Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wake Up to New Ways of Being

Times change. And with those changes the way people associate and work together change. As Christians we need to recognise these changes, and be led by the Spirit to adapt with them rather than find ourselves stuck. Being stuck implies an innate resistance to movement - yet the Spirit is moving all the time.

In the ministry of Jesus we don't see him creating a whole lot of fixed structure. He related to his heavenly Father, gathered followers around him, and sent them with the promise of the Spirit. That was about all the structure he needed. Yet he did teach Kingdom and also work Kingdom within structures of the day - in the local synagogues, for example.

Was Jesus able to operate structure-light because he was smarter than us? Possibly!

But it was probably because Jesus was incarnational - God come in the flesh. He was therefore able to inhabit the structures of the day, teaching and working Kingdom within them. Since the Kingdom cannot be contained by any human structure Jesus was also perfectly able to teach and work Kingdom outside in the street as well!

So as we follow Jesus let us learn to be incarnational and inhabit structures that are relevant to our day. If those structures subside and new ones come to the fore, then let us not be afraid to let go of the old - led by the Spirit to teach and work Kingdom in the new ones. And let us not think Jesus is bound by either old or new structures - we can teach and work Kingdom outside in the street too ...

Friday, 2 June 2017

Mission Reformation

We know how to talk mission plans. We know how to talk about them, around them, through them, and so on. Hopefully we can also put our talk into practice, and get out there on the mission field. Otherwise we risk being all talk and no action!

Hopefully we also know that to stop and pray is a necessary component of our mission plans and activity. Yet in there may be another lurking problem ...

Our prayers might be fervent and well intended. They may well be spiritual. But in reality they may amount to little more than talk (albeit directed to God) about your mission plans. Good to pray of course, reluctant to knock it ... but take a step back?

Jesus seemed to take a step back (actually a step out, very early in the morning) in Mark chapter 1 verse 35. When the others caught up, expecting to get Jesus back on track with the obvious mission plan in the town, Jesus surprised them with an alternative venture. Jesus was still on mission, but it was curiously re-formed, leading to other destinations.

The example to learn from here is not 'pray and ditch what you are currently doing', but 'make space before God, allowing the possibility of re-forming your plans as God sees fit'. Too easily our well intended plans become the thing, whereas they were only ever supposed to be an expression of the mission of God.

It may be time to continue, tweak, or expand existing ... or it may be time for different ventures. How will you know unless you make it your regular practice to return to quiet time in prayer for potential mission reformation?