We are going to hold a mission in Stoke and Devonport early in June 2014 with Through Faith Missions (at least, that’s the plan).
I wonder what is your reaction to that sentence?
I guess many would wonder why we have to start thinking about an event that’s happening over a year away. If we’re holding an event, or a series of events that far away, why do I have to bother about it now?
The short answer is that mission, at its best, flows out of relationships. It’s not about twisting the arms of our nearest and dearest to go off and hear some sharp-suited evangelist. Nor is it about turning every conversation into an artificial opportunity to talk about Jesus. It’s about living in such a way that earns you the respect and the right to explain why you are a Christian.
And as such, mission is something that we are all involved in every single day of our life. How we relate to our friends, our families, our neighbours tells them quite clearly what we believe and whether that makes any difference to our daily lives. That’s why in the New Testament there’s very little teaching about evangelism in any direct sense, but plenty of teaching about the quality of our relationships with those inside and outside the church. We’ll pick this point up after Easter when we look at Romans 12-16 in our sermon series.
So what place does a specific event called “a mission” have? Well, what if you are starting to make some really close friendships in your life, or some members of your family are beginning to show some interest in coming along to church events? Knowing there is a mission coming up in June 2014 gives you a fixed point to aim for. So over the next twelve months you can begin to invite folk along to socials or even the odd service, and then nearer the time explain that someone will be at the next event just to give a short presentation about the Christian faith. By this time you will have had plenty of opportunity to pray for that person, and hopefully their experience of the socials and the services will be leading them to ask more.
That’s why, if we are going to make this mission in June 2014 we need to start preparing now. We will need a small team to plan for the events we want to run – although most will flow out of the usual programme of events – and just as importantly, for the follow-up after the event. We need to pray for those people we want to draw into the life of the church over the next twelve months. We need to partner ever more closely with the other local churches who are also on board.
And if like me you have a vision and an enthusiasm for this mission, then you will find the year goes fast enough! I’ll be sharing more at the Annual Church Meetings, but for now begin by asking the Lord who He wants you to pray for, and what the next step is for you. And allow yourself to be surprised by His answer!