Mission in Practice 2005 Mission in Practice 2005
“ According to the fourth gospel, Jesus sent his disciples out on their mission with the words: “As the father sent me so I send you” (Jn 20:21). This must determine the way we think about and carry out the mission; it must be founded and modelled upon his. We are not authorised to do it any other way.” Newbigin, L.(1988) Mission in Christ's Way: A Gift, a Command, an Assurance.
Priority 1 - Jesus’ Missional Message The Message of the Reign of God The DNA of the Reign of God The lost message of the Reign of God Recovering the message of the Reign of God
The Message of the Reign of God “ The gospel is Jesus himself. The New Testament’s Gospels narrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the action of God that both reveals Gods passion for the world and achieves God’s purpose for that world.” (pp 88) Guder, D.L. (ed) (1998) Missional Church
“ When people downed their tools for a while and trudged up a hillside to hear this Jesus talking, we can be sure they weren’t going to hear someone tell them to be nice to each other; or that if they behaved themselves …there would be a rosy future waiting for them when they got to ‘heaven’, or that God had decided at last to do something about forgiving them for their sins. First-century Jews knew that they ought to be nice to each other…they believed that their God would look after them … in his renewed world…There was no sign that they were walking wondering how their sins were ever going to be forgiven. They had the Temple and the sacrificial system. If Jesus had only said what a lot of Western Christians seem to think he said, he would have been just a big yawn-maker”
The DNA of the Reign of God Shalom envisions a world characterised by righteousness. Shalom envisions the full prosperity of a people of God living under the covenant of God’s care and compassionate rule. Shalom envisions a peace that comes hand in hand with justice. Shalom envisions full expression of joy and celebration.
Shalom means just relationship (living justly and experiencing justice), harmonious relationships and enjoyable relationships. Shalom means belonging to an authentic and nurturing community in which one can be one's true self and give one's self away without becoming poor. Shalom is about justice, harmony, and enjoyment of God, self, others, and nature; this is the shalom that Jesus brings, the peace that passes all understanding. Wolterstorf 1983
“ It is hotly debated just when and how the church lost its sense of this gospel of the reign of God, with the result that its message ceased to orientate the church’s own life and witness.” (pp91) Guder, D.L. (ed) (1998) Missional Church
Two Tendencies The church has tended to envision itself in a variety of ways unconnected to what must be fundamental for it… There has been a tendency to separate the news of the reign of God from Gods provision for humanity’s salvation.
When the message of the kingdom of God is separated from the name of Jesus two distortions follow, and these are in fact the source of deep divisions in the life of the church today. On one hand, there is the preaching of the name of Jesus simply as the one who brings a religious experience of personal salvation without involving one in costly actions at the points in public life where the power of Satan is contracting the rule of God and bringing men and women under the power of evil. Such preaching of cheap grace, of a supposed personal salvation that does not go the way of the cross, of an inward comfort without commitment to costly action for the doing of God’s will in the world – this kind of evangelistic preaching is a distortion of the gospel. A preaching of personal salvation that does not lead the hearers to challenge the monstrous injustices of our society is not mission in Christ’s way. It is peddling cheap grace.
On the other hand, when the message of the kingdom is separated from the name of Jesus, the action of the church in respect of the evils in society becomes a mere ideological crusade… pp9 Newbigin, L.(1988) Mission in Christ's Way: A Gift, a Command, an Assurance.
Those who would limit Jesus to the saving of souls and those who see him merely as introducing new ethical principles are both wrong. The purpose of God in Christ is neither simply to redeem individuals nor merely to teach the world some new thoughts. Gods purpose in Christ is to establish a new community that points to the plan of God for the world...the living witness of the Christian community is intended both to demonstrate and to anticipate the future of the world that has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. (Wallis)
Our preaching is mere empty words if it does not have behind it a costly engagement with …all the powers that rob men and women of their humanity…But equally our programmes for teaching, healing, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and action for justice and freedom are futile if they do not point beyond themselves to a reality greater than they – to the great healer, the great liberator, the one who is himself the living bread. Newbigin, L.(1988) Mission in Christ's Way: A Gift, a Command, an Assurance.
“ Our priority must be to rediscover how to tell the story of Jesus and present his life, teaching, death and resurrection recognising past attempts have seriously missed the mark. We cannot continue to present Jesus only as the saviour from guilt few feel in post-Christendom. Nor can we invite people to follow a Jesus who merely guarantees life after death to those who are otherwise comfortable or a Jesus whose lordship affects only a limited range of personal moral decisions. We can no longer present a safe establishment Jesus who represents order and stability rather than justice, who appeals to the powerful and privileged for all the wrong reasons….
… Nor can we reduce Jesus to dogmatic statements in simplistic evangelistic courses or perpetuate the overemphasis on his divinity at the expense of his humanity that Christendom required. Instead, we must present Jesus as (among much else) friend of sinners, good news to the poor, defender of the powerless, reconciler of communities, pioneer of a new age, freedom fighter, breaker of chains, liberator and peacemaker, the one who unmasks systems of oppression, identifies with the vulnerable and bring hope”. (316-317) Murray, S (2004) Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange new world
Priority 2 – Jesus’ Missional Motive John 5:17- 20 John 10:24-32 John 12:44-50 John 14:21 –24 John 17:1 -5
Priority 3 – Jesus’ Missional Life Jesus’ Life of Mission was one of identification Jesus’ Life of Mission was one of incarnation Jesus’ Life of Mission embodied grace; love; mercy; compassion; justice; freedom; hope inclusiveness; choice Jesus’ Life of Mission was alternative
Jesus’ Life of Mission was one of identification “ What about Jesus’ ministry to those on the margins? This can only be understood if we grasp Jesus’ understanding of God’s reign. It is particularly to those on the edge of society that he communicates the possibility of new life on the basis of the reality of the love of God for them….. Mission in the perspective of God’s reign includes putting poor, neglected and despised people on their feet again as having recovered their full humanity before both God and people.” Bosch, D Transforming Mission pp 33-34
“ The Imposition of a cultural form on people and groups we hope to reach with the love of Jesus so often results in making the gospel synonymous with bland middle-class conformity and thereby alienate countless people from encountering Christ (Hirsch & Frost 2004 pp39)
“ we need to identify a whole lot more before we can expect to really share Jesus in a meaningful way …” Hirsch & Frost
Jesus’ Life of Mission was one of incarnation… · Jesus’ incarnation provided the missional means by which the gospel became a genuine part of a people group. Jesus’ incarnation speaks of shared experiences… Jesus’ incarnation implies a sending impulse rather than an extractional one. Jesus’ incarnation helped people to experience Jesus on the inside of their culture.
Jesus’ Life of Mission embodied grace; love; mercy; compassion; justice; freedom; hope inclusiveness; choice Jesus’ Life of Mission was alternative
“ As the father sent me so I send you” (John 20:21)