Mission today

"It is not churches that have a mission but mission that has a church."

The word "mission" has many nuances. Anyone who has visited Africa, Asia or the Middle East discovers that the arrival of the first missionaries from Germany, England or Switzerland is the most important date commemorated by many parishes and is comparable to the importance of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. That's how it all started. It was the beginning of a new epoch. Very many people honour the commitment of missionaries and their families, their devotion to the gospel, their love of the people and their active concern for the good development of communities.

The same people often ask critically what the missionaries brought with them in the way of colonial ideology and European feeling of superiority and how appreciative and open were the missionaries towards the culture of the people in their new homelands.

This is the way in which the world-wide family of Christian churches openly deals with the issue of what mission meant in the past.

Above all, they know that it is not churches that have a mission but mission that has a church. Word of the good news of Jesus Christ literally begs to be passed on.

It looks different in every context. But it has always to do with the love of God and humanity. The ones who pass on the gospel are always students themselves, learning to grasp and understand God's word. What should apply at all times and everywhere is that Christians should meet people of other world views with respect and dignity - even within the church itself! "Non vi sed verbo" - "Not with violence but with the word" was the motto of the Basel Mission already in the early 19th century.

Mission theology today means plunging into a world-wide contemplation about experience with the word of God in various cultures, languages, societies and political systems.