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Editorial Preface to the Issue
Readers may notice that this is the first issue of Missio Dei without a core of themed articles. We have always accepted unsolicited submissions on any missiological topic, but building an issue thematically is the surest way to have the amount of content we prefer to publish in each number. As we approach our tenth year of publication, however, there is a certain symbolism in the diversity and quality of this issue’s frankly unplanned final form.
David Williams’s article extends a conversation among vulnerable-mission theorists with whom we have been profitably engaged for a number of years.MD strives to represent. The combination of fieldwork and critical analysis in their essay is a delight.I am always grateful for submissions from authors outside the Stone-Campbell tradition. They enrich our missiological discourse and signal the fact that we are engaged with the whole body of Christ, wherever participants in God’s mission are reflecting critically on theory and praxis. In turn, Alan Howell and Sam Pflederer’s article exemplifies the serious missiological reflection within the tradition that
Less formal, more broadly accessible essays are another component of our regular offering. In this vein, John Barton’s meditation on the American church’s relationship to Islam is outstanding. It is, as MD editor Nick Faris put it, "gently subversive." Barton's personal experience and expertise in interfaith dialogue bring uncommon wisdom to bear on one of the most urgent topics in Western post-Christendom’s missionary situation.
The contributions of Steve Cloer and Mark Adams represent a too-often untapped well of missiological work—namely, Doctor of Ministry research projects—taking place among scholar-practitioners rooted deeply in missional contexts. Each of these essays presents only a fraction of the extensive work undertaken in the authors’ local ministry settings. Cloer explores the implications of missional ecclesiology for the role of the minister among Churches of Christ. Adams seeks a model for understanding the effects of short-term missions on participants and sending churches. Both deserve close attention.
Finally, John Reese’s, “Report on the 2019 Global Missions Conference” is an important record of the questions that concern many missionaries, missiologists, and mission supporters in one stream of the Stone-Campbell missiology—that of Churches of Christ. In particular, the topics of the GMC’s “Tensions Talks” are noteworthy. The issues that capture the conference’s attention comprise a sort of real-world snapshot of mission among Churches of Christ in 2019 that undoubtedly merits further reflection and commentary.
From mission theology to cross-cultural fieldwork to interreligious dialogue, from local missional ecclesiology to short-term-mission best practices to archive work, the contents of this issue represent the breadth of missiological discourse that Missio Dei is privileged to host. As always, I am deeply grateful to the contributors, editors, and sponsors who make the production of our open-source journal possible.
Soli Deo gloria.
1 See Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis 4, no. 1 (February 2013): .