on November 5, 2012
I am writing my doctoral dissertation on a related subject and this is a absolute necessity for any missiology student or researcher. Enoch Wan is the primary research on the subject of Diaspora Missiology. The books manages, as much as possible, to give a concise understanding of the subject and offers a great deal of other resources throughout the footnotes and bibliography. This has really helped guide my own research and I could not recommend it higher.
on May 2, 2012
Dr. Enoch Wan, a seasoned missiologist has made an excellent and indispensable contribution to address the globally exploding phenomenon of diaspora. Though it claims to be "an introductory study on the theory, methodology and practice of diaspora missiology" it is more of a substantive primer in its field. It helps understand the fundamental theoretical concepts and framework, the inter-disciplinary approach needed to be taken and potential of the impact of diaspora ministry.
The numerous charts, diagrams and demographics illustratively explain the extraordinary synthesis of concepts. They alone are worth the price of the book. The eight case studies constitute nearly two thirds of the book. Each case study presented by practitioners provides convincing proof that diaspora missiology is a current reality on the frontlines. They should persuade readers of the effectiveness of diaspora strategies and provide motivation to pursue them.
The volume is a timely gift so this new field of Diaspora Missiology of which Enoch is certainly one of its pioneers and champions. Enoch has taught, mentored, published and engaged in diapora missions in several arenas of the world. It will be no surprize if this book is readily welcomed and used as one of the textbooks in ministry training and be a worldview-shaping tool for Christian workers everywhere.
Dr. T.V. Thomas
Chair, Ethnic America Network
on January 15, 2015
In light of the large-scale diaspora movements since last century, and the shift of balance in Christianity from the West to the global South, diaspora missiology is one of the most significant and needed emerging fields in mission studies.
Enoch Wan is part of the Chinese diaspora himself and President of the Evangelical Missiological Society. He has written extensively on diaspora and mission including contributing to various Lausanne consultations. He is Director of Western Theological Seminary’s Institute for Diaspora Mission Studies, and has compiled this book as the first in a series, introducing the mission implications of the expanding movement of peoples around the world.
The book comes in three sections: theory, methodology and practice. It includes twenty chapters, half of which written by Wan, half by scholars on biblical and strategic themes or practitioners sharing their case studies.
As a theoretical base, the book introduces the complexity of the shift of Christendom’s center of gravity to the global South, and the demography changes of the large scale diaspora movements of refugees and economic migrants since the second half of the twentieth century. Today 3% of the world’s population live outside their birth country, and most of these have moved towards the richest seven countries. There is a wide-ranging literature on migration studies and theory that Wan shows that missionaries can benefit from. Three other writers and chapters explore the diaspora movements in the Bible, from which modern global diaspora description takes its cue. The encouraging conclusion is that God orchestrates the movement of people to bring blessing to the world – whether with the Jewish dispersion or the scattering of the early church, and by extension today’s diaspora peoples.
The methodology section advocates an interdisciplinary understanding of the complexity of diaspora, and argues the case for establishing “diaspora missiology” as a parallel alternative to traditional missiology. It recognises mission opportunities and practice wherever less reached people are, without spatial and dichotomous distinctions, and not just carried out by experts. This section is helpful in detailing the development of diaspora missiology and the small but growing number of consultations and publications treating the topic over the last decade. The most valuable material is the explanation of the differences of missions to, through, and by and beyond the diaspora, and different research methods that are needed complete with examples. For example, action research is an ideal methodology for a researcher wanting to work with a diaspora group to explore how they can motivate, mobilise and equip their people for cross-cultural mission. There is a growing body of mixed-methods research, and a clear need for more.
The practice section is the last half of the book. Four chapters offer an overview of demographic trends and mission initiatives to diaspora groups, and advocate for a relational paradigm and strategic partnerships (rather than a managerial and paternalistic posture of Westerners to the rest). In the remaining eight case-study chapters, readers learn from messianic congregations and Bolivian missionaries reaching out with hospitality to Jewish youth travellers, and inspiring stories of Chinese, Muslim, Ghanaian, Vietnamese, Hispanic, and American urban diaspora ministries. One of the practitioners quotes the African proverb, “When the rhythm of the drum changes, you must change the way you dance.” The stories underline how and why diaspora missiology is distinct from traditional missiology. Because of the movement of people for labour, study and as refugees, mission is increasingly practised without borders. Christians with a mission posture can cross cultures for the gospel without crossing oceans, or while crossing oceans in the case of Filipino workers starting ‘churches on the ocean’ on cruise ships!
I read Diaspora Missiology as a local practitioner, a budding diaspora researcher and a teacher of mission, and found a wealth of resources for all three contexts. It is ideal reading for missionaries, mission students and teachers, and will likely be the key textbook for what will be a growing range of college courses on diaspora missiology, and highly recommended reading for courses more broadly on global ministry realities and multicultural church.
This review was originally published Mission Studies 31 (2014), 465-466.
on September 5, 2015
"Diaspora Missiology" is a fascinating introduction to a diaspora theology with practical connections to the contemporary mission of the Church. Explaining the diaspora experience of the Jews, Wan demonstrates how God's plan from the beginning was accomplished through wandering, scattered people. This experience is amplified in the spread of the gospel through the early church, which very quickly became a multicultural community of many nations and backgrounds.
The next section of the book addresses missiological methodology built upon the assumption that God is the one who determines where each person will go and live (Acts 17:26-28). Missions in this context is not only about sending, but receiving those God brings to us.
Gathering follows scattering, which is the focus of the third section. While deliberate strategies for welcoming, reaching, and mobilizing diaspora communities are essential, ministry to displaced persons must be relational at the heart. Refugee and migrant communities have a deep need to belong, which is amplified as most come from cultures that are more communally focused than the individualistic West. This will require new ways of doing church and practicing ministry as most western ministry models have quantitative growth as their goal and programs as their method. In such an environment, relationships are often lost.
Ministry in such nomadic, urban contexts requires four movements:
1. Centrifugality: Multiplying out, flexibility, and the rapid release of ministry. Sometimes ministry programs in such contexts last only a few weeks, months, or years.
2. Consciousness of God's purpose: Awareness of how God works through diaspora communities and the opportunities inherent in such movement of people.
3. Calling to the nations: The local church must awaken to it's personal call to disciple the nations, to exist for others.
4. Contextualization: The willingness and ability to welcome multiculturalism and diverse ways of practicing the Christian faith, and opening doors for leadership to those from diaspora communities.
Perhaps the greatest challenge will be for churches to transition from communities that minister *to* refugee and migrant communities to communities "of* refugees and migrants. Leaders in the refugee and migrant communities must be equal partners in ministry with the churches made up of the majority culture. Wan refers to this as "strategic stewardship" and "strategic partnership." He describes this as "A new pattern of relational accountability between partnering entities in the West and the majority world [replacing] the pattern of Western paternalism and dominance." Such humble accountability leads to true partnership and sharing of resources.
The book is technical in nature, and the casual reader may not find all chapters equally useful or inspiring. However, this is easily discerned from the Table of Contents and only the most appropriate chapters need be read. (less)
on May 5, 2012
This is a fantastic work by my professor, Enoch Wan, at Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon. It is wonderful to learn how God is using the movements of people from their homelands to bring them to Jesus. Great book. Very thorough study. I especially appreciated part 3 on methodology.