There is a very good reason why Serving In Mission’s first core value states that we are committed to biblical truth, writes SIM International Director, Joshua Bogunjoko.
We recognise this truth as the foundation for our faith; the guide for our lives; and the ultimate truth for living. Nothing else in the world could take its place in the life of a believer, community, society, or church.
SIM leadership worked on a new summary of our core values in 2021. We believe our core values are very important. Indeed, they are a key part of what binds us together as a mission.
In the summary, that commitment to biblical truth remains central and why we’re committed to teaching the Bible in all contexts and ministries, and translating it into people’s heart languages.
It’s exactly one of those translation efforts that made my own love story with the Bible possible.
I was raised in a small village in Nigeria, in a nominally Christian family. My parents attended church, but also worshipped idols. Although I was active in church, I didn’t know that I needed Jesus or could have a personal relationship with God.
Out of a desire to read God’s word for ourselves, my younger brother, Ezekiel, and I decided to work and earn money to buy our first Bible. We obtained this Bible when I was 11 and to years later, we earned enough to buy a second one. These were very precious to us, and I’ve always loved the Bible.
Something amazing about my Yoruba Bible was that it was the inspired, infallible word of God, just like the English Bible of the first SIM missionary, Guy Playfair (pictured), who came to my village in 1912. In fact, his English one was a translation from the Greek and Hebrew, yet it was also inspired and holy. My Bible even used the Yoruba term ‘Olorun’ for the creator God.
By contrast, in my family and village were those who practised Islam. Muslims believe the true revelation of God in the Qur’an can only be accessed in Arabic and all translations of the Qur’an are considered commentaries. The Arabic word for God, Allah, is used by all Muslims, regardless of their own language.
Although our Bibles were precious, I didn’t commit my heart to Christ until I was a teenager in a boarding school run by SIM and now run by ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) Church.
From my time of conversion, I was absorbed into a vibrant Christian student fellowship on campus. Coming to faith in a mission school meant I was immediately discipled; prepared for baptism; and trusted into active participation in ministry in my campus fellowship.
What might this have to do with SIM and our diversity today?
What I realise now is that my own language, my people who spoke this language, and the context where my language was spoken, were a legitimate place to gain knowledge of God’s revelation and pursue a relationship with him.
The same gospel principle that deemed my Yoruba Bible to be the inspired, infallible word of God, is the principle that calls all people worthy of dignity and participation in a gospel community.
Whether or not our founders (pictured) could have imagined welcoming such a diversity of people into SIM; the gospel intends this and is in its DNA. And so, by SIM’s faithful and humble pursuit of the gospel, we’ve become increasingly diverse.
If our God commissions his eternal holy Word be preached in every language – to be studied and interpreted by diverse peoples with the help of the Holy Spirit – how much more can we freely welcome diverse peoples to sit at the table of SIM and influence our organisation, which is merely temporary and created by humans?
As a child of God worthy of God’s revelation in my language, I, along with every worker, am worthy to participate in SIM because we all have access to the same biblical truth that daily and relentlessly shapes our lives and our journey.
Home page photo by SIM Stories East Africa team in 2018
- For our workers to be reminded of and embody each of these values.
- That the Holy Spirit will refresh us with biblical truth and increase the diversity of our organisation.
A summary of SIM’s Core Values
Church-centred – We are part of Christ’s church and together we plant, nurture and equip churches.
Compassionate – We are people of love. We humbly offer compassionate, holistic service and eternal hope, through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Community – We live a life of integrity in obedience to God and in relationship with each other as we listen, learn, grow, and innovate together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Dependent on God – We are people of prayer. We trust in our faithful God and affirm the truth of the Bible.
Diverse – We are one in Christ. We embrace, and are strengthened by, the international, interdenominational and multi-ethnic diversity of His church.
Disciples who make disciples – We cross barriers to fulfil God’s global, urgent and unfinished mission.