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