Original Research

Mission, migration and human development: A new approach

Akinyemi O. Alawode
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1888 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1888 | © 2015 Akinyemi O. Alawode | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 2014 | Published: 03 July 2015

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Akinyemi O. Alawode, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Department of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa

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Migration has been a fact of Judaeo-Christian life since the days when Abram left Ur of the Chaldeans to find God’s promised land. It has become a far greater reality since the late 20th century, mainly as a result of wars, intranational conflicts, and natural disasters. As a result we have to deal with a larger number of internally or externally displaced persons (migrants) in Africa at the beginning of the 21st century than ever before. At the same time Africa reports on record numbers in terms of church growth. It is therefore clear that migration and Christian mission to migrants are serious items on the agenda of Christian mission in Africa. The article argues that migration is largely a result of a growing phenomenon of dehumanisation in Africa and worldwide: people tend to regard other people no longer as fellow human beings, created in the image of God. For this reason a very important missionary responsibility is topromote humanisation according to the gospel proclaimed by the new human being, Jesus of Nazareth. This calls for human development of migrants as well as indigenous Christians. It is my contention that the Christian community in Africa has not yet grasped this missionary vocation as it should have. Therefore, the article argues that Christian mission in Africa faces the task of humanising relationships between indigenous Christians and other migrants, and that this can be done through a well-developed programme of human development in which both migrants and indigenous Christians should participate.


Sending, migrasie en menslike ontwikkeling: ’n Nuwe benadering. Migrasie is ’n realiteit van die Judese-Christelike lewe sedert Abram Ur van die Galdeërs verlaat het om God se beloofde land te vind. Dit het egter ’n groter realiteit geword sedert die laat twintigste eeu hoofsaaklik as gevolg van oorloë, intranasionale konflik en natuurrampe. As gevolg hiervan moes daar na ’n groter getal migrante in Afrika omgesien word aan die begin van die een-en-twintigste eeu as ooit tevore. In dieselfde periode het die kerk in Afrika met rekordgetalle gegroei. Dit behoort duidelik te wees dat migrasie en Christensending aan migrante hoog op die agenda van Christensending in Afrika behoort te wees. Hierdie artikel spruit voort uit die veronderstelling dat migrasie hoofsaaklik die gevolg van die groeiende verskynsel van verontmensliking (dehumanisering) in Afrika en wêreldwyd is, naamlik om ander mense nie as die beeld van God te erken nie. Om hierdie rede is dit die verantwoordelikheid van sending om menslike ontwikkeling aan die hand van die evangelie, soos dit deur die nuwe mens, Jesus van Nasaret verkondig is, te bevorder. Dit is ’n roeping wat geldend is ten opsigte van migrante sowel as plaaslike Christene. Hierdie artikel veronderstel dat die Christelike gemeenskap nog nie hierdie sendingroeping na behore verstaan nie en sien die taak van sending in Afrika daarom as die vermensliking (humanisering) van die verhouding tussen plaaslike Christene en ander migrante. Hierdie doel kan verwesenlik word deur ’n behoorlik ontwikkelde program van menslike ontwikkeling waarin sowel migrante as Christene moet deel hê.


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