Wholeness of Mission: Meeting Donald K. Smith

09 Apr

Donald K. Smith attended our last meeting of the Africa Journey Fellowship, and a whole new world of resources opened up to me. I have much to learn from this man and I’m diving right in!

Don is an expert in cross cultural communication, having served as a missionary and business developer in Africa for more than 30 years, and founder of Daystar University in Kenya, The International Institute for Christian Communication and the WorldView Center.  Don gave quite a few insights on the questions we raised about our Africa partnerships and our plans for missions projects.

Don is working on a revision of a previous book called Make Haste Slowly. In his book he asks questions such as; How do we develop wholeness of mission? How can we learn to communicate in ways that make wholeness of mission possible?

Here is short excerpt from Chapter 2: Chapter Two MAPPING THE JOURNEY

 Introducing fundamental change into another group or society is complex. It is easiest to do only a small part of what needs to be done, and pretend that is all that really matters. So a little part of the need is met by this group of specialists, another part by a band of enthusiasts, new programs are introduced, and still other parts are left untouched. Even when the Christian Message is the central concern, that Message is too often left undemonstrated and thus unheard.

Wholeness in mission is essential. The spiritual must be confirmed by meeting health needs, by encouraging the dignity of self-respect. Fighting famine must not squeeze out the feeding of hearts and minds. All of it must be done together, each part inseparable from all other parts. Wholeness in mission is more than each specialist adding his concerns to the total list of activities, then pasting it together under one administrator. It is very different from aid and advice lavishly dispensed by a skilled and powerful organization of professional development people.

Wholeness in mission only happens when the group itself is a participant in the change process. It doesn’t matter if the change desired is spiritual, social or physical. Without trust and full participation between “helped and helper,” the “best” efforts will result only in superficial change. It is unlikely to be permanent or spread very far in the society. It may, in fact, simply be rejected.

People are not a blackboard on which we draw our designs, but participants in change. They must be involved in determining priorities, choosing personnel, and carrying out programs jointly planned and accepted. How we develop communication that makes possible wholeness in mission is the purpose of this small book.

This book is for the many who are putting their lives into the effort to communicate with very different people. It is useful to the medical worker, the agriculturalist, the teacher, and the Christian evangelist. Whether short term or for a lifetime, following these basic principles will smooth friction at the meeting point of cultures.

 I eagerly await the re-release of this book, Make Haste Slowly and am hungry to glean more from Don’s 30+ years of wisdom.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


One response to “Wholeness of Mission: Meeting Donald K. Smith

  1. Don Brenneman

    April 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Don Smith is a walking encyclopedia of information. I look forward to his book.


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