Wednesday, January 18, 2012

needed: 13 mission legends for mission trading cards

Who would be your top 13 mission legends?

One of my tasks in the next month is to write a distance topic – Equipping in Culturally Appropriate Mission – to help lay leaders of local churches engage in mission. It is my experience that one very helpful way to engage people in mission is to tell stories of people past. Something happens when the story is told of Brendan the Navigator, or of Alexandre de Rhodes pioneer leadership in Vietnam in the 1600s. It provides a glimpse of a way of life that values pioneering and risk and it seems to fire people’s imaginations.

So I thought it would be fun to make up some mission trading cards to give to each student. This would involve finding a helpful cartoonist to draw a picture on the front, provide some key data on the back, along with a further written resource. It would be tactile. It would be fun. Students could play with them. Or even compare cards with each other (give everyone 12, not 13), leading to them swapping them with each other if they want.

But first, I need to identify some “mission legends.” Who are they for you? Who are the people in history who challenge and inspire the way you do mission? In an ideal world I would like 13 legends, including 3 from Australia. They would also embrace the breadth of mission – including proclaiming, discipling, serving, enacting justice and social transformation.

(I did a similar thing last year, when I designed a distance topic on Jesus, and AKMA very kindly let me use his Theologian trading cards and the feedback has been very positive. In fact, it allowed one of the best moments of intuitive teaching I did in 2011, when, as a group of students articulated their “Jesus” questions, I was able to give each of them a different theologian trading card, saying “Oh, you should meet (x), they had a similar question to you and you might find them really helpful.”)

Posted by steve at 01:54 PM


  1. Steve, I’m continually impressed by Newbigin – not sure how he measures to the historical greats, but being a theoretician and practitioner in two cultural contexts is quite an achievement. But also Saints Cyril and Methodius and their shaping, not just appropriation of it or mere relevance to it, is another exceptional episode.

    Comment by Can — January 22, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  2. Gladys Aylward still continues to inspire me

    Comment by Jennifer — January 23, 2012 @ 1:07 am

  3. Bruce Olson has an outstanding story. An American working in tribal South America, he was evangelist, bible translator, indigenous rights advocate, health educator and suffering servant.

    In Australia one of our legends is John Smith, the bikie missionary.

    Comment by Eric — January 23, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

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