Monday, May 03, 2010

mission that’s out of the valley 2: motivations for Uniting mission

So on Saturday I spoke to about 70 local Adelaide youth leaders. My topic was mission. Here is what I did.

I started by talking about motivation. Why bother spending a gorgeous autumn afternoon talking mission, especially with a Showdown looming?

  • first, mission is in my blood, and I introduced my background
  • second, mission is in your (Uniting) blood. To explore this I presented a visual summary (hat tip Craig Mitchell) of the Basis of Union. People commented on the priority of words like church and (members/people) and (God, Jesus, Christ). This suggests a great motivation, than mission is simply God transforming lives, not of the clergy, but of the whole people of God. So mission is simply changed lives and it’s essential to the Uniting blood.
  • third, mission is also in our history, positively, and I told the story of Brendan the Navigator and the values of risk and edgy adventure
  • fourthly, mission in our history negatively, and I told the story of Samuel Marsden. Who in New Zealand is a mission hero, but in Australia is the flogging chaplain, an appalling mission example as he dealt excessive punishment to convicts. So as we think about mission, we need to own our past, both positive and negative and be aware of how that history shapes our imagination.
  • fifthly, the fact that only 5% of Uniting churches have offered the whole people of God training in faith sharing. That’s a tragic statistic for a denomination in which church and (members/people) and (God, Jesus, Christ is in their blood. So, while mission is broad, in the Uniting context, evangelism as mission, certainly deserves some sort of intentional focus.

So, I wanted to talk about mission as evangelism and I intended to explore that under three headings

  • being a mate – sharing with friends
  • having a yarn – announcing the good news
  • crossing the ditch – incarnational mission

(These are highly Aussie phrases and they came to mind while reading Darren Cronshaw’s most excellent Credible Witnesses, Companions, Prophets, Hosts and Other Australian Mission Models, Urban Neighbours of Hope, 2006.)

That was the first part of four segments. For what I said –
1) in relation to faith sharing, go here,
3) in relation to practice at an ordinary church, go here.

Posted by steve at 09:39 AM

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

sydney bound for mission, discipling, leadership

The Taylor family head for Sydney on Friday. We have two weekends of “exploring Sydney time.” In between, I am working, teaching a 3 day intensive for ACOM (Australian College of Ministry).

Here is the blurb:

We are living in times of rapid change. Many existing patterns and paradigms face challenges. This course will explore the implications of ministry in a culture of change, with a specific focus on local church ministry. It provides practical case studies on mission, discipleship and leadership and subject these to theological reflection, in order to encourage creative and critical thinking on the nature of mission and ministry today. It will not be prescriptive but will encourage participants in their ability to dialogue between context and Christian texts, offering theological imagination in response to what God is doing in the lives of individuals and communities.

And here is the lecture outline.

I normally accept one “academic” intensive outside New Zealand a year, so when ACOM asked about 18 months ago, I said yes, little knowing that by the time to course rolled around, I would be living in Australia and trying to settle. So the timing for me is less than ideal. I need a break during study break, not more teaching!

Nevertheless, there 15-20 students, which is a great sized group to work with. And as per usual for the creative Steve, every course presents a chance to update my material in light of current reading and refecting. So this will be an essentially new course for me – one that is pulling from Missional Church Leadership, Sociology for Ministry and the Breathe intensive last year.

I’m looking forward to being around a Sydney-side table with some keen minds working on mission, discipling, leadership.

And for the rest of the Taylor family – it’s a holiday in Sydney. I will absorb their joy!

Posted by steve at 02:00 PM