Having a sense of purpose or a deep motivation for what we do is key to giving us hope as individuals – the same applies for ministries like GMP. There are times for all of us when motivation and a sense of purpose is hard to find and must be reclaimed.
At the moment the GMP Board and staff are exploring what our priorities are as we look to the future. GMP has a strong history. The first initiative in overseas mission was taken in 1891 when Mary Thompson was sent to serve in India. She went “with the idea of giving her life to the work”, and she stayed there for around 34 years. There were times of disappointment and she was frustrated at the lack of interest in ‘Foreign Mission’ back home in Australia.
Mary led the beginning of the engagement of Churches of Christ in overseas mission by leaving, and investing her life in India. The engagement of Australian churches in Aboriginal ministry developed over time. In the 1900s the Brighton Church of Christ (Vic) was pressuring the Victorian Conference Foreign Mission Committee to address the situation of Australia’s Aboriginal people. Much later this concern and desire to care took shape in the formation of the Federal Aborigines Mission Board. In the 1970s Churches of Christ Overseas Aid was also formally registered.This is our heritage that we continue to honour and care for.
Since this inception, there have been rapid shifts in many areas – technology, communication, transport, denominational loyalty and expectations. The strategies of the past are no longer as helpful as they were. Change is needed and cannot be avoided. We must be clear about the difference between strategies, which are changeable, from the deep motivation that underpins them.
We want to reach people and share with them the love of Jesus and invite them to commit to him as Lord and Saviour. We provide support and care to people trapped in poverty or facing disaster and conflict. We see local communities led by people from the same culture and know in our hearts that ‘local people’ do it better than outsiders. Our commitment to mission in the name of Jesus has not changed at all.
Investing in local people has always been at the heart of mission. We are needed – as coaches, mentors and generous supporters. In this season of planning we invite prayer so that we can discern the direction that God has for GMP.