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Evangelical leaders discuss mission challenges in Latin America

At a meeting in Bogotá, missionaries and pastors acknowledged that they “still have challenges regarding our vocation and our capacity to welcome differences”.

FUENTES Protestante Digital AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus BOGOTÁ 31 DE MAYO DE 2023 16:17 h
The missionary gathering in Bogotá.

A hundred missionaries, pastors and theologians from several Latin American countries and Spain participated in the gathering “The Missio Dei in the new times”, from 2 to 5 May in Bogotá (Colombia).



The challenges of mission today, mainly in Latin America, but also on a global level, where there is an increasing mobility and influence from one part of the world to the other, were discussed in presentations and round tables.



The three participants from Spain and the Spanish Mission Platform (Rosa Barrachina, Zaza and Carlos Madrigal), said they “enjoyed the contents of the event, as well as the contact and communion with our Spanish and Portuguese-speaking brothers and sisters from the American continent. It has been a time of intense reflection for all of us”.





[photo_footer] The poster of the gathering. [/photo_footer] 


 



Divergences on mission implications



The organising committee issued a letter emphasising that “the different presentations and the extensive conversations impacted us both about the times in which we live, with their pains, ambiguities and challenges, and about the vocation to be the Body of Christ at this very moment in our history”.



They acknowledge that “we were not able to live fully what we had seen in Philippians, which challenged and invited us to exercise grace and care in our relationship with one another, as we ended up expressing conflicts from the past over the understanding of our missional vocation, which the new generations, as they have made clear, do not recognise and do not deserve to inherit”.



That is why the committee stressed the “need to continue around more tables, as we still have many challenges regarding our vocation and our capacity to experience and welcome differences in this same Body of Christ, and even to live with our limitations”.



The organisers reassured their commitment to present “a synthesis of the event that shapes the listening of the tables and can carry us forward in our vocational commitment to the Missio Dei”.



Materials from the event that are “meaningful, deep and inclusive” will also be distributed later this year.





 



Political and social agendas and the extension of the message



Regarding those divergences, the Spanish participants explain in their letter that, according to many of the speakers, “in some cases, the church in Latin America is too focused on its own promotion and on specific political agendas, putting aside the commitment to social justice, the environment and the most marginalised”.



Meanwhile, “other participants noted the lack of a call to take the gospel to the ends of the earth”.



Missionary Carlos Madrigal pointed out that “the emphasis of my presentation ("The missionary vocation of the people of God, the misunderstood mission of the church"), apart from the reflections of the tables, was the only challenge that was heard about taking the gospel to the nations”.





[photo_footer]  Carlos Madrigal and Rosa Barrachina, fromthe Spanish Mission Platform. [/photo_footer] 


The Spanish Mission Platform concludes that “it is evident that, as the Lord's church, wherever we are, we cannot close our eyes to the needs of a world always in crisis and we must constantly update our response and evangelical offer, relying on the reflection of the Word and the prayer, identifying the keys to bring hope and life to an ever more changing and complex world”.



 



Conversations and teamwork



The Spaniards coming back from Bogotá highlighted “the opportunity to appreciate with our Latin American brothers and sisters the very good work that the Lord is allowing us to do, an encouragement to continue working and adding to the task that the Lord has given us to do from the peninsula”.



“We pray that the Lord will open our eyes. We need a more transcultural integral mission and a more integral transcultural mission. Many times we fragment the mission, and the way to resolve the differences is to sit down again at the same shared table and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit”.



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