COVID-19 in missiological and historical perspective

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COVID-19 is affecting Christian mission in many different ways. Doubtless it is inspiring some people to initiate new mission efforts, while in other contexts it is causing thriving mission to change radically or cease altogether. In this forum article, three missiologists write essays about how mission was affected during the influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, the event most frequently compared to COVID-19 for its similarly worldwide scope. James Krabill’s essay describes how the earlier influenza pandemic led to renewed spiritual vigor in Nigeria and the establishment of several new denominations in West Africa, which remain influential today. Robert Danielson’s essay examines how a ministry to sailors in the early 20th century, known as the Floating Christian Endeavor, was negatively impacted by the influenza pandemic. This article concludes with Benjamin Hartley’s story of how the life of John R Mott, perhaps the most famous world Christian statesman in 1918, was also affected by the influenza’s scourge. These historical essays provide both inspiration and consolation for contemporary mission initiatives as missiologists and other Christian leaders seek to respond to the crises of their own day.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.