I’ve just been to the Australian Association for Mission Studies conference in Sydney. This was my first experience of a conference on missiology. I have to confess that missiology was one of those subjects I did during my undergrad theology studies rather reluctantly as I didn’t see myself as a missionary, i.e. as someone who was going to go overseas into another culture to witness to Christ. I’d been through the years of guilt, the thoughts of possibly going and the final realisation that I wasn’t gifted for it or called to it (for now at least?!).
However, if Christians don’t think missiologically, then they are not being true to their calling to be disciple makers (see the end of Matthew’s Gospel). My interest in missiology in particular is ecomissiology, the idea that we have a mission to creation – sent out by God to till and tend creation (Gen 2:15) and to rule over it as the image of God (imago Dei; Gen 1:26-28). This mission is not separate to the Great Commission, and it forms part of the Great Omission of those who do not understand the necessity to live in accordance with kingdom principles now, particularly those of peace and justice, especially for the poor.
Ecomission therefore carries with it both the sense of ecojustice (caring for creation for the benefit of both the global poor and future generations – indeed for all of us) and mission to creation in the form of creation care for the sake of the creation itself. Psalm 104 is a wonderful illustration of divine care of the creation, and as his image we should imitate this as far as is humanly possible.
It was personally great for me to meet and network with Clive Ayres and Norm Habel among others, and I look forward to further dialogue and collaboration.