Christian service and global citizenshipDecember 2021GP0|#c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34;L0|#0c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34|Extending Beyond;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#a82c2124-212e-4f7a-b626-9a0c5a3534c2;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3c Beyond/711/Christian service and global citizenshipChristian service and global citizenshipExtending BeyondBy Mike Sherrill



<p>Technology brings information from all over the world into our lives around the clock. There is no doubt that each of us is becoming more and more globally connected. However, global connectivity is not the equivalent of global citizenship. At its heart, global citizenship is about active learning on a global scale and responding responsibly to those discoveries. Cultivating this global learning should be the responsibility of any globally-oriented organization.  </p><p>Mennonite Mission Network is driven by its calling to see people of all cultures transformed by Jesus Christ. One way we work at this is through cultivating community ties. This means nurturing connections between churches, our mission agency and local communities across the globe.  </p><p>In the face of injustice and inequity, it's understandable that one person can feel powerless to effect any significant change. However, change is possible through collaborative work. Co-laborers find inspiration to challenge the status quo together, locking arms with fellow members of the human family and pushing forward for equitable change.  </p><p>Naturally, this work requires listening and learning more about what is going on in the world. Thoughtful reflection on history, politics and economics, and the role of each person's own culture develops deeper intercultural competence.  </p><p>Christian service, in the context of global citizenship, serves to mobilize the inherent cultural desire for human oneness, with gains in intercultural and interpersonal skills, coupled with strong encouragement to boldly pursue healing and hope for humanity. For Mennonite Mission Network, Christian service is one place we see these reflections put into practice. Christian service strives to meet both the inherent desire for human connection, as well as Jesus' call to pursue healing and hope for humanity. </p><p>Christian service not only seeks to address community-identified needs but contributes to the growth of the participant, as well. It is "learning by doing" in a way that fosters greater mutuality in the world. Vibrant intercultural relationships are central to fostering global citizenship. </p><p>While volunteer work is generally understood as "doing for," Christian service should embody a stance of "doing with." Building on the common understanding that "we learn by doing," Christian service takes this a step further and says that we "learn by doing together."  </p><p>When communities collaborate in service across all sorts of borders, they learn from one another and with one another. This approach leads not only to growth in practical skills, such as language and intercultural competence, but also leads to the development of life skills, including a broadened understanding of values and a deepened sense of identity and civic responsibility. </p><p>Global partnerships in Christian service not only influence participants, but they can also energize churches and conferences. This strengthens the identity and calling of the church to nurture followers of Jesus in the global community, who thirst for peace and relational healing, who are compelled to put love into action, and who eagerly pursue justice and equity in the world. </p><p>Ultimately, the intersection of compassion, peace and justice fosters global citizenship. Each human being is a unique individual who comes from a unique cultural and social background. We are all citizens of our own particular nation. Yet, more importantly, as followers of Jesus, we are all citizens of God's unfolding kingdom. Every single human is a citizen of the planet Earth. The more we realize that we all stand together on this great blue ship floating in the vast cosmic ocean, the easier it is to cultivate peace and equity, compassion and service for all humanity. <br></p><p><br></p><p>Mike Sherrill<br>Executive Director and CEO<br></p>




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