Posted here from https://micn.org/polycentric-mission-leadership/
Hot from the Print shop! This book was recently released by REGNUM (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, UK) in the Summer of 2022.
The author is Rev. Dr. Joseph Handley Jr. He is the President of Asian Access and based in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Handley is also serving as the Catalyst for Leadership Development of the Lausanne Movement.
The thesis of this book is self-explanatory as the title portrays. However, for non-technical missiology readers. I want to briefly comment on the “Polycentric Missiology (i.e. Mission).” Missiologist, Allen Yeh of Biola University in California, first coined this term, meaning “missiology in the 21st Century is for Everyone to Everywhere” (2016). In other words, doing missions or the practice of missions is Multi-directional or Polycentric not Lineal. Therefore, to accelerate the fulfillment of the Great Commission is no longer “from here to there;” or from the “west to the rest of the world” — this was the old protestant colonial practice! In the fast changing moving dynamic world, the church must practice “Polycentric Mission.”
Handley started by describing the changing landscape of the 21st Century mission field. The world has rapidly changed and will continue to change. For the Global Church to cope and remain to be relevant, the Church needs a new brand of leaders or influencers.
I believe the best place to identify these leaders are not in the classrooms but in the mission fields. Handley himself ministered in many countries in North and Latin America, Far East Asia and Middle East. Wherever he went and whatever ministry context he was planted, he identified and mentored and mobilized potential leaders for our complex world today.
The author is a progressive learner who understands geopolitics, the local congregations, and academic institutions. Consequently, he pursued his doctoral studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA) not to study another “theory” (he was already practicing his theory) but to engage credible scholars and reflective practitioners like him. For example, during his research he was in consultation with missiologists and global evangelical leaders like Allen Yeh, Douglas Birdsall, David Bennett, Phil Butler, and Bambang Budijanto.
I must confess when I was a young church planter-pastor, my leadership style was militaristic – very top down! Moreover, I was more like a rancher than an under shepherd, Over time, I wanted change and to learn by attending leadership seminars for so-called “servant leaders.” However, there was still a vacuum, an “empty space” to be filled. I wish this book was already available. This leadership resource is 40 years late for my ministerial practice! The themes of this book are: “Partnership,” “Collaboration,” and “Communal” tightly moored in Biblical principles of disciple making and kingdom building.
This volume was originally the product of the author’s leadership experiences as a clergyman, missionary, educator, and missions mobilizer. He summed all this into a PhD dissertation. For his dissertation research, he used qualitative research methodology, interviews, case study, and participant observation. I believe doctoral dissertation is to be written not just for a few committee members of the academic circle but to be shared widely to the building of the Kingdom of God. As one of my professors said: “publish your dissertation or perish!” I am thankful to Dr. Handley who worked hard during the pandemic season for his scholarly dissertation to be published into a clear, readable, and easier to understand – the transferable concepts (“theories”) into a book. Hence, I join several academics and global influencers in endorsing this timely book. It is our changing global missions landscape.
This book is available from OCMS and Amazon Online.
Sadiri Joy Tira DMiss, DMin
Diaspora Missiology Specialist
Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives
at Ambrose University
A Hybrid World: Diaspora, Hybridity, and Missio Dei
Scattered and Gathered: A Global Compendium of Diaspora Missiology