Thursday, November 01, 2007

Authentic Mission

In a previous post I mentioned 3 tentative aims of community, or at least a community I wanted to be a part of anyway. Greater Simplicity, Increased Generosity and Authentic Mission.

I thought it would be helpful (to me, if no one else) to explore them in turn and see how it develops. Starting with the one that I think is the most important - Authentic Mission.

The church is a missional movement the disciples were called to repeat the process that Jesus began with them, teaching them to worship, obey, love and follow God in a new way - this life of loving God and loving neighbour knew no boundaries and would stretch to all the corners of the earth. The church is both the herald of good news but also the embodiment of good news. It's something we live and something we are. I not only tell people I have been saved by grace but my life should now be a visible demonstration of the difference (I'm feeling a bit challenged right now). The church proclaims the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ but also lives it out, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Our deeds are meant to be seen and the effects are meant to be real and to be felt. There's probably not too much argument about this until you get down to the details. 

For me authentic mission is not always the same as personal evangelism. Authentic mission includes telling my friends about Jesus but mission goes so much further to include loving broken people, listening to hurting people, talking to wounded people. It includes living the hope we have of a creation liberated from its bondage to decay and doing our best to live the difference. To be honest looking at most churches wouldn't make me want to go to heaven unless it was a means of escape from church! I don't mean that church should be like heaven but it should give me a glimpse, a taste, a hope. If I'm being transformed - that should be noticeable, and in the lives of those I lead. If I'm the temple of the Holy Spirit that shouldn't be something you miss too easily. If my church is full of the love of God and for love of each other that should be something incredibly attractive. 

Authentic mission then not only proclaims love of God and love of neighbour but incarnates it and makes it real for people. A community on a mission together may have targets and goals and other grand dreams but it must be a place that grows in love and therefore I can't do that on my own. I can't do authentic mission on my own. I need people around me to spur me on towards love and good deeds, I need people to help me discover the teachings of Jesus and apply them as we were commanded to do, I need people to help me love people, to help me make disciples. I NEED the body of Christ, I depend on it, I can't function well without it.  

Authentic mission is about loving God with each other, loving one another and loving the lost together. Right?


Andrew Kenny on 5 December 2007 at 16:23 said...

Good post. I agree with you.
Best wishes.Keepup the good work

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