Diaspora Missions is the ways and means to fulfilling the Great Commissions by ministering to and through the Diaspora groups. With so many people from so many origins moving in so many directions and landing in so many destinations, planned or unplanned, it could be concluded that we are fast becoming a “borderless world.” We believe that the Triune God in His sovereignty is moving people so that they may seek Him and know Him. Reaching the People on the Move is both an urgent necessity and an amazing opportunity for Christians and churches.
This certainly is a new paradigm in the mission of the contemporary Church. As of today, the African Diaspora is one of the most important in the world in terms of numbers. According to the African Union, the African Diaspora is composed of “people of African origin living outside of the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality, and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union”
DIASPORA MISSIONS MOBILIZATION
Christian believers in diaspora can be motivated and mobilized for global missions. They are one of the most strategic “missionary” forces in the history of missions, both in “missions through the diasporas” (i.e. missions done by the diasporas, evangelizing their kinsmen at home or elsewhere) and “missions beyond the diasporas” (i.e. missions done by the diasporas cross culturally, evangelizing members of the host society and other ethnic groups in their context).
MISSIONS TO THE DIASPORA
When God is moving the diasporas geographically making them accessible, the Church should not miss any opportunity to reach them with the gospel, i.e. “missions to the diasporas.” It is a known fact that people in transition (e.g. migrants and immigrants are taken away from the comfort and security of their homeland) are more receptive to sociocultural change thus also become more receptive to the gospel. When God is moving the diasporas spiritually, the Church should seize this golden opportunity and practice “missions to the diaspora” diligently and faithfully for fruitfulness. Many of the diaspora (e.g Displaced people and victims of human trafficking) are in need of Christian hospitality and charity. Combining the practice of the Great Commandment with the Great Commission will be appropriate and effective in “missions to the diaspora.”
MISSIONS THROUGH THE DIASPORAS
“Missions through the diasporas” is a reference to the missions whereby the diasporas evangelizing their kinsmen in their home land or elsewhere. After all Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and leaders of the early church were all living in the context of diaspora.
Peter and James wrote specifically to the church living in the diaspora. The history of the church throughout the centuries affirms this thesis. The Reformers (John Calvin, for example), the Puritans, and other evangelical groups made major contributions while living in the diaspora. We should never forget that USA, for instance, owe much of their “progress” (educational, religious, economic, ethical, etc) and biblical worldview to the 17th Century Puritan diaspora. Christian denominations and organizations who fail to seize this “kairos moment” in the history of the Christian church will miss the momentous development in Christian mission of the 21st Century. Being different from the traditional sense of “missionary” sent from the West to the rest of world, we now can maximize the potential of expatriates from their homeland to return as “missionaries.” We can creatively employ many of these “self-supporting diaspora missionaries,” (reverse missions).
The reality is that Christians living in the diaspora context represent the largest self-supporting contingency of missionary force which has been located within many of the so called “unreached peoples” and accessible to practically all people groups of the world today.
MISSIONS BEYOND THE DIASPORAS
One of the main strategic concerns had to do with the place, the role, and the need to mobilize self-supporting evangelical Christians living in diaspora context to evangelize other people groups in their immediate context and members of the host society, i.e. “missions beyond the diasporas.” After acquiring the language and making cultural adjustment, diaspora Christians are the best bridges for cross cultural evangelism. Their spiritual vitality can contribute positively to existing local congregations of the host society and in the planting of new ones. Immediate and adequate biblical and cross cultural training is to be made available to everyone to be equipped for ministry (Ephesians 4:1114). Thus discipleship and education are imperative to enable Evangelical “diasporas” to impact the local communities of the host society and other ethnic groups within their reach.