New ways of doing mission ‘from everywhere to everywhere’


symbiosis (ˌsɪmbɪˈəʊsɪs; ˌsɪmbaɪˈəʊsɪs)


1. (Biology) a close and usually obligatory association of two organisms of different species that live together, often to their mutual benefit
2. (Sociology) a similar relationship between interdependent persons or groups
[C19: via New Latin from Greek: a living together; see symbiont]
(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003)

At January’s Global Connections conference (see the theme of ‘partnership’ was strong. And then at the recent Large Churches Mission Forum at All Souls, we began thinking about what practical steps churches could take to that end. We celebrate the huge growth of the Church in the ‘global South’ – but what does that mean for the way we do mission today and tomorrow?

This all reminded me of an article I’d read last year in Missiology by Sherron Kay George*.  Fourteen years ago, with great insight Sherron Kay George had called for a symbiotic relationship between local and global, and sending and receiving. George claims that “localism or decentralized mission is a strong trend that represents a “conceptual change” as local congregations assume missional responsibility and identity.” She says that “the cutting edge missiological challenge before us is to achieve a harmonious synthesis between local and global mission.” Her proposal is for a 4 point local-global symbiosis – a model for a new way of doing mission. I think it’s real food for thought…

Here are her 4 points:

1. Congregations engage in local mission with awareness of the global community near and far.

2. Congregations participate in God’s universal mission around the world in partnership with the global church.

3. Congregations receive locally the global community from near and far as God’s missionary agents.

4. Congregations experience the global church’s international messages, values and practices for their nurture and transformation.



How many of these 4 points do you see at work in your church?

Could this help you in shaping your own church’s mission strategy?

Would you add any points to George’s four – or take any away?

Love to hear your thoughts…




*Sherron Kay George, ‘Local-Global Mission: The Cutting Edge’, Missiology 28 No. 2 (April 2000), 187-197.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s