May has been a pretty busy month and it has been great to have a focus on the bigger picture of Mission. But with May finishing I hope that we don’t put Mission on the shelf the rest of the year!!! The reality is that Mission is something that we have been charged with by Jesus for all the rest of our days. This May we have been reminded of those who serve overseas and the incredible sacrifice and hard work they do in their new cultures for the sake of the name of Jesus. For us though here in Cairns we don’t have to head overseas, we are all called to be on Mission in our everyday lives and what’s more we have people from all over the world come to us!!!
Still what will it take? I believe that it begins with a correct understanding of who Jesus is. Scholars call this Christology. When we put Christ in his correct place, we are able to re-calibrate our approach to others from that point on. Christian mission always starts with Jesus and is defined by him. Jesus is our constant reference point—we always begin and always end with him. It is Jesus who determines the church’s mission in the world, and therefore our sense of purpose and mission comes from being sent by him into the world. You see if we understand who Jesus is then whatever we do and whoever we are will be informed by this understanding. Alan Hirsch, a writer I like to read a little, believes the equation looks like this: Christology – Missiology – Ecclesiology.
We learn about missional engagement from Christ, we discover a whole new way of going about it. From Jesus we learn how to engage with people in an entirely fresh “nonchurchy” way. He hung out with “sinners,” and he frequented the public hangouts of his day (Matthew 11:19). He openly feasted, fasted, celebrated, prophesied, and mourned in such a way as to make the Kingdom of God accessible and alluring for the average person to understand. But this equation simply stated is; when we start with Jesus and allow him to influence and inspire the Mission (His Mission) and as Mission happens the Church is developed and grown. If we aim at being the Church first the mission is lost. We aim at pleasing Jesus, His mission flows through us and the Church will be discovered.
I believe that all of this starts with prayer. It starts with seeking the Lord. As we seek him and his ways I believe that he gives us a heart for the lost around us. The mission also is going to cost – money, time, effort, and thought. The missionaries that have been sent overseas all need resources to support them to do their work, the same is true for us. But when we put Christ first he provides what we need to do his missional work. We have such great potential in Christ to do such great work for the Kingdom. The beauty about it is that God uses our everyday living to bring the the good news of his Kingdom into peoples lives. How exciting and fresh and new everyday becomes when we can see the potential that the Lord has put in us. It helps us to see our lives in a new light as we love Christ and are about his work.
Now this is only a minuscule snapshot of such a bigger and broader discussion that I hope that we as a church will continue to flesh out and engage in. What I hope is that is we have had a focus on Missions, that we would stop and prayerfully consider how we go about the Mission in the way we live, give, and are talkative (I know that rhymes!!!).
Have a great June in Church!!!