“Closure” is used as a missiological term with eschatological underpinnings. Most people who talk about “closure,” however, aren’t using it in that sense.

When we use the term missiologically with people who aren’t familiar with this technical definition, we have to remember it carries a lot of implied cultural and emotional meanings.

When people speak of “closure,” they might mean:

  • abandoning personal baggage – a sense of freedom
  • a sense of achievement that gives validation of purpose and meaning
  • a cessation of work
  • a necessary transition step between “chapters”
  • the feeling something bad has ended, and normality may now resume
  • a comforting sense of finality
  • or perhaps a less comforting sense that something has ended forever
  • a sense of completion, solution of a problem, or resolution of an issue
  • a sense of evaluation, lessons learned, understanding gained
  • revisiting something that feels ‘unfinished’ in order to ‘gain closure’ or ‘permission to move on’

To seek “closure” in anything (even missions), for any given individual, might be colored more by these emotional meanings than by any textbook missionary definition of the phrase.

If “finishing the task” or “closure” carries with it these meanings–how might that affect the strategy we use?

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