Sunday, January 27, 2013
mission as a “converting” ordinance
This is some of what I wrote today.
Wesley described Holy Communion as a ‘converting ordinance,’ an event in which through participation in the event of Communion, people encounter Christ. In a sermon on the verse “Do this in remembrance of me,” he wrote:
But experience shows … Ye are the witnesses. For many now present know, the very beginning of your conversion to God (perhaps, in some, the first deep conviction) was wrought at the Lord’s Supper. John Wesley, The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, Vol 3, p. 188-9
It is worth noting first, the language of “experience” and “witnesses,” and thus the priority of experience in Wesley’s theology. Second, the language of “beginning” and “first,” suggesting that conversion is a process. Third, that participation in the ordinance changes the participants.
This provides a theological lens by which to explore innovation as a “converting ordinance,” to consider that while “Fresh Expression Case Study” might have set out to “convert,” the journey of innovation resulted in their experiencing a number of conversions: five in total,
- Conversion of senses
- Conversion to hope
- Conversion by community
- Conversion through journey
- Conversion in humanity
Innovation thus becomes a “converting” ordinance. It changes sender, sent and sendee (the intended recipient of the message).