Nomads, Itinerants, and Diaspora Missiology

Some conversation and action today regarding “people on the move”, global nomads [see my post], and “diaspora missiology”.

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Firstly, I am happy to announce my e-book is nearly finished, based on my travel adventures and extraordinary moments through 30+ countries in the past 3 years in our 4×4 truck named Maggie. The name of the book will be No-t-mad and I will be sending it out to those who sent a donation to get our truck over to NZ. Still room for more donations btw since we didn’t raise enough money for the whole project.

Secondly, Lifeway is releasing its Mission of God Study Bible. They are sending me 10 copies because I  contributed a short piece on itinerant ministry which, as you know,  is the narrative environment for much of God’s revelation (Abraham, Issac, Luke) and certainly for the expansion of the early church and later mission movements. Here is part of what I submitted, although the published version might be different [more eloquent, I hope]. 

An ‘itinerant’ is a wanderer who travels from place to place without a home. Stereotypes are demeaning: drifters, hobos, vagrants, bums, squatters, tramps, and carnies. Some are neutral but few are positive. And yet there are some who have voluntarily embraced itinerancy for the purpose of the gospel, including circuit riders, pilgrims, mendicants and wandering monks. The worst examples of the latter were frowned on. Benedict called them ‘gyrovagues’ (lit. “Those that wander in a circle) and Augustine called them ‘circumcelliones’ (lit. “Those that prowl around the barns”).


However, despite the stigma of being homeless ragamuffins, it was often the wandering missionaries who enabled the church to accelerate its mission into new spheres: extraordinary itinerants including Jesuits, Franciscans, Methodist circuit-riders, tent-revivalists and the Celtic “peregrine’, who one writer described as “intrepid Irish adventurers”. 

Well said, if I don’t mind saying so myself. Thanks to Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation for your hard work and your wise inclusion of my thoughts. You can already buy a hard copy of The Mission of God Study Bible here.

Thirdly, fellow-blogger Cody Lawrence just told me that The Global Diaspora Network, part of the Lausanne movement, are meeting right now. 

Lausanne 3 in Capetown was a great experience for me but there were a few frustrating moments for me, as a global nomad. One of them was deciding which geographical gathering of homies to attend each day. I just didn’t know which country or continent I was from. On the Lausanne website I was from USA. The Lausanne preparary meetings placed me in the UK, as part of the Europe group. But when I met the Aussies and Kiwis I decided to attend a few of their meetings, having lived in both countries. But generally, I felt quite homeless and unassigned to any geographical area.

Why is having a geographical location so important to everyone?????? Would they make the Apostle Paul attend the Tarsus group? Would Jesus be assigned to the Galileans? Would Abraham be stuck in a room drinking coffee with the residents of Ur?

Ur .  . Ur . . . Ur . . . urrrr I think NOT!

Another issue of frustration was the questionnaire that all 4000 of us were supposed to fill out. I got stuck on the part where you had to describe the country or geographical area you were working in. Ahhhhh . .   how about ALL OF THEM!!!  I had no idea what to fill out so I threw the form in the rubbish bin. 

Anyway, I am happy to see that Lausanne are taking seriously the diaspora and “people on the move” on both sides of the fence. Some bedtime reading material courtesy of Lausanne:

The Soul Declaration on Diaspora Missiology (2009)

Diaspora Mission: Keeping Churches in the Conversation

Diasporas and International Students

Lausanne Diasporas: One Year after Cape Town



Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.

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