Friday, April 30, 2010

mission that’s out of the valley (1 of 4)

Updated: for what I said –
1) in relation to mission motivation, go here,
2) in relation to faith sharing, go here,
3) in relation to practice at an ordinary church, go here.

I’m speaking to youth leaders from around Adelaide tomorrow, at a training day called Out of the valley. I was asked to speak about mission and as I’ve been reflecting, I want to focus on the sharing of faith. More evangelism, but still a subset of mission.  I hope to do a number of things

  • free people from a 1 size fits all understanding of faith sharing
  • help people grasp more of God’s story
  • help people find their own unique story within God’s story.

(Update: according to 2006 National Church Life Survey data, the denomination least likely to have offered significant training at a congregational level for lay people in evangelism is .. yep, you guessed it, the Uniting Church! Only 5% of congregations in the last 2 years said they had offered congregational training in evangelism.)

Below is one of the tools I’ve just been working on. It offers 10 different ways people might understand the gospel. It’s based on Understanding the Atonement for the Mission of the Church but I’ve attempted to summarise (mangle) it in a few sentences.

What I hope it does is help people find an echo of their story and a way to link their unique story with a Biblical frame. I’ll let you know how it goes, but if you have time, I’d love to know which statement which might describe your experience. (For me it was, and is, the peace gate). If none do, can you sum that in a few sentences.

I was bound, addicted and Christ liberated me, broke my chains. — The Deliverance Gate, speaks of Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness – as Colossians 2.15 teaches; and as Mk 5.1-20 illustrates (esp 15).

I was suffering and yet as I considered Jesus on the cross, saw the hand, feet, eyes of one who wanted to suffer in my place, something changed — The Suffering Gate, gathers up the significance of Christ’s suffering for us – as 1 Peter 2.21-25 teaches; and as Mk 5.24-34 illustrates (esp 34).

I needed leadership and direction and in Jesus I found something to give me direction and purpose — The Leadership Gate, holds Jesus out to us as a representative person, pioneer, forerunner and firstborn – as 1 Corinthians 15.20-22 teaches.

I wanted to be radical, full-on, make a difference and in Jesus I find a way to live radically in discipleship — The Martyrdom Gate, reminds us of how Jesus laid down his life for us – as John 15.13 teaches; and as Rev 12.11 illustrates.

I felt like I was a trapped in a cocoon and yet I felt a warm breath and the courage and strength to slowly emerge into new life — The Transformation Gate, traces our new, vibrant life back to Jesus’ sacrificial death – as Romans 12.1-2 teaches; and as Luke 19.1-10 illustrates (esp 8-10).

I felt so guilty and ashamed and in Christ I realised I could start again, clean — The Cleansing Gate, gathers up all the richness of the mercy seat picture in the OT – as 1 John 1.7-2.2 teaches.

I really want to serve and help people, and in Jesus I found someone who first served me — The Service Gate, captures that life of service we owe to the One who purchased us from the slave-market of sin – as Galatians 4.5 teaches; and as Philemon illustrates (esp 15-16).

I was anxious and in turmoil and yet when I reflect on God, I find a growing peace and centredness — The Peace Gate, reminds us of how God turns his enemies into friends – as Colossians 1.20-22 teaches; and as the Colossians themselves illustrate (esp 21-22).

I find a new set of relationships, up toward God, across toward other humans, grounded with God’s earth — The Forgiveness Gate, speaks of the new relationship we have with God when we accept the death of Christ for us – as Romans 4.5 teaches.

I was lonely and in God I found a family to belong with — The Family Gate, focuses on the high, family privileges we now enjoy through the death of Christ – as Galatians 4.3-7 teaches; and as Lk 15.11-22 illustrates (esp 17-20).

Posted by steve at 06:28 PM


  1. The Ten Gateways is brilliant! Not so brilliant are the churches (and individuals) who, as you alluded to at the top, see faith-sharing within a 1-size-fits-all mentality.
    Since you asked, for me it was the Transformation Gate. The longer story associated with that, I am happy to share with you 1-on-1 via email 🙂

    Comment by Ryan — May 1, 2010 @ 7:16 am

  2. I’ve been working on a resource that explores how communities might embody those 10 different gates, living out the good news as a gospel community. The forgiveness gate is lived out by a community of forgivers, for example. What are the “Gospel Stories” we need to be telling that relate not just to individuals but also to whole communities.

    Comment by Duncan — May 1, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  3. love these gates – my sense is that you’ve articulated something significant here – looking forward to reflecting on them further. thanks, yet again, for the way you share your creative resources.

    Comment by Andrew Dowsett — May 1, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  4. Duncan, I’ve replied off-blog, but I’d love to do a blog “review” of this resource for you if you want,

    thanks ryan and Andrew for the encouragement. I hope to blog more about this, both what we did at Opawa and what I talked about on Saturday,


    Comment by steve — May 2, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

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