A New Framework for Missions

February 5, 2014 by Gayla Congdon


The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” Micah 6:8

Our rapidly changing world demands a new look at how we will create justice.

It was about four years into our work in Mexico that we started building homes in the Tijuana dump. We recognized that most of the children living at the Tijuana Christian Mission were from families squatting there in makeshift houses mostly made out of cardboard. We designed a house that could be easily built and dismantled; in case the families were ever kicked off the land they could take the materials with them.

That became Amor’s framework for mission as more than 17,000 houses have been built in Mexico, South Africa, and on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Even though the frame of the house has changed, its foundation has not – and I’m not talking about the cement foundation! What I’m talking about is Amor’s passion for serving alongside the local church and through indigenous pastors.

Just as the frame for the Amor house has changed over the years, our framework for missions also has had to change so we can remain dynamic in our desire to create communities of justice.

The Lausanne Movement’s 2004 Forum concluded, in part,

“The dramatic change in the political and economic landscape in recent years has raised new challenges in evangelization for the church. The polarization between east and west makes it imperative that the church seek God’s direction for the appropriate responses to the present challenges.” (source)

A new framework for mission that employs our creativity in the specific and unique locations we serve needs to be considered. In order to do that, we must have the audacity to write a new chapter in global church history.

Here are some things we must consider:

Courage and boldness in our methodologies with a willingness to adapt. The good news is the strategies missionaries employed in the early years have changed. There has been a move away from trying to Americanize the cultures we go into. That said, we must be sure our new framework correlates with the DNA of the culture we are entering. Collaboration involving nationals is integral as we create new strategies in this globalized world. A holistic mission of creating justice is committed to a foundation of relationship building, community assessment, and implementation. It expresses a commitment to bringing the whole of life under the lordship of Jesus and in this process, methods must always be evaluated: are they working in this ever-changing world?

Sustainability and appropriate technology must be a part of the new framework. We need to be intentional in our strategy to work alongside community members as we develop this technology so the community learns to leverage local resources for their betterment. This new framework for mission will rely less on outside resources. It will require a commitment to not do something for nationals that they can do for themselves. At Amor we continue to assess what that looks like as it relates to the ministry we have with local pastors and their churches.

Our new work in the Yucatan will have a school of sustainability where we will collaborate to create global strategies focused on housing, sustainable food sources, clean water, education, community health, and the eradication of human and sex trafficking.

Integrating Social Media. If we use social media effectively, then followers of Christ and his church can drive global conversations on issues like human and sex trafficking. We can educate the world that the message of good news is one of compassion that keeps families together through housing because of our commitment to create justice. This message of hope is one we offer to those that are being trafficked, the urban poor, the marginalized, and the persecuted. 

Global Gathering: Create Justice. Do. Think. Be. We have created the Global Gathering in the Yucatan to bring 15-25 year olds together to create justice by integrating what they do and how they think; to change who they are becoming. January 3-10, 2015 we are bringing together people from all over the world with a commitment to be a generation that will “Go Boldly into the World and Disrupt.” This Gathering is a unique mission trip because it will create a global conversation on what participants are learning through house building, through community engagement, about themselves and each other. For more information on how you can participate as a group leader, parent, 15-25 year old, or volunteer go to be.amor.org/cienega.

Join us in reframing the way we create justice for the poor and oppressed. 

"The Spirit of The Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free." Luke 4:18 (NIV)
Gayla Cooper Congdon
Founder and CSO

P.S. I would like to personally thank all of you that participated in our 24 Days of Disrupt during Advent. A lot of love and hard work went into creating it and we feel honored that so many of you took the time to intentionally have that season Disrupted. We are already talking about Advent 2014 and we are so excited to see this become a tradition.

Topics: Gayla Congdon


Global Gathering

Create Justice. Do. Think. Be. We are inviting all 15 to 25 year olds to the Yucatán peninsula for seven days filled with expert workshops, worship and community engagement to frame solutions in subjects of justice, sustainability and eradication of poverty.

Interested? Learn More
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