Worship and evangelism are central to the Christian faith, but worshiping God is much more than attending church on Sunday, just as evangelism is much more than saying religious words to an unbeliever. As artists, our missionary strategy needs to employ every available means of communication—speaking, listening, playing music, storytelling, using parables and proverbs, dancing, drama, visual arts—as we seek to make men, women, and children worshipers of God.
I strongly believe there exists (at least) one major area of neglect by most conservative evangelical mission works — THE ETHNIC ARTS. A close evaluation of a people’s music and other art forms provides the major road maps to grasping their thought patterns, value structures, and communication norms. Though cross-cultural missionaries have for years attempted to become more sensitized to anthropological considerations, because of our generally low view (or inadequate view) of the role of the arts within our humanity or our Christianity, very few have an awareness of the need to take care to observe a people closely in these areas.
For nearly thirty years Presbyterians and other Reformed churches contributed to the American Board, but at the end of that period denominational organization seemed to each group a better arrangement. Both Methodists and Episcopalians followed the example of the rest. Smaller denominations carried on independent operations in various regions.
English and Scottish missions in the late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth centuries not only brought the Gospel message, they were also instrumental in fomenting social reforms, bringing medical care, and ending pagan practices that destroyed the lives of women and children.
In becoming Christians the Norsemen did not lose all of their adventurous spirits, but they came into peaceful relations with continental Europe. Subsequently they formed part of the trading system of the Hanseatic League.
The evangelized tribes were, in many cases, nominal believers who retained many pagan customs. But, over time, churches took root and and Christianity thrived.
The multiplication of churches and schools followed missionary efforts and the English churches were brought into closer contact with the Catholic system on the Continent. Roman Catholic authority later was extended over Ireland and Scotland.
Luther Rice (1783-1836) was born in Northborough, Massachusetts. He studied at Williams College and Andover Theological Seminary. He became interested in missions and, along with Adoniram Judson, founded the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in 1810.
Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was born in Northern Ireland and educated at Wesleyan Methodist Boarding School. She grew up in a wealthy and well-connected family. Yet, despite her privileged circumstances, she dedicated her life to missions and went to Japan in 1893.
William Carey (1761-1834) is considered the “father of modern missions.” He was born in Paulersbury, England to a poor weaver. As a young man, he worked as an apprentice to a shoemaker but spent his spare time studying for the ministry.