Converting the Church
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Historically, the church has defined “conversion” as turning away from the world and towards God, as if the two are not interconnected. The reality is that God has been and is always present and working in people’s lives regardless of one’s beliefs or religious tradition. As we studied in the last session, all people and cultures have blind spots. Being in the church does not make someone immune to this fact. Just as we need the church to help shape our views of the world, we need to authentically engage the world so we may be challenged to face our own humanness and fallibility. Global Ministries believes that while we share “good news” with people around the world, others also have much to teach us about what it means to follow the way of the Cross.

As a preface to this study, we may need to create a simple document that explains issues such as mutuality and partnership. I have lifted the following from a document on our website which, incidentally, was written by a partner in Africa:

“God’s mission in the world, in which all church in all places work together, creates the context for an intentional re-examination of the role of partnerships and relations among churches and people in different parts of the world.”

For mission organizations in the West, used to ‘being in charge’, it means a realization that the church is global and diverse and we must challenge the starting point and practice of mission. It also means an exploration of the role of missionaries and how they work with and for indigenous leaders and are not in control or in positions of power. Finally, it means a re-examination of the relationship of ‘partnership’, for while we use language of mutuality, the actual lived relationships may be unchanged.


Romans 1:11-12

How do you encourage others in the church? How is being present with one another a spiritual gift?

Amos 5:20-24

What are aspects of church that get in the way of you participating in God’s mission? How does the church work for justice?

Isaiah 58: 9-12

What are aspects of church that help you (or enable you) to participate in God’s mission? How does having good character support us for mission? Name one time when you have you sensed the Holy Spirit in unexpected places or among unexpected people?

Micah 6:6-8

What does it mean to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God in your church? What distracts you from walking with God?

Luke 24: 13-35

How does your church overlook the face of God in others? In what ways has God helped you open your eyes to the other?

Romans 1:11-12


I Corinthians 12:12-27

What role do you play in your church? Are there groups of people that our churches sometimes shut out?