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Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

Why People Move? A Primer on Diaspora Missiology (1)

Tereso C. Casio*

In the final piece of his 12-volume magnum opus, A Study of History, British historian Arnold Joseph
Toynbee projects global diasporas rather than local national states as the wave of the future.

I. Reasons for Peoples Mobility

A. Economic Theories
1. Ernest George Ravensteins Economic Theory (The 7 Laws of Migration)
1st Most migrants only proceed a short distance, and toward centers of absorption.
2nd As migrants move toward absorption centers, they leave `gaps that are filled up by migrants from more
remote districts, creating migration flows that reach to `the most remote corner of the kingdom.
3rd The process of dispersion is inverse to that of absorption.
4th Each main current of migration produces a compensating counter-current.
5th Migrants proceeding long distances generally go by preference to one of the great centers of commerce
or industry.
6th The natives of towns are less migratory than those of the rural parts of the country.
7th Females are more migratory than males.
2. Everett Lees Push Factors or "Internal Factors.
3. Neoclassical Economics Theory
a. Macro Theory
b. Micro Theory
4. Michael J. Piores Labor-Market Approach
5. Saskia Sassens World-Systems Theory
B. Non-economic Theories
Terry Casio (ThD, PhD) is Professor of Missiology at the School of Divinity of Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs,
NC. Terry also serves as Chair of the Lausanne North American Diaspora Missiology Educators Forum.

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

1. William Petersens Typology

2. Samuel Stouffers Gravitational Models
3. Peter Rossis Family Decision Processes


A. Proponents
1. Peggy Levitt
2. Stephen Castles
3. Oliver Blackwell

Diaspora refers to the global phenomenon of the dispersion or scattering

of people in various parts of the world, occurring either by a voluntary act
or coerced condition in both domestic and global contexts.

Migration facilitates geographical or demographic mobility that eventually

results in diasporic conditions. Migration basically involves geographic and
demographic flows of people or individuals, taking both internal and
international directions. It is important to view the inherent connection
between diaspora and migration because of their symbiotic relationship.

Diaspora then refers to the overarching structure under which all forms of
mobility take place, while migration serves as a tool to account diasporic
process or condition.

4. Roben Cohen (Global Diasporas: An Introduction)

Dispersal from an original homeland, often traumatically

Alternatively, the expansion from a homeland in search of work, in pursuit
of trade or to further colonial ambitions
A collective memory and myth about the homeland
An idealization of the supposed ancestral home
A return movement or at least a continuing connection
A strong ethnic group consciousness sustained over a long time
A troubled relationship with host societies
A sense of co-responsibility with co-ethnic members in other countries
The possibility of a distinctive creative, enriching life in tolerant host

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

III. Salient Features of Peoples Mobility

A. People move because (causal) of various reasons; they also move for (motive) similar reasons
B. Push-Pull Factors
C. Nicholas Van Hear-- either proactive or reactive within the context of five types of orientation: outward,
inward, return, onward, and stay-put
D. Mobility can either be voluntary or involuntary, temporary or permanent
E. Natural factors: natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes
F. Religious persecutions
G. Religious Convictions
H. Political Oppression
I. The Greener pasture (American Dream, Canadian Dream, Korean Dream, Japanese Dream, European
J. Personal reasonsinvidual ambitions or just nave adventurism
K MissionalWhenever people move, the gospel moves.

IV. Basic Theological Considerations for Global Diaspora

1. Global diaspora as a form of divine retribution (Adam and Eve)
2. Global diaspora as a form of hermeneutical corrective (to check nationalistic particularism)
3. Global diaspora as a form of divine judgment
4. Global diaspora as a form of divine strategy to fulfill the universal missionary mandate.
5 Global diaspora as a central theological frame for interpreting Gods redemptive acts in the world based on the
Triune Gods revelatory nature
6. Global diaspora as a theological form that accentuates Gods missionary intention for people on the move
and the redemptive acts that go along with it, both domestically and globally

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

V. Implications to Contemporary Mission

1. The geographical and demographical mobility of people and individuals bears
a strong missiological currency.
2. Given the missiological orientation of peoples geographical mobility--both
internally and internationally--diaspora appears to be a divine appointment.
3. Global diaspora opens doors for more innovative missionaries to serve in
different parts of the world, particularly the tentmakers.
4. Global diaspora liberates the universal church from the trappings of traditional
missiology, confined only to border terms and culturology in terms of home
mission and foreign mission and their derivatives, local missions and
overseas missions.
5. Global diaspora is an eschatological reality, that is, the march of the nations
towards final judgment.

1. The geographical and demographical mobility of people, internal and
external, domestic and international, has always been concomitant with the
rise and fall of civilizations.
2. Human mobility, whether temporal or permanent, appears second nature to
human beings across the globe.
3. Moving transcends cultural, ethnic, and geographical lines.
4. Diaspora functions as a theological framework through which Gods
missionary plan, purpose, and redemptive acts could be deciphered and
interpreted; migration serves as an instrument to account global diaspora,
using multidisciplinary methodologies and approaches.
5. Diaspora missiology refers to the process of interpreting the phenomena of
global dispersion of people from all walks of like that presupposes the
possibility of divine-human encounters in the course of demographic shifts
caused by internal and international migration, dynamic cultural
engagements, clash of dissonant worldviews, and the rise and fall of

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

Is Diaspora Mission Valid? (2)

Tereso C. Casio

World civilizations developed and expanded by crisscrossing religious,

socio-economic, and political boundaries.

I. Preliminary Observations
A. For hundreds of years adherents of the Jewish-Christian tradition traveled far and wide, transferred families and
homes, moved businesses back and forth, and settled and resettled in lands other than their own.
B. Migration, whether national, regional, or intercontinental, has been one of Christianitys powerful strategies for
missionary work.
C. John Howard Yoder asserts that that for centuries the good news has been brought to new parts of the world
"primarily by migration of financially independent Christians.

Question: If a Brazilian pastor goes overseas and conducts ministries among

fellow Brazilians, would he or she be considered a legitimate missionary?

II. Reservations Regarding the Legitimacy of Diaspora Mission

1. The Indigenous Argument: Missions is Primarily Planting Churches among Indigenous People Groups
2. The "Cross-cultural Argument : Missions is Primarily Reaching Out to People from Different Nations
3. The Highest Priority Argument: Missions is Primarily among E-3 Cultures

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

III. Missiological Priority or Missiological Strategy?

A. Preliminary Observations
1. The Lord Jesus Christ visualizes global missions with Jerusalem as the temporal beginning point.
2. Acts 1:8 unfolds the universal scope of this concern for world missions.
3. The message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins available only in Jesus Christ should be made
known to all nations, to all people groups around the world.
4. This universal missions, however, as Luke 24:47 states, should begin in Jerusalem.
5. Contrary to Winters highest priority rendering of the missionary text, Jesus priority here is "the
nations" (collective), a priority that could not be categorized by way of degree of importance.
6. The reference to geographical locations like Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the
world alludes to a device that highlights the significance of universal missions from a soteriological
7. Winter seems to be correct in pointing out that cultural distance is what bringers of the good news
need to overcome, although the notion of geographical distance also needs to be highlighted.
8. However, it is the "theological distance," i.e., people's need of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, people
who are mentioned by their geopolitical and cultural distinctions, that the soteriological dimension of
mission becomes distinct.
B. Insights
1. Viewed soteriologically, Acts 1:8 points to an effective missiological strategy rather than a missiological
priority. The text appears to offer a basic concentric missional strategic layout rather than highlighting a
world missions priority in terms of degrees.
2. Acts 1:8 rules out ethnic preference over against soteriological strategy. The King James Version renders
the text more forcefully: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and
ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth."
3. There is a strong exegetical support in the use of the en te, i.e., "both," which the King James Version
rightly maintains.
4. En te stresses equal concern rather than highest priority for universal missions, irrespective of their
religious and political orientation, culture, and locations, with Jerusalem as the beginning geographical
5. The whole tenor of Acts 1:8 is not missions priority but equal concern for and equal responsibility to "the
6. The Great Commission is decidedly strategic rather than primarily ethnic.
7. The need for Christs saving grace remains the sole determinant in discipling persons, whoever they may
be, wherever they are, and whatever citizenship they hold.

IV. The Biblical Basis of Diaspora Mission

A. The Soteriological Intent of the Great Commission
1. Key missionary texts stress that Gods love is universal (inclusive) and shows no preference for ethnic
origin or nationality.
2. The love of God is global in scope and effect (extensive) and can transform individual lives (intensive)
regardless of peoples religious, cultural, political, economic, social, and historical backgrounds.
3. The components of the Great Commission include the Person (Jesus Christ), the Power (Holy Spirit),
the purpose (make disciples), the people (all the nations), and the process or procedure (going,

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

baptizing, teaching).
The core intent of the Great Commission is decidedly soteriological, nothing
less nothing more. Mission, then, refers to the total plan, process, and work
of God for the salvation of people through all ages. All implementation and
forms of this plan done by the covenant people of God and through the
universal church are called missions.
B. The Task of the Great Commission: Make Disciples of All Nations

V. Strategic Mission: A Sketch of Pauls Diaspora Ministry

Pauls missionary theology develops out of a specific calling (missionary identity; apostolic
consciousness), vocation (missionary task), and motivation (missionary lifestyle).
A. Interfaith Mission: Ministry among Same Ethno-Linguistic Cultures
1. First missionary journey (Acts 13:1-15:35).
2. Paul reaches out primarily to his fellow Jews, whose language he fluently speaks and religious customs
he himself practices.
3. Pauls missions among the Jewish diaspora communities are intentional rather than incidental.
B. Intrafaith Mission: Ministry among Shared but Mixed Cultures
1. Pauls diaspora missionary work covers the mixed blood, e.g., the half Jews and half Greeks, or pure
Jews holding both Jewish and Roman citizenships.
2. As a Jew holding two citizenships, Paul understands his strategic missionary status.
Not much was written on this intrafaith missions, probably because most of the activities here
take place
during Pauls second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-18:22), which lasted three years.
4. It is no coincidence, then, that Paul recruits Timothya half Jew and a half Greekto join his small
band of itinerant preachers to conduct diaspora ministries in strategic places of the Roman Empire.
5. Timothys presence reinforces Pauls commitment to reach out to people whose culture he partly shares
and whose language he himself speaks.

C. Multifaith Mission: Ministry among Diverse Cultures

1. At the rejection of his message, Paul turns to the Gentiles, which is a shift in missions strategy but not
necessarily in priority.
2. Multifaith diaspora ministries cover most of the second and third missionary journeys (Acts 15:36-21:17).
3. Paul covers the Eastern Mediterranean region and crosses totally different worldviews, philosophies,
languages, and cultural manners and customs.

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

1. Diaspora mission among fellow Hispanics overseas has a strong Scriptural
2. As long as Filipino missionaries are faithful in fulfilling the central task of
making disciples of Filipinos and other nationalities across the world, their
efforts contribute to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
3. Contrary to a contemporary notion that missions is primarily cross-cultural or
simply indigenous, the missionary texts make no distinction in disciplemaking among Jews and non-Jews.
4. The Great Commission is decidedly soteriological in that all nations need to
have personal access to the good news of salvation in Christ.

Iniciativa 21 Conference; COMHINA, 1/24-26/2011; Rockville, VA

Diaspora Ministry in Strategic Regions (3)

Tereso C. Casio

I. Four Major Paradigm Shifts

1. Missiological Shift
Q. What reaches who?
2. Center Shift
Q. Who sends where?
3. Strategy Shift
Q. Who does which?
4. Frontier Shift
Q. Who needs what?

II. People on the Move, 2010

III. Loving Services in the Desert

Concluding Insight:

More than 200 million people move every year in many strategic parts of the
Does your

Christian witness

move with them?