Breaking cultural captivity: How to Mission

Breaking cultural captivity:

How to Mission

BMS World Mission partners with the World Church to grow God’s kingdom.

“We don’t know how to do that. But BMS does,” Tony, from a Baptist church in Shropshire, tells me. Tony and I are at “How to Mission”, a BMS conference, chatting about the need Tony’s so clearly identified: “to engage in cross-cultural mission with the people we find around us.” It’s a need that’s more pertinent than ever.

A man speaking with his hands up.
BMS’ key speakers brought together a wealth of knowledge from Asia and the Middle East to Latin America and Britain.
Mission ACTS

Want some guidance on becoming a missional church? Read more about Mission ACTS and how you can engage with mission.

It’s a pivotal time for both UK Baptist churches and BMS as we seek to grapple with globalisation, new technologies, immigration and increasing secularism. Keeping abreast of cultural change, BMS is moving towards a new strategy for 2021 and has just announced a partnership with Spurgeon’s College to deliver an academic course on mission. Our How to Mission conference (8-10 July), where I met Tony, was part of this ethos, sharing the knowledge BMS has gleaned from 225 years of mission.

As UK churches are realising, cross-cultural mission is not just relevant when going overseas. As Prabhu Singh, Principal of the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies explained in his insightful two-part lecture, a young person in the UK and a young person in southern India might share more in common than with their own families, despite being so far apart, due to the rise of new technologies and globalisation.

A mother and her son sitting on a doorstep smiling and holding a football in Uganda.

If you’d like to know more about how your church can get involved with helping refugees, check out our Leader’s guide for South Sudan’s Conflict Survivors.

Prabhu has been leading the largest body of research into Christian movements in India, where the church is the fastest growing in the world even in the face of alarming religious animosity. He also revealed that nearly 90 per cent of new believers in India are actively engaged in evangelism, and that those who had come to Christ primarily did so through a friend, family or mission worker. It’s a challenge to UK churches, that we need to not only preach the gospel in words but also in actions, building relationships along the way.

Themes like solidarity with the marginalised and forgiving your enemies surfaced repeatedly, this being a significant theme for speaker Elie Haddad, President of BMS-partner the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. On Monday, he shares with us how, in his home country of Lebanon, people pushed aside their historic animosity when Syrian refugees arrived on their doorstep.

As churches began to take action and become more missional rather than internally focussed, they were unified and are now growing exponentially.

A man smiling at the camera with a bush in the background
Refugees living in Bristol arrived on How to Mission delegate Richard Skinner’s doorstep and now his congregation regularly welcomes refugees into the church.

Welcoming in those with different cultures, stories and struggles involves dismantling our own sense of what is culturally comfortable. Our cultural boundaries were challenged with Loun Ling Lee and Kang-San Tan diving into theological thinking from Asia, Latin America and Africa. Michele Mahon, a BMS youth worker in Peru, also led us in sung worship in styles from all over the world.

“We are all culturally captive. I came here to be pushed out of my cultural comfort zone,” Susan, a Baptist minister in Wales, says enthusiastically.

A woman speaking and smiling
Michele Mahon led us in worship with songs from the UK, Nigeria and songs in Spanish.

With all this grounding, Deborah Hancox, a consultant to Christian development organisations, led us on how to put this missional thinking into action on Wednesday: beginning with organisations like BMS, which is perhaps the very first of the Christian development organisations, and then spreading into our UK church congregations.

And on the final day as we leave BMS’ Mission Training and Hospitality Centre in Birmingham, there’s an excitement in the air. From mission workers in Peru to members of UK Baptist churches, God was re-commissioning us and sending us out into all four corners of the world.

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Words by Melanie Webb.

The frontline is everywhere

The frontline is everywhere:

nine encounters with the realities of mission

Our mission workers are doing inspiring things in incredible countries around the world. And their blogs definitely show that! We’ve picked nine that we’d love for you to read today.

1. When a rock the size of a sofa tumbles towards you

Ever hit a pothole or been held up by roadworks? It won’t seem so annoying after you’ve read what BMS World Mission teacher trainer Annie Brown went through in Nepal. Thick mud, monsoon-flooded roads and steep hillsides were challenging enough. But then came the landslide.

2. The French church that needs your prayers

BMS mission worker Christine Kling gives a sermon in France
Christine Kling is taking on scepticism and a secular nation as she shares the truth of God’s love.

Church planting in secular France is very hard, and often lonely. But BMS pastor Christine Kling is giving all she’s got to try and help people get to know Christ, and God is with her. Please read Christine’s latest blog in which she shares some of the amazing opportunities she has to share the gospel, and please keep her church in your prayers.

3. How a sewing machine can spark dancing and hope for a better life

Sara’s husband is unemployed, just as her four adult sons are. Many others in her neighbourhood in Maputo, Mozambique, struggle to find work too. Your support for BMS worker Susanna Barrell means something is being done to help not only Sara, but others who want to learn a new skill to bring in money.

4. The day dozens of soldiers showed up at a hospital in the desert

BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford at Guinebor II Hospital as soldiers walked the grounds
The day when soldiers turned up at Guinebor II Hospital to do some gardening, captured by BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford.

It was turning out to be a relaxing Saturday for BMS pharmacist Claire Bedford at Guinebor II Hospital in Chad. She’d chilled out with a friend over lunch, watched a film and arrived home before dark. And then her phone rang. Claire’s weekend of peace and rest was no more… the military were on their way for an important visit. It was a memorable affair. We’ll let Claire complete the story.

5. Bringing a whole lot of joy to some amazing mothers

Songs, games, gifts, and a lot of smiling. What a great celebration of mothers this was in the village of Wang Daeng, northern Thailand. BMS workers Helen and Wit Boondeekhun will explain the rest.

6. Home assignment in numbers: ten facts from the Judkins family

BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins
BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins travelled over 5,000 miles during their recent UK visit.

Did BMS church planters Claire-Lise and David Judkins visit your church over the summer? Aren’t they great?! Even if you didn’t get to hear about their work in France, we think this set of important, interesting, and slightly quirky facts will give you a taste of their time visiting churches in the UK was for them and their four children. Check it out!

7. 'Jesus means everything to me’

What beautiful words these are, spoken by a woman at a baptism in Tirana, Albania, and included in a blog by BMS workers Annie and Dan Dupree. Through Tek Ura (a BMS-founded NGO), the Duprees are helping to provide health, social inclusion and education ministries in one of the poorest and most marginalised communities in Europe.

8. A sermon in the jungle, an exhilarating boat ride… and dolphins

As family trips go, the one taken by the Mahon family into the Peruvian jungle is certainly unforgettable. Find out what Baptist ministers Dave and Michele, and their three children Jonathan, Ruth and Phoebe, experienced when they left the city behind them and went up the mighty Nanay River, heading for the village of Santa Rita.

9. ‘These poor people work literally until they drop’

Two female tea pickers in Bangladesh
It is a very hard life being a tea-picker in Bangladesh.

Your tea of choice may well have been produced ethically. But it’s not the case for all the tea on the market, as BMS workers Louise and Phil Proctor document in their powerful blog post about the backbreaking work many tea-pickers in Bangladesh endure.

Thank you for your incredible support for our mission workers. Of course, there are so many other blogs that we could have included above. We do our very best to feature as many as we can on our Facebook page, where you can also keep-up-to date with the latest BMS news, stories and prayer requests.

Please check the page out today and share this story as another way to show your support for the Christians you’re partnering with around the world. They inspire us every day, as do you.

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Pray for Peru: our workers need your prayers today

Pray for Peru:

our workers need your prayers today

The land of Machu Picchu, rainforests and stunning mountains is loved by God and served by faithful Christians. All of BMS World Mission’s workers in the beautiful and diverse country of Peru will value your prayers this week.

Local Peruvian BMS workers America and Jorge are running social and recreational projects, as well as discipleship programmes for children and families in the town of Chincha.

• Pray that America and Jorge receive fresh energy when they are feeling tired.

• Pray they are encouraged in their work, and pray for the children they are serving. Pray they experience joy and form strong friendships.

Denise and Melany run an after-school club at the BMS-founded El Puente Baptist Church in Cusco. We rejoice that a church founded by BMS is now being led by Peruvian Christians and we give thanks for the privilege of partnering with them.

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in Denise and Melany’s lives and ministry. Pray they would feel guided in making decisions, and every day they would sense the joy that knowing Christ brings.

• Pray for Pastor Amilcar at the church. Pray for continued wisdom in his work, and that he would feel God’s strength in his meetings and conversations.

Children wave at an after-school club in Peru
Children at the after-school club at the El Puente Baptist Church.

Daniel and Regiane Clark are based in Lima, working at the Baptist Seminary. They also support children and adults in deprived areas, helping to organise medical check-ups with a team of volunteers that includes a doctor, nurse, dentist and a psychologist.

• Pray for Daniel’s teaching at the Seminary to be blessed and for Regiane to sense God’s presence in her administrative work and with student placements.

• Pray for the medical work they support. Pray that God would provide the resources needed to help people who are sick.

Pastor Luis is serving at the BMS-supported Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre, where Christian leaders from river communities in the Amazon region are taught theology and biblical literacy, as well as practical skills in caring for their land.

• Pray that Pastor Luis senses your encouragement today. Pray that he feels a fresh sense of conviction in his teaching, and that doors are opened for him to show the love of Christ.

• Pray that supported partner workers Judith and Pedro feel lifted up today, with fresh enthusiasm and energy, and discernment in their work.

• Pray for all the students who have attended the training programme. Pray they would lead their communities wisely, reflecting God’s love for them.

Pastor Luis Alvarado Dolly looks at a camera
Pastor Luis is strengthening pastors in rural Peruvian communities.

Baptist ministers Dave and Michele Mahon and their three children are based in the city of Iquitos, in northern Peru. They work with nine churches in their region and support the running of the Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre.

• Dave, Michele and their children Jonathan, Ruth and Phoebe, arrived in Iquitos last month. Pray that they settle in well.

• Pray that Dave and Michele find local people to come alongside them in their work, and that Dave builds strong relationships with pastors.

Show this video in your church to inspire prayer for the Mahon family

Laura-Lee Lovering is helping to develop the Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre. As an environmental scientist, she’s teaching community leaders sustainable ways to care for their land.

• Pray for Laura-Lee to find extra strength this week as pastors from river communities are trained at the centre. Please pray that more pastors attend the training, and that they arrive safely.

• Pray for the pastors training at the centre. Pray they would be inspired by what Laura and her colleagues teach them, and that they would encourage others to come forward and learn.

Life on the Amazon: a behind the scenes tour of Laura-Lee Lovering's workplace

Lori and Neil Brighton are BMS volunteers serving at the Nauta Integral Mission Training Centre. Lori is helping with the centre’s finances, and Neil is helping to redevelop the training course for pastors.

• Pray for their Spanish language development so they can become more effective in their roles.

• Pray the Holy Spirit would guide them in their work, and they would sense the support of people around the world praying for them.

Thank you so much for praying with our mission workers today, and for your continued support of them.

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Top 5 stories of 2017

Looking back:

Top 5 stories of 2017

Last year was filled with inspirational stories of lives being transformed through your giving. Here are our top five most-read articles from 2017.

Students being baptised in barrels. Young French Christians finding community. Nepali children excelling at school. These are just a few of the incredible things your gifts and prayers have made possible this year, through BMS World Mission. There were so many stories to choose from, but only five could top our news story charts! We hope you’ll be inspired as you look back at what we achieved together in 2017.

1. Big thinking for little minds

Children in Nepal are benefiting from Annie Brown's teacher training programme.

Millions of children in Nepal are getting the opportunity of a better education, thanks to your support for BMS worker Annie Brown.

With her teacher training programme being adopted by the Nepali Government, every teacher of students aged between five and 13 in all government schools will have the chance to receive Annie’s training. They’ll be better-equipped to teach, and Nepal’s children will face brighter futures!

2. Pray for our new mission workers

James and Ruth Neve, who are preparing to move to India to work with us.

Tucked away in our centre in Birmingham, new BMS mission workers are busy preparing for overseas service. For them, it’s daunting, but also exciting, as they get ready to serve God abroad in different ways. From a family heading to Nepal to help with disaster relief, to a couple heading to Albania to teach children of mission workers, there are plenty of things we can be praying for.

Loads of you loved catching up with our new mission workers’ prayer requests, making this our second most popular story last year.

Pray for them today by clicking the link below.

Want to help us do more? Give today

3. 5 ways you're fighting violence against women

We're working in Uganda to help primary schools devise and implement child protection policies.

For thousands of vulnerable women and girls around the world, gender based violence is a daily part of life. But, thanks to your support, BMS is taking a stand against it. From helping girls know their rights, to freeing women from prostitution, you’re helping to empower women and prevent trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Find out more by reading the story.

4. Baptised in a barrel in Phnom Penh

Students are meeting Jesus in Cambodia! We loved witnessing the amazing moment when Srei got baptised in a barrel and by our stats it looked like you did too. Read about how she and Chan came to find God at a BMS-supported Christian hostel in Phnom Penh, and how, thanks to your support, more and more people are finding Jesus.

5. Feeding of the 400

You’re helping to build Christian community in France – where young Christians often feel isolated and lonely.

Connexion 2017, an event put on by BMS worker Sue Wilson and her team, helped young French Christians realise they’re not alone. Watch the video above to find out about what it meant to the people who were there, and click the link below to read how you’re helping bring young French Christians together.

Want to help us do more? Give today

Thank you for supporting us in 2017. Your gifts have helped people find God, and have transformed countless lives. With your continued support, we can’t wait to start doing even more in 2018!

Other great stories made possible by you

Five stores aren’t enough to sum-up how much you did last year. So here are a few extra ones we’d love you to read too.

  1. Meet the inspiring Mozambican Christians you’re supporting: they’re bringing justice to abused women and teaching communities their rights.
  2. From witch doctor to church planter: the story of a witch doctor who found God, and then started planting churches.
  3. Baptist church brings light in Uganda: one simple action is raising money, helping people’s lungs and introducing people to Jesus.
  4. Refugees are like you and me: BMS worker Ann MacFarlane has seen God at work in the lives of refugees in Italy.
  5. This is what a life transformed looks like: meet Joshua. You helped give him a reason to smile.

Our workers need your prayers right now

Got a moment to pray? Great! Our workers need your prayers right now

Courage, safety and an improved hospital generator all feature in the latest prayer requests our mission workers have sent us. Please read on and pray with us for lives to be transformed.

Annie Brown

Annie is a teacher trainer working in Nepal with the Kathmandu International Study Centre’s Education Quality Improvement Programme (KISC EQUIP).

Annie’s prayer requests

• Pray for a Nepali teacher friend in Lamjung District who recently got baptised, that he continues to grow in his new Christian faith and is encouraged and protected when making visits back to his Hindu family.

• After ten years of prayer we have recruited a new Christian female EQUIP teacher trainer. Pray that Santona settles into her new work.

Please pray for revelation and a life-changing encounter with Jesus

Paul and Sarah Brown

Paul and Sarah are working in Bangkok, reaching out to women who have been sexually exploited or are survivors of sex trafficking. Sarah runs the Freedom Bakery project.

Paul and Sarah’s prayer requests

• Pray for the continued enthusiasm and purpose of the women who work in the Freedom Bakery. They have grown in amazing confidence, and have even begun teaching other women!

• Pray that the women will not be fearful, but will remain confident.

Women working on cupcakes at the Freedom Bakery in Bangkok, Thailand.
Please pray for the courageous women working at the Freedom Bakery in Bangkok, Thailand.


Linda and Tim are working in Gulu, northern Uganda. Tim is an environmental consultant and Linda has a legal background.

Linda and Tim Darby have asked for your prayers.
Linda and Tim Darby are working in Uganda and would love for you to pray for them.

Linda and Tim’s prayer requests

• Pray for the direction of the agricultural development work which is up for renewal early next year.

• Pray for the appointment of a Child Protection Policy Trainer to help protect children in schools.

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Claire-Lise and David Judkins

David and Claire-Lise Judkins, pictured here with their children Joshua, Nathan, Samuel and Ben, are asking for your prayers.
David and Claire-Lise Judkins, pictured here with their children Joshua, Nathan, Samuel and Ben, are asking for your prayers.

Claire-Lise and David work in Brive-la-Gaillarde, south west France, with a long-term vision to see a church-planting network take root.

Claire-Lise and David’s prayer requests

• Pray for a couple of ladies who are part of our fellowship, but haven’t yet taken the step of following Christ. Please pray for revelation and a life-changing encounter with Jesus.

• Pray that God may lead our young disciples to ‘people of peace’ who are open.


Claire is a pharmacist working near Chad’s capital, where she’s continuing the development of the pharmacy service at Guinebor II Hospital.

Claire’s prayer requests

• Pray for the mission workers at the hospital who will be in Chad this Christmas. Pray they would be able to experience peace and joy at this time of year, despite being far from family and friends.

• Pray the hospital would have all the resources it needs to function well.

Pray that we would continue to grow together as a family to be more like Christ.

Andy and Jenny Saunders

Andy and Jenny are serving in Kathmandu, Nepal. Jenny is a trained counsellor and uses her skills to train Nepali counsellors. Andy is a Baptist minister and has been teaching at a Bible college.

Andy and Jenny’s prayer requests

• Pray for energy and good health for Jenny, so that effective research into mental health in Nepal would bring lasting change.

• Pray for Andy, who is really enjoying his teaching. Pray for patience and good working practices at Nepal Baptist Bible College (NBBC).

Rory* and Catherine*

Rory and Catherine are working in health and development in Afghanistan.

Rory and Catherine’s prayer requests

• Pray for friends and colleagues to pick up on the joy and hope that this season brings us.

• Pray for chances to talk about what real peace is.

Andrea and Mark Hotchkin

Andrea and Mark are surgeons in Chad. Earlier this year they moved from Guinebor II Hospital to the north of Chad to continue their mission.

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Mother and child in the mountains of Afghanistan
Please pray for our work in Afghanistan.

Andrea and Mark’s prayer requests

• Please pray for developing relationships with the new team of nurses and technicians at the regional hospital as we start working there full-time.

• Pray for the arrival of a technician from the capital N’Djamena (1,700km across the Sahara desert) as the hospital generator is weak, meaning equipment such as the X-ray machine can’t be used.

Christine Kling

Christine is the pastor of the Baptist church in Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris.

Christine’s prayer requests

• Pray for the work in Gif, that through different events we will connect with new people.

• Pray for the new people who have started to join the church, that we will be a source of encouragement and support in their journey with God.

Christine Kling is the pastor of the Baptist church in Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris
Christine Kling has asked for prayers of "encouragement and support".

Simon and Wendy Hall

Simon and Wendy serve in Nepal with KISC EQUIP. They met while teaching in Kathmandu and now work in Lamjung.

Simon and Wendy’s prayer requests

• Pray for a meeting coming up with the district education officer where I (Simon) hope to influence how he allocates and spends a significant amount of Government money on ICT labs/equipment in schools.

• Pray that we would continue to grow together as a family to be more like Christ.

Simon and Wendy, in the mountains of Nepal.
Simon and Wendy Hall would love you to pray for their family.


Mary is using her skills in palliative care in Tunisia.

Mary’s prayer requests

• Pray for each person who is far from loved ones to feel, as well as know, they are part of a worldwide family over Christmas.

• Pray for people in places where 25 December is an ordinary day, that each of us will remember the original Christmas seemed to be an ordinary day too, when in fact our extraordinary God put on flesh.

Daniel and Regiane Clark

Every day I am overwhelmed by the support I know I have behind me from those so faithful in prayer.

Daniel uses his experience and theological training to teach at the Baptist Seminary in Lima, Peru, while Regiane works with low-income communities.

Daniel and Regiane’s prayer requests

• Pray for the ministry of the Baptist Seminary, especially as there is a shortage of pastors in the Baptist Convention.

• Pray as we seek to support the Social Action Department of the Baptist Convention in providing relief and community development resources in Piura.

David and Dorothy McMillan

David is Interim Director at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTSC) in Amsterdam, while Dorothy serves as Managing Editor of the centre’s two academic journals.

David and Dorothy’s prayer requests

• Pray for David as he carries out the role of Interim Director until a new director is appointed.

• Pray for our 40 plus students across the world as they balance family, ministry and study responsibilities.

Pray for people in places where 25 December is an ordinary day

Angus and Helen Douglas

Angus and Helen, together with their children Caleb, Charis and Esther, moved to Nepal in 2012. Angus is overseeing the development of a new KISC school site.

Angus and Helen’s prayer request

• Pray for the current challenges of the new site to be resolved, for safety for the construction workers and for some additional funds to complete the project.

Angus and Helen Douglas and their children
Angus and Helen would like you to pray for the development of the KISC school building project.

Kathryn Smith

Kathryn moved to Thailand earlier this year and will be using her nursing skills in Chiang Mai.

Kathryn’s prayer request

• Pray for help with learning the language and culture of Thailand. Being able to speak the language helps connect on a deeper level with the people around you.

Judy Cook

Judy, based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, founded and manages Hope Home, a home for children with disabilities.

Judy’s prayer requests

• Pray for energy and patience during the busy times at the Church of Christ in Thailand’s Aids Ministry and at Hope Home.

• Pray for new staff to join the team at Hope Home with a heart to serve special children and their families. Pray too for the staff to come to know our Lord and Saviour for themselves.

Judy Cook based in Chiang Mai, Thailand founded and manages Hope Home
Judy Cook has asked for prayers for "energy and patience".

Laura-Lee Lovering