Interview with Enoch Wan on Diaspora Missiology 3

I want to share with you about a new book that was recently released.  Enoch Wan has produced the first comprehensive textbook on the new–yet burgeoning–area of missiology that examines the global movements of peoples.  Diaspora Missiology: Theory, Methodology, and Practice is a collection of chapters by different contributors addressing this extremely important discipline.  Enoch is a professor of Intercultural Studies at Western Seminary.

I recently communicated with Enoch about his work and wanted to share this conversation with you.

As a field of study, what is diaspora missiology?

The reality of demographic trends of diasporas in the 21st century requires a different missiological paradigm from which new mission strategies and action plans can be developed.  “Diaspora missiology” is a new way of conducting missiological research to supplement the traditional approach.

Why did you produce Diaspora Missiology?

In the last few years, I published a dozen articles, gave presentations at Tokyo 2010 and Cape Town 2010 on diaspora missiology; yet there is no publication comprehensively covering this important and urgent subject matter.  This omission in the field is why I published this book.

This book contains extensive documentation.  Is it written mainly for
use in the academic context?

It can be used as a text in an academic context, but it can also be used as a reference tool for leaders/practitioners who would like to engage in the practice of diaspora missions (i.e. missions to the diaspora, missions through the diaspora, and missions by and beyond the diaspora.).

Why should North American pastors study diaspora missiology?

They should study diaspora missiology and put it into practice because both Canada and the United States are immigrant countries with influxes of new comers from foreign lands who should be either the target of evangelism or partners for the Great Commission.

Many from the “unreached people-groups” are now at our door steps or within the neighborhoods of local congregations. Thriving diaspora congregations are excellent bridges for local congregations to become strategic partners.

For example, if an English-speaking congregation is planning to be involved in China (i.e. the largest mission field with one of the most receptive peoples of the 21st century), it is strategic to enter into partnership with a neighboring diaspora Chinese congregation to empower their church members to reach their own kinsmen in their country of birth. In Chapter 20 of my book, there is a case study of how local congregations in Minnesota are engaging in diaspora missions with exciting outcomes and encouraging strategies.

In addition to reading your book, what are some other available
resources for those interested in learning more about this new field of missions?

Valuable resources are listed in the Reference section of the book (p. 381-397) as well as a Sample Publications/Presentations section (p. 398-401).  Additional information may also be found in the Diaspora Missiology section of and the Resource Links of the multilingual, online journal Global Missiology.

How can the reader get the maximum benefit from this book?

Depending on the background and expectation of the readers, I would make the following comments:

  • The book is organized in an academic format for seminarians and researchers, dealing with theory, methodology and the practice of diaspora missiology.
  • Practitioners and leaders of missions agencies might want to start with the last part of the book with the eight case studies: ranging from group-specific (Chapters 13, 14, 16, 17, 18), region-specific (Chapter 15), and state-specific (Chapter 19-urban, 20-rural). Readers will benefit by the informative precedents, insightful practices, and strategic planning of the eight case studies.
  • A general reader may want to start with “Epilogue” (p. 353-355) and Chapter 21 “Conclusion” (p.345-348), then peruse quickly through the first nine chapters while spending more time examining the actual cases of chapters 13 to 20.

Thank you, Enoch, for sharing with us about your new book. 

I want to commend this work to you.  Enoch has been a leading global voice in this new area of missions.  I have had the privilege of knowing him as a friend for the past few years with our connections through the Evangelical Missiological Society.  After hearing him mention diaspora missiology a few years ago, I quickly realized that this is one of the most important areas related to Kingdom advancement today.  In fact, I feel so strongly about it, that I often post on this topic here at the blog, and my next book to be released in October 2012 is on the migrations of unreached peoples to western countries.

Enoch’s book is a cutting edge work.  You will want to get a copy of it and allow it to shape your approach to making disciples of all nations.

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