因为从头一天直到如今,你们是同心合意地兴旺福音”(腓立比书 1:4-5)。在传福音的旅程中,有效的合作和伙伴关系是非常重要的,正如使徒自己所证明的,最重要的伙伴关系是教会和传道人之间的伙伴关系(使徒行传 14:26-15:3a)。

SIM积极与教会合作,以完成上帝在当地和全球的使命 - 建立蓬勃发展的教会和兴旺昌盛的差会。这包括与教会在跨文化事工方面的合作,藉由健康的沟通、牧养和会员关顾,以及在跨文化事工的训练和辅导等;除了财务资源的募集,还需要管理财务和熟知法律事务、事工项目、人力资源和业务等各方面的人力和技能。最重要的是,我们和教会拥有同一个异象,要对那些极少听闻上帝福音的人,竭力地传扬福音(罗马书15:23-29)。

因此,在这一期的宣教异象中,我们一起思考有果效的宣教事工应具备的条件。我们实在需要各个方面的支援和各种条件的搭配,才能成功地差派宣教士,并帮助他们在工场上蓬勃发展。我们也邀请你一起重温和感恩SIM这一百二十五年来的历史和成长,唯有『藉着祷告』,我们才能拥有今日的蓬勃昌盛! 

SIM East Asia