OMF’s vision: mission in, to and from the UK

A core part of OMF (UK)’s message is that there are still great numbers of East Asians who do not know a Christian.

There are many places in East Asia where the gospel is yet to be seen and heard, where the church is small, and where resources and training for local Christians are difficult to access.

Alongside that message is the reality that mission is now ‘from everywhere to everywhere’. There has been a shift in global Christianity, people are on the move, and our local communities in the UK are increasingly diverse.

So, how have mission agencies adapted to these complex realities? In the words of missiologist David Smith, ‘agencies… that once did pioneering work at the cutting edges of the Christian mission have too often been left facing in the wrong direction as the battle has moved on.’ 1

Many agencies, OMF included, have adjusted and innovated in various ways over the years, but more radical steps are required if we are to remain faithful, relevant and sustainable.

A renewed vision

OMF (UK) has recently renewed its vision, aiming for continuity with our rich history while also encouraging innovation in finding new ways to pursue our vision:

  • By God’s grace we see OMF (UK) as a catalyst for the Church sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness among East Asia’s peoples through all aspects of life.
  • This will be achieved by developing OMF (UK) as a hub for intercultural, integral and indigenous mission, working collaboratively with churches, OMF centres, agencies, and the East Asian diaspora, across the street and across the world.

Three building blocks

In my next few ‘Directions’ columns, I’ll be unpacking more of this vision statement, but to start off, three building blocks undergird this vision:

  1. Intercultural – a commitment to moving beyond one directional cross-cultural ministry, recognising both senders and receivers are transformed as we cross boundaries to share the good news of Jesus.
  2. Integral – a commitment to integrated ministry as we proclaim the good news in our being, doing and telling, and embody the message in whole-life discipleship.
  3. Indigenous – a commitment to local people and context, and to their missional agenda for what wholistic witness to the kingdom should look like for their locality.

At the core of this renewed vision is the idea of OMF (UK) becoming a missional hub. Becoming a hub means moving away from the outdated language of ‘home’ and ‘field’. Because today the UK is not just a place where missionaries are sent from, but is also a place where we’re receiving missionaries and where local churches and organisations are engaged in intercultural ministry.

In short, we aim to be a centre for sharing the good news of Jesus with East Asia’s peoples in the UK, supporting missionaries to the UK, and continuing to send workers from the UK. The hub concept emphasises the integrative, intercultural and multidirectional nature of what faithful witness to the good news of the kingdom needs to look like in today’s world.

In addition to our ongoing commitments to send workers to serve the Church in East Asia, we are excited about developments in two particular streams of our strategy.

Diaspora ministry

We aim to develop structures that enable us to make the most of opportunities with East Asians who are in the UK and Ireland – whether for a relatively short period and planning to return to Asia, or having arrived with the aim to stay and make the UK or Ireland their home. Our ministry among the East Asian diaspora is an increasingly important part of our work in the UK.

Our future effectiveness is bound up with how we relate to the intercultural communities around us – joining up local with global mission, and demonstrating to UK churches the importance of receiving and welcoming, as well as sending and going.

Marketplace Ministry

In partnership with other OMF centres, as well as with organisations such as LICC and Climate Stewards, we are developing innovative pathways for Christians in their 20s and 30s to explore how to share the good news of Jesus across cultures, whatever their profession and wherever their career takes them.

As the Lausanne Global Workplace Forum put it, ‘We don’t go to work to get meaning, we take our meaning to work’, recognising that ‘the workplace Christian has a tremendous part to play in the fulfilment of the Great Commission.’ 2

We look forward to sharing more about how these streams develop over the coming months. In the meantime, look out for Work+Go – an initiative to inspire workers to see the intrinsic value of work, how their faith integrates with their work, and how Jesus changes workplace cultures as the gospel is lived and shared.

Dr. Peter Rowan
OMF (UK) Co-National Director

  1. David Smith, Mission After Christendom, DLT: London, 2003 p.11.
  2. at-work [accessed 11.02.22]