Malaysia’s mission leaders outlined actions steps to respond to eight mission projects in a 17 July meeting of the Malaysian Center for Global Ministry (MCGM). MCGM billed the meeting as a “roundtable dialogue with mission leaders.” An estimated ninety-five percent of Malaysia’s mission agencies attended the meeting.
“If the Church in Malaysia is to play a meaningful role in the work God is doing in Asia, we have to learn to work together. That is what this network is all about,” said Bishop Hwa Yung of Malaysia’s Methodist Church.
Reverend David Packiam, Chairman of MCGM, echoed these sentiments, “We want to be an example to Malaysia and other nations as well. We can choose to work together.”
“We see a clear, definite and committed network,” commented Bishop Yung in his closing remarks. “I am very happy.”
MCGM is intended to unseat “little Napoleons” (a reference to a statement by Malaysia’s Prime Minister that local leaders wield too much personal power) in Malaysia’s mission work by creating a forum in which the different agencies can work together.
Prior to the meeting the MCGM had identified six projects: World Evangelical Alliance’s Tentmakers International Congress hosted by Malaysia from 9-11 July 2007, missionary training through the Malaysian Cross-Cultural Missions School (MCMS), church mobilization, Outreach to Foreigners (O2F), member care and a missions hub. Mission leaders identified two additional projects during the meeting: youth mobilization and missions education as being priorities.
Working groups defined action steps toward the fulfillment of each project over the next five years and facilitators were chosen to help carry on these steps.
Tentmaker’s International Congress
The priority is to create awareness among Malaysian Christians of tentmaking as a viable alternative to traditional missions work, in particular among young Malaysians who will not go as full-time missionaries but will go as professional tentmakers. The working group will propose to the Board of Tentmakers International topics and speakers for the conference, establish the number of Malaysian participants and form an organizing committee to address this issue.
Missionary Training and Missions Education
This group consolidated missionary training and missions education and declared that missions education in the Malaysian Church is vital and a “prelude to missions awareness.” A missions education structure is therefore essential. MCGM will examine training courses such as World Outreach’s Kairos. The working group suggested that the Malaysian Cross-cultural Missions School seek accreditation by local seminaries. MCMS is designed to train missionaries and tentmakers called to serve among the unreached peoples of Southeast Asia.
Malaysian Christian youth must be mobilized, trained and sent out for short-term missions. The working group proposed a National Youth Missions Conference for 2007. Agencies participating in the MCGM will (1) follow up with youth with a missions interest, (2) train them and (3) send them on short-term missions trips to a specific region outside Malaysia. The goal is to create long-term missions passion out of short-term zeal.
Outreach to Foreigners (O2F)
Faced with 2.5 million foreigners to twenty-six million Malaysians on Malaysia soil, this working group will mobilize the Church through (1) traveling shows that present ministry to migrants, (2) a jointly organized nationwide conference in 2008 where churches and agencies can share resources and (3) a regular bulletin. O2F requires more resources such as Bibles, tracts, and teaching materials.
Although this is the smallest working group, it has the biggest dream: to lay the foundation for an independent member care center in Malaysia for missionaries by December 2007. The center will gather member care resources, train churches and agencies to provide member care and organize retreats for missionaries and “third culture” children. Some churches and agencies in Malaysia do not provide adequate member care because they are either too small or do not have adequate professional help. For the next one to one-and-a-half years the working group will dialogue with churches and agencies and develop a blueprint for the center.
Passion for missions in Malaysian churches starts from the top and trickles down. This working group will start a monthly prayer meeting of mission agencies and church pastors at a local mega church. They decided that short-term mission trips must be upgraded and an improved follow-up method of potential missionaries identified.
Missions Information Hub
MCGM initiated the missions information hub in 2004. The MCGM requires a full-time worker who will network agencies and churches, build the network’s database and gather information for the current e-newsletter, which shares information with churches and agencies once a quarter on Malaysian missions events and activities. Member agencies of the MCGM can also begin to consolidate existing mission resources in the resource center at the office of the Strategic Missions Program (STAMP) to better centralize mission resources. The resource center has more than two thousand books and videos available to be borrowed.
Mission leaders also identified the need to expand the MCGM to Chinese and Tamil-speaking churches and ministries, to mobilize retirees for mission, to engage more college campus believers to commit to missions, to better utilize cyberspace for Malaysian missions and to target Malaysia’s smaller churches.
Mission leaders voted to meet once a year in a similar venue to dialogue on how to work together to respond to such needs. The July meeting of the MCGM bodes well for future Malaysian missionary cooperation. For more information on MCGM or the meeting, send an email to email@example.com.