Introduction to the implementation and practice of diaspora ministry. Theory and knowledge learned in other diaspora courses will be reviewed and then applied to the student’s work in this course. Students will pinpoint and reach out to a specific diaspora population, solidifying their vision, developing a plan, and putting it into practice.
Understanding and studying diasporas are one thing but what about “doing diaspora”? This course will train those burdened for peoples “on the move” on how to start, develop and lead a ministry that reaches out to and impacts diverse diasporic populations: victims of human trafficking, students, businessmen, immigrants, refugees, diaspora housewives and their families, workers on temporary visas, and more.
Launching and Leading a Diaspora Ministry is a vitally important class and should be one of the "marquee courses” of the MU diaspora program. This is not because I am teaching it or because I want it to be so. Rather, it is because this class is the "laboratory” and "greenhouse” for trial and error and incubation of strategies and plans for nascent practitioners in diaspora ministry. With me, at least, all the courses I teach will have a strong practical emphasis but this course is the only one where practicum will be the primary and central focus.
It is a fundamental goal that this course will have the Bible and a biblical understanding of diaspora at its core, with biblical and theological underpinnings informing and guiding all practice.
The missio deiinforms and is the background of diaspora mission. This course will have a heavy applicational focus, but it will start with the concept that the student must go to where God is already working. Students will be challenged to have a philosophy of ministry in which the incarnational missional approach engages individuals and communities for the purpose of transformation in Christ.
All diaspora ministry requires a multi-faceted approach which utilizes demographics, social science research methodology, biblical and theological truths as well as case studies and practiced strategies which are all applied contextually to a given context. Especially for practice, proper exegesis of culture and people is essential.
By definition and essence, diaspora is both interculturally diverse and cross-cultural in nature. This is particularly true in a diaspora ministry situation. So, the student and the teacher must actively and knowingly engage with diaspora recognizing that they will probably be taken out of their own cultural comfort zones.
Content-based instruction alone is not enough. The assignments and even the purpose of the course itself must have some sort of practical outcome or learning will end with “head knowledge” alone. This is most true in a practicum-oriented class like this one.
For diaspora mission, learning will be most powerful on the experiential level, especially for a practical class like this one. Exercises and assignments will be reflective in part, collaborative as much as possible, and sometimes interactive with diaspora persons themselves. “Hands on” experience where the learner is engaged is invaluable for diaspora acculturation and integration.