Some answers from David Blaney, Founder of Christs's Co-Mission:
This years grant of $5,000 went to purchase a newer van to transport the children at the school. This picture is of the old van that had far surpassed its' service has since been retired.
What is the Location of your Missionary/Ministry Activity? – Odumase - Krobo, Ghana, West Africa
What is the Purpose of Mission/Ministry? – To make disciples … teaching them to obey Christ Jesus. In other words, “To love God, hate sin; and be all that God created them to be”
How has the Western Worldview/Culture influenced the indigenous population both positively and negatively? – Worldliness is having a terrible influence. We mentioned it in church today. It is affecting home life as youth show less respect for their parents and other adults. Technology/media is opening the floodgates of sinful temptation.
How does the poverty of the indigenous population affect the ability to effectively deliver the Gospel message both positively and negatively? – It i impacts emotions and the ability to think very far beyond one’s stomach or unmet obligations. On the other hand, our job development provides relational opportunities.
How many of the Volunteers/Workers are Indigenous and how many are foreign missionaries/volunteers? – We employ 20+ locals and average 2 or 3 US personnel here annually from 3 weeks to 3 months per person.
What challenges and advantages has the language/customs/culture of the indigenous population presented in terms of spreading the Gospel message and Mission/Ministry activity? – Having been a British colony, English is a huge benefit and helping them improve is a blessing. Culturally it has been a somewhat closed tribe, so we often feel somewhat alienated … I imagine that Jesus did too.
How have global communication advances, i.e. the internet, cell phones, email, texting, and social media changed the communication of the Gospel to the indigenous peoples? Both positively and negatively? – A few have satellite TV with a host of Christian programs (along with the worldly options). Most find a way to afford cell phones, often with music playing options. It is intriguing to hear the gospel Vs. secular choices they make.
How do you measure the progress of the Mission Plan and Goals? – I feel that it is our job to be faithful with the tasks at hand. I feel we fall far short of the possibilities. We primarily provide opportunities for others to assist /serve with us. Our 1st quarter Newsletter expresses some very encouraging input though.
What training programs do you use to ensure the indigenous population is able to sustain itself going forward? What training programs are required for Foreign Missionaries? – Practical discipleship is ongoing training. Much of what I do as managing director involves hiring, identifying strengths, and helping employees develop. Our US personnel meet 3 or 4 times a year in CT as a forum which includes helping those who are considering being involved. The forum rather naturally provides some training. We also have a lending library and require book and video reports from those who travel to serve and grow with us in Ghana.
What are the financial challenges of running a Mission/Ministry and is the activity funded totally by external resources, self-funded, or a combination of both? – I and all US personnel are volunteers which allows there to be very low overhead. When I have earned income, I typically second-tithe on that to our mission (after 1st tithe to the church). Others involved give as the Lord leads. We feel that it is our job to be faithful with what we have/get. “Where God guides, He provides.”
Does the indigenous population display a stronger faith and commitment to God than the Missionaries/Volunteers? If so, why? – Wow, what a question! #1 We are open to taking Trip Participants of various spiritual maturity levels although that can be dangerous if they are not encompassed in prayer. #2 We do find a deep faith culturally and probably much better prayer lives among the locals. It could be that the US has become so scientific, while the background of the locals tends to be more spiritual. Additionally, their basic needs are greater than most US folks. All of this does not mean
that the ethical and moral standards among the locals are consistently in line with scripture though.
Are most of your Missionaries/Volunteers short-term or long-term commitments? – They tend to be long-term very part- time roles. Let me say though that several are very devoted and foundational to what we do. Increased long-term activity is welcome.
How would you differentiate Missions Activity from being a Pastor or Evangelist? – Senior Pastors tend to have more clergy-type responsibilities. I tend to see “evangelist” as more of a gifting than a position (of course there are those that are preacher-evangelists). Many in front-line mission do evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. Some focus a lot on theological education while others are quite shepherding/pastoral. For us, we are a developmental mission, living out our faith in very practical circumstances.
What is the single biggest deterrent to effective cross-cultural communication for a Foreign Missionary/Volunteer? – Maybe it is that we think we have something to deliver instead of discovering that there is mutual benefit to humbling ourselves to walk with others.
Do you believe that the Mission activity can be run totally by the indigenous peoples in the future assuming that is one of the Missionary goals? Our Co-Mission concept does not intend to divide, saying we will help “you” and then leave. The intention is much more of a long-term “we”. Actually, I don’t understand scripturally why some tend to segregate, “us” Vs. “them”. That said, we are always raising up leadership among whomever (indigenous or non) is involved and has a humble, willing heart to serve and to grow. Christ’s Co-Mission provides a bridge to the under-developed, hopefully not just a temporary ferry. While economic self-sustainability is very important, the “Go” of the gospel does not seem to indicate any time limits.