I just read through the winter 2007 issue of Leadership Journal, which is on the theme "Going Missional." Some random but related ideas and thoughts from it:
Oak Brook Community Church, a suburban church not far from my work, flies a different national flag every Sunday, and the congregation prays for that country that day. The mission task force gathers, prays for peace and runs the flag up the pole. "We want to demonstrate that God loves the whole world and that everyone is welcome here," says pastor Richard Glyman. The church started doing this five years ago, after 9/11, and has flown over 300 different flags so far.
Bob Roberts, pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, and author of the books Transformation and Glocalization, asked his congregation to invert the shirt collar of the person in front of them, find the label and call out the name of the nation where the shirt was made. China, India, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Kenya, Dominican Republic and Spain were all mentioned before anyone said "USA."
I just checked the tags of my sons' shirts, and they're from Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Indonesia. The InterVarsity shirt I'm wearing right now is from Bangladesh, and my T-shirt, which is from a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, was made in Honduras. So I just brought out our globe and showed the boys where all these countries are. My copy of Operation World is not the most current edition, but that and our T-shirts can help us pray for the world.
And Brian McLaren has an article about the theology books he's reading by Latin Americans, Asians and Africans, like Rene Padilla, Alan Boesak, Emmanuel Katongole, Jon Sobrino, Mabiala Kenzo and Leonardo Boff. Their perspectives have helped McLaren see how limited our North American notions of "being missional" are. He says, "How can we preach about fine-tuning esoteric points in our systematic theologies without also addressing brute realities like corruption, injustice, and unemployment? As I read brothers and sisters from the global South, I can't sideline these matters any longer. My sense of what missional means is irrevocably deepened, broadened, transformed."