What Would Jesus Blog?

Archive for January, 2015

Mission as making God’s dream a reality

by on Jan.25, 2015, under Uncategorized

I lead a missional community called Gathered here in Nottingham, and I was recently having a discussion with the other leader about what we could do to challenge the community more. The word ‘mission’ was getting used a lot, and it quickly became clear that we were talking about different things.

‘Mission’ is very often used as a synonym for ‘evangelism’. We think of ‘missionaries’, we think of people who go and convert people to Christianity. Evangelism is a very important part of mission, but it’s not all there is to it.

A good working definition of ‘mission’, for me, is ‘taking part in God’s big story’ – the one that starts with Creation and continues through Judgement Day to eternity. We’ve got some pretty big clues about what God’s vision for the world is. Part of that is everyone becoming Christian. But along the way, feeding the poor and clothing the naked rank pretty high. One of the other missional communities in my church helps out at the local winter shelter, and that’s absolutely fantastic, and as much ‘mission’ as evangelising people. So far, so uncontroversial.

One of the ideas that we have, and that I hope we can bring to fruition, is to join a local gaming community; our board games night is one of our most popular activities and what better way to do mission than to find other people who enjoy the same things that we do. Responses have varied from ‘oh, cool!’ to ‘but, what will we achieve?’. My own thoughts moved along the same lines, and it’s in no small part down to my wonderful fiancée that I’ve come round to the idea.

I have a bad habit of planning things. Or rather, over-planning. I don’t like to use my scarce resources if I don’t know how I’m going to achieve my aims, and even less so if I don’t know what my aims are. Esther made me realise that actually, it’s not me that does the achieving, it’s God.

So, what’re our aims in joining the gaming group? Firstly, it’s to become part of the community, to help it flourish. That tends to happens when people with community in their blood turn up. Secondly, it’s to bless that community. And then, it’s to see where God wants to take it. Maybe that’ll be some crossover into the Gathered games night and social life. Maybe it’ll be people from that group starting to take an interest in faith. Or maybe it’ll just be that we’ve invested lots of time and prayer and leadership development and discipleship development into making some friends. How terrible!

If you’re wondering how this is going to lead back to the title, so am I. I think that any time we make the world more like how God dreams of it being, we’re being missional and we’re accomplishing the mission. Sometimes, the method and the outcomes are clear from the start. Sometimes, though, you just have to follow the opportunities that present themselves and do the day-to-day stuff that we know how to, and see where God leads. Because he’s after his dream as well.

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