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Missio Apostolica November 2015 - Individual Articles

Inside this Issue: Education in Mission

Missio Apostolica coverFrom the beginning the theme for this issue was something of a pun, a simple phrase capable of multiple meanings. Education by mission? for mission? in the midst of mission? Mission in the midst of education, as education, for education? Yes. Education conducted as mission? Establishing schools as mission/church planting practice—decades ago by Anglo Churches in non-Anglo contexts and now with American pre-schools? Helping people learn mission by classroom instruction or service learning? Yes. Etc.! My experience with education in mission goes back professionally some forty-five years; back personally to childhood when my parents opened a Sunday School in our house; back “Lutheranly” to Brother Martin’s proposal to be sure to include girls in community schooling; and back essentially to our Lord who sends His disciples out to teach. (And I wonder what He meant when he used the word “teach” in His language!)

Am I willing to be taught, to be educated, to learn? Of course! I have a collection of academic degrees that says so, and I read this journal. Am I willing to learn in the submerged areas of my life, the 90% of my assumptions hidden from me by my own culture? Am I willing to learn in those areas where I will meet my hidden sin? Am I willing to learn (in) the New Testament, which gives me fourteen ways to do the one Gospel without even mentioning sin? Am I willing to go there, to be educated in mission? The informative, encouraging, and challenging materials in this issue, especially in an absolving relationship with our Lord, give us freedom for education in mission.

From the beginning of the preparation of this issue, the intention was interdisciplinary: educational theory, missiology, pedagogy, theology, administrative and management theory. From the beginning of the preparation of this issue, the intention was global: Lutherans serving in education and mission are part of a global movement. From the beginning of the preparation of this issue, it continues the journal’s intention to serve as an international Lutheran forum for the exchange of ideas and discussion of issues related to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ globally.

I am thankful to colleagues around the globe who contributed to the development of this issue. In the last analysis I am referring to those whose articles and other materials you find here, as well as to the Missio Apostolica Editorial Committee who walked with me through these months of soliciting, receiving, and reviewing these materials. The Editorial Committee kept me honest, in that the journal’s purpose is more inclusive than a focus on education. Articles are welcome beyond any given theme.

In the months before the formal process on this issue began, a number of people informally responded individually as I asked their wisdom about “Education in Mission”: Bart Day, Tony Cook, Bill Hamm, Detlev Schulz, Nathan Esala, Jim Handrich, and Ray Schumacher, in particular. More than a year ago, brave souls saw my e-mails and considered a Google Docs process for digital conversation on the theme: William Obaga, Ted Engelbrecht, Jonathan Laabs, John Oberdeck, and Bill Karpenko. This introduction to this issue would double in size if I listed all their professional credentials and churchly positions. I can summarize: they care about education in mission—and any errors are mine.

In these days when the nature and practice of mission are debated—who should do what, where, when (an upcoming issue of this journal will explore that topic)—I realize that my thanks go first, after our Lord, to my parents, now long deceased. Lay people with significant personal (and sometimes financial!) deficits, they nevertheless educated me in mission. They opened that Sunday School in our house on the already “unfaithful” San Francisco Peninsula, ca. 1949. It was, by faith, a natural act on their part: The children in the neighborhood didn’t go to Sunday School. They should not be deprived of the chance to hear Gospel, to be “missioned” by education.

My thanks continue with something of an editorial, closing this introduction and opening this issue. I am thankful to be part of the Lutheran Classroom Teacher tradition—as well as its “new” version, the DCE tradition—of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. What hours and months and years of educational ministry and mission have been offered by the sisters and brothers in that tradition! But how often might this church body and others be caught in a corner of that tradition, a focus on cognitive input?—doctrinally sound, to be sure, but simply cognitive? Can this issue of Missio Apostolica help us to take seriously Bloom’s taxonomy or similar resources, that learning is a whole person adventure, affective and psycho-motor as well as cognitive? And that, when we are doing the cognitive, it runs on six different levels? And also that the youth group at the swimming pool or the short-term mission venture can be our classroom, those with whom we play or those whom we serve being our teachers in mission?

An e-mail conversation about this issue asked whether the title for one group of materials, “Mission Observer,” might be changed to “Encountering Mission.” I didn’t hold the deciding vote on that question, but I’m in favor. It reminds me that all the articles, from academically researched to personally reported, are an opportunity for whole-person, engaged education.

Our Lord said, “teaching them to observe,” to do. The Augsburg Confession says that justifying faith is bound to bring forth good works. How much do we need to learn yet—in mind, heart, and hands—about mission and about education in mission? I am grateful to the teachers, whatever their credentials, who invite us to learn in this issue.

We pray that this issue serves you and many others as education in mission, in Jesus’ name.

Rev. Dr. Richard E. Carter, DCE
Professor, Concordia Theological Seminary, Hong Kong
Professor of Religion and Theology, Emeritus
Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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“Framing” the Age—Cautionary Observations - Marcus Kunz

Organizing narratives by periods, types, and similar schemes has long been a staple of historical analysis. The reason for doing so is sound. History is more than the simple listing of events in an accurate chronology. Neither events nor the people who participate in them are disconnected accidents that appear in random sequence. Historical analysis seeks to illuminate the deeper connections that allow us to understand more clearly the time and place we inhabit and the people who are around us.

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Is There Hope for Lutheran Education in the Inner City? - Marlene Lund

Introduction Lutherans have a long tradition of supporting education. Martin Luther’s letter “To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools” (1524) was written in response to the decline of church-run schools. Luther saw the reform movement as a way to affirm the responsibility of parents, the church, and the public authorities to ensure the education of all children. Luther said, “A city’s best and greatest welfare, safety, and strength consist rather in its having many able, learned, wise, honorable, and well-educated citizens.” Luther, Melanchthon, and other reformers paved the way in advocating for a strong classical education for all regardless of wealth or stature.

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An Open Letter to Lutheran Brothers and Sisters on Theological Education - Christopher M. Thomforde

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
What follows is an open letter on the subject of theological education. It is addressed to you, the men and women of the Church who have direct responsibility for theological education and to all those of us who wonder about its current effectiveness and future vitality.

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Why Lutheran Education in Africa? - Glenn Fluegge

As an LCMS missionary and theological educator in Africa for some fourteen years, I was asked a few years back to give a presentation on the work to which God had called us. I diligently set about preparing the presentation but was immediately confronted with a rather heavy question: Why are we even involved in theological education in Africa? The question hit me rather unexpectedly. I am quite accustomed to talking about “what” we did in Africa. But this was different. This was a question of “why?” Is education for the Lutheran churches in Africa really that important?

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Editorial en español

Educación para la Misión - Mark “Marcos” Kempff

No existió, ni existe, ni existirá otra persona como Jesucristo. Nadie puede vivir una vida perfecta y a la vez sobrellevar todas las penas y culpas que todos sufrimos en esta vida. Nadie, como Jesús, ha demostrado un amor incondicional. Nadie murió como él, dando su vida como precio para perdonar toda nuestra maldad. Nadie, ni con todos los avances de la ciencia, después de muerto, puede resucitar al tercer día, para vivir eternamente con un perfecto cuerpo humano.

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Missionary Use of the Gospel as Hidden Curriculum - Andrew R. Jones

Abstract: Christ instructs His disciples to make disciples of all nations, but in today’s world some nations refuse missionary activity of any kind. Through anonymous interviews with missionaries in countries which do not openly welcome missionaries, Andrew R. Jones highlights the tension between following Christ’s commission and living within the legal parameters of such a government. This article compares such missionary activity to the educational concept of “hidden curriculum,” showcasing how missionaries in these contexts are able to share the Gospel despite the challenges and limits of their situations.

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Destroying Education to Save It - Paul Hillmer

Abstract: The following article is slightly adapted from the 14th Annual Poehler Lecture on Faith and Learning, delivered by the author at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, on March 3, 2015. It is a rumination on the increasing commoditization of higher education and its corresponding emphasis on job preparation. While reflecting on the possible implications of these trends, Hillmer also considers how commoditization has shaped American Christianity and promotes the sustained significance of the liberal arts.

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The State of Adult Catechesis/Confirmation in the LCMS - Mark C. Larson

Abstract: In the late 1980s, the LCMS confirmed around thirty thousand adults per year in its six thousand congregations. Now the average is between two or three adult confirmations per congregation per year, about half of the level of the 1980s and as recently as fifteen years ago. This article explores the nature of and need for adult catechesis, examines obstacles and opportunities inherent in LCMS culture and U.S. society in general, and calls for a renewal of this vital ministry in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

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The Written Word Enriching Minds and Souls: a Case Study of the Function of the Religious Literature Provided by The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS) - Sam L. S. Yeung (楊力生)

Abstract: This essay examines the function of the Literature Department as a provider of sound Lutheran literature on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod. The paper notes the relevance of the written and proclaimed Word in Lutheran theology and the function of the written Word as God’s means of enriching the human mind and soul. The paper then describes the service of the Literature Department of the LCHKS to its congregations and schools as well as to the Chinese audience worldwide, including a view of the historical origins of the department.

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Teaching Cross-Cultural Evangelism - Jim Found

Abstract: Evangelism is conducted within human cultures and is supported by knowledge and understanding of cultural contexts. To that end, this article presents frameworks for lifelong learning about cultures and religions, provides basic premises for learning to announce the salvation message in the context of a given culture, and illustrates the importance of familiarity with the culture for the nurture and support of new Christians.

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Mission in Crisis - Kurtis Smith

Abstract: In recognition of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this article addresses the missiological aspects of critical incidents (large and small disasters) and presents best practices for these fertile mission fields that are often “ripe for harvest.” Small crises can change individual lives. Massive disasters can transform entire institutional systems, economics, language, and even the nature of mission work. Through trauma and shared travail, people learn new patterns for life. This article proposes that (a) Christians in mission can respond to crises and help turn such events into “transformissional” moments, (b) the missio Dei might be helpfully defined as “a heavenly disaster response to the crisis of a broken world,” and that (c) the church’s practices in mission and ministry reflect the emergency of God’s passionate restoration of paradise in Christ’s gutsy response.

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The LISA Curriculum: Theological Education in the Service of God’s Mission - Gerhard C. Michael, Jr.

Abstract: The article presents an overview of the curriculum which the Luther Institute—Southeast Asia has developed in response to the request of churches there. Presented first are the principles which have guided its development as a theological education program in the service of God’s mission. After the curriculum overview, challenges ahead are suggested. As a “work in progress,” the LISA Board invites your response and constructive suggestions so that it might continue to revise and improve its curriculum for a strengthened program of missionary service as it moves into the future.

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Education and Mission: Just. Do it. - Jeanette Dart

Abstract: Although similar to the well-known Nike slogan, Just. Do it. is an abbreviation for Justified. Do it. As in, “now that you are justified, do the life of sanctification.” Ideas from early childhood education, foreign language learning, and coaching identify action and obedience as helpful for education in our faith, for living our faith, and for our mission to share Christ with our world.

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“Oh, Worship the King” Understanding Culture and Semiotics in Christian Worship - Greg Klotz

Abstract: God has hard-wired us with unique qualities and behaviors that find their ultimate fulfillment only when He is at the center of worship. Worship is a ritualistic performed expression that serves to foreshadow our ultimate communion with God. It is a structured encounter centered on a dialogue between God and man. Three analytical frameworks from anthropology help to focus on the uniqueness of the human in ritual. Applying these to the worship setting provides valuable insights to church workers for discerning the choice of semiotically significant socio-cultural media and aesthetics that contextualize God’s message effectively—and avoiding possible syncretistic pitfalls in the worship design—allowing church members to affectively express their identity as God’s people.

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Location, Location, Location - Jeremy Pekari

Abstract: Education in the Lutheran church primarily takes place in a classroom. Unfortunately, learning doesn’t always transfer from there into the everyday life of disciples on the mission field. Educators must move beyond the classroom walls to design intentional learning experiences that more closely relate to the real life contexts in which the content will be used. This article uses prayer as an example of an important aspect of the life of a disciple that is limited by teaching about in a classroom, but can be enhanced through intentionally designed experiences across the life of a congregation. Readers are introduced to a simple three-part design structure to enable them to develop learning experiences in a variety of learning arenas.

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Mission-driven Strategic Planning in Lutheran Education - Tom Ries

Abstract: Mission-driven strategic planning originated in the military, migrated to for-profit businesses, and has been used increasingly in non-profit organizations for over three decades. In his doctoral research, the author studied planning at 38 Lutheran colleges and universities in the United States and found that all have conducted some kind of centrally-coordinated strategic planning process within the past ten years, and that they will continue to conduct this kind of planning in the future. This article discusses the purpose and function of strategic planning in a Lutheran education context, and specifically the role of planning in developing and allocating financial resources to support mission.

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A Global Perspective on Education in Mission - Shirley Miske

Abstract: The article provides a global overview of education in mission, and it proposes frameworks for dialogue on education in mission in the twenty-first century grounded in the field of Comparative and International Development Education (CIDE). The author calls for a global mapping of Lutheran education in mission and explores its potential uses. She also offers a theoretical framework of critical components or “commonplaces” of educational thinking to stimulate global, intercultural dialogue on education, especially schooling, in mission.

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Encountering Mission

A Backpacking Semester in the Shadow of Global Missionaries - Adam Lee

Statistics shape an artful attempt to introduce the story of Concordia University Irvine’s Around-the-World Semester: two professors, twenty-eight students, twenty weeks, ten countries, five continents, three thousand pages of reading, one hundred pages of writing, and just one backpack. These make great stats for physically bringing admissions tours to an intrigued halt on campus or for impressing marketing consultants hired to identify university distinctives. These numbers also tell the story of God’s transformative power in the lives of students willing to be physically, intellectually, and spiritually challenged for one semester of their college lives.

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Education—An Invitation to Restricted Mission Fields - Karin L. Semler

The signs read, “Concordia International School Kabul, founded in 2021,” and “Welcome to Concordia International School Pyongyang, est. 2035.” Incredible! Improbable? Intentional? In 2015, such schools are a fictional illustration. And yet, our Lord works in implausible ways.

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Rediscovering Disciple Making - Dale Critchley

In my freshman year of college, God pointed me toward the pastoral ministry. I argued with Him. My roommate and most of my friends weren’t Christians. They knew what I believed, we respected one another, and we had lots of meaningful faith conversations as a result. Most of them had an aversion to all Christians except me. Were I to enter the pastoral ministry, I would spend most of my life surrounded by Christians and have little time for the lost. Why would God pull me out of the mission field for the rest of my life? But learning from Jonah, I knew that I could either enroll in seminary or avoid large bodies of water for the rest of my life. Four years later, I resided in St. Louis.

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Setting a Vision for SEKOLAH PAPUA HARAPAN (Papua School of Hope) - Robert W. Smith

Why would a Christian teacher teach overseas? Where is the greatest possibility to make an impact sharing the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with students who have never heard of it or only have a limited understanding? Often, families in other countries enroll their children in Christian schools. They choose these schools because they generally offer the best education in the area, and the curriculum is delivered in English. God has unlocked the doors to a unique opportunity for Christian teachers and administrators in newly-founded Christian schools. The location is Papua, Indonesia, the eastern-most province of Indonesia in the western half of the island of New Guinea, formerly called Irian Jaya.

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The Process of Creation and Development of the M.I.S.E. (Silesian) Evangelism Centre’s Work - Daniel Chlebek

The M.I.S.E. Project originated in 2005 in response to God’s call to establish groups of believers praying for one another, growing spiritually together, and sharing their faith with people around them in places without any Christian fellowships. The M.I.S.E. Project began activities in 2006 among young people as a mission project of the youth ministry department in the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession. It helped to make disciples of Jesus Christ of many young people in the congregations, based on 2 Tim 2:2: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

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“Where Does Your Agape Stick?” - David Seabaugh

A couple years ago I was invited to my children’s Lutheran school to conduct chapel. I had done this before, and it was always a delightful time. However, this particular chapel would change my life. The chapel services involved a series on the Ten Commandments, and I had been asked to speak on the Sixth Commandment, “Do not commit adultery.” No problem. I teach this stuff in confirmation. I’ll just talk “in code” to the seventh and eighth graders and conveniently avoid the challenges of speaking directly about adultery to the younger children. A day or so before the service, I was informed that the seventh and eighth graders were away that day, leaving the preschool through sixth grade for my adultery talk. Lovely! There went my avoidance strategy. Oh, and talk about a delicate situation! Not only did I have to speak to children of multiple developmental stages about a really sensitive issue, but I knew for a fact that there were many children in the room with challenging home situations which likely involved adultery of one form or another.

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No Half-Baked Pastors in East Africa - Shauen Trump

“We don’t want half-baked pastors,” says General Secretary Fred Magezi of the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU), as he bristles at the idea of anyone less than a seminary-trained ordained clergyman administering the sacraments. According to Magezi, it is the Christians themselves in Uganda’s Lutheran congregations who want men trained “through the seminary, the Lutheran culture.” The LCU’s President Charles Bameka explains:

It is very clear and important that every congregation at least has a trained and ordained pastor. I know that is a far-fetched desire because in Uganda the congregations are growing faster than we can train men. But the ultimate desire is that every congregation is served and manned by a trained and ordained minister.
While the fervent desire to be served by a pastor is hindered by a shortage of ordained men in most countries in East Africa in the midst of significant growth in the church, the continent also celebrates increased capacity and capabilities of the region’s seminaries.

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Sending Isn’t Easy - Seth Gehrke

“Next to the Word of God, the art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” – Martin Luther
It builds community, friendships, teamwork and support.
It teaches us how to express an emotion without words.
It provides us an avenue for service.
It inspires and enlivens our faith.

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Education in Mission: Why It’s Important - Matthew Scott

Why is education in mission important? What does education look like on the mission field? How is education inspiring more missions? I hope to share a little bit about these topics by relating to you my experiences as one who has been educated on the mission field and as one hoping to go back as a teacher in the future.

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