Missionaries: aliens, providers, or fellow travelers?

International Conference, December 2019

The Alliance for Vulnerable Mission

Published in Global Missiology, www.globalmissiology.org. October 2019


International Conference sponsored by The Alliance for Vulnerable Mission

Sunday 8th December for a 6pm start to Wednesday 11th December 2019 finishing at midday.

Hosted by All Nations Christian College, Easneye, Herts, UK.

Click here for details and registration.


Should the majority world be the target of patronage from rich missionaries?

Outside Christian workers who build on foreign presuppositions in work amongst indigenous communities can, especially when foreign funded and using outside languages, be interpreted as riding roughshod over indigenous sensibilities. True empowerment of local people requires getting alongside them. This necessitates vulnerability to their position and context. Such vulnerability can best be achieved if one shares the Gospel using indigenous languages utilising local resources.


Paper 1. Introducing Vulnerable Mission, and paper: Mission Vulnerability essential to avoid conventional-mission pitfalls. Jim Harries

Paper 2. Mission without Conquest – learning to be guest, companion and friend in the Argentinian Chaco: an alternative missionary practice. Frank Paul

Paper 3. How to establish yourself as a fellow traveler – with many positive examples of learning language/culture and using the local resources. Hans Baer

Paper 4. How can Western Missionaries best support a viable Mexican church planting network without dominating it. Peter Sholl

Paper 5. Undress, Be Enslaved, Wash: Three Movements in Cross-Cultural Mission from John 13. Andy McCullough

Paper 6. Putting Reconciliation at risk? Engaging in vulnerable mission as a multiracial church in South Africa. Marcus Grohmann

Paper 7. Going alongside unreached people groups. Mark Smith

Paper 8. Understanding, embracing, enacting ministry from a position of weakness. Chris Sadowitz

Paper 9. Money, Vulnerability and Mission: The Example of Paul and the “Collection” For the Poor. David Smith

Speaker Biographies

·      Frank Paul (58), member of an intentional community of families in Germany (www.ojc.de), 18 years of family & missionary collaboration in a slum in BsAs and with indigenous churches in northern Argentina.

·      David Smith was a pastor in Cambridge before moving to serve in Nigeria for five years and on many subsequent visits. He has taught in many institutions and has published work on various aspects of mission, including Mission After Christendom (2003), Liberating the Gospel (2013), and Seeking A City With Foundations: Theology for an Urban World (2nd.ed. 2019).

·      Marcus Grohmann, Cape Town/South Africa, PhD student from Germany in the field of reconciliation studies, studying how white Christians in multiracial churches try to work for reconciliation in contexts they are usually dominating. Living and working on his research project involves learning the Xhosa language. With his wife, Marcus is serving part-time with the Student YMCA at the University of Cape Town. Together they have two daughters, 4 and 1 years old.

·      Nick Henwood lives in multicultural Leicester. He works almost full time as a GP, is a member of a local New Frontiers church, and has an allotment for growing vegetables. He and his wife seek to be good news for the neighbours on their street. They are associates of Interserve - that ministered to people from an Asian and Middle Eastern background. Previously Nick and Ros spent 9 years in medical / community / church work in Nepal. He teaches about community health for Christian Medical Fellowship. He’s a board member of Arukah Network - a global community health NGO. (Nick Henwood is to lead a workshop.)

·      Jim Harries, PhD (theology, Uni. Of Bham, UK). Missionary in East Africa from 1988 to date. Main ministries include: bible teaching to indigenous churches using East African languages, looking after orphan children who stay in his home, reading, writing and research related to mission, development, linguistics, and anthropology. Chair of the AVM (Alliance for Vulnerable Mission.)

·      Mark Smith, one-time missionary in Africa, first heard about the AVM (Alliance for Vulnerable Mission) in 2012. He is very concerned to encourage missionaries to work in such a way as to be vulnerable to the people being reached. Mark's dedication is demonstrated by his and his family's having spent over two decades in Africa.

·      Hans Christoph Bär (DMin), from Switzerland, married to Beatrice, four children, four grandchildren. Working with OMF among the Karen people in North Thailand 1982-1998 and 2006-present as fellow traveler, church planter and Bible teacher. 1998-2006 pastoring the evangelical free church, Chrischona Stammheim (CH).

·      Peter Sholl has lived in Monterrey, Mexico for the last 11 years. He serves as the director of MOCLAM, an organisation that offers theological education by distance in Spanish to students all over the Spanish speaking world. Pastors, campus workers, youth leaders and more study using locally produced core materials and study aids. Peter is Australian, and is a graduate of Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia.

·      Andy McCullough was born and grew up in Cyprus, has been involved in cross cultural church planting in Turkey, and is the author of Global Humility: Attitudes for Mission.

·      Chris Sadowitz has served as a missionary to Japan since 1993. His educational background includes a BRE from Baptist Bible College In Clark’s Summit Pa. and a M-Div from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in Michigan. Chris writes: “Most recently we are coming to realize that there is more truth and praxis to be mined from ways of weakness than our present practice and cultures admit.”