What’s mission anyway?• In my life …• In the life of our Church …• In the life of our faith communities…• In the life of our neighborhoods …• In the life of the world…
What’s the mission of the Church?To restore all people to unity with Godand each other in Christ. (BCP, 855)
Yeah, but what’s mission?“If everything is mission, nothingis mission.” — Bishop Stephen Neill
Five Marks of Mission • Tell: Proclaim the Kingdom’s Good News • Teach: Baptize and nurture new believers • Tend: Respond to human need by loving service • Transform: Change society’s unjust structures • Treasure: Safeguard the integrity of creation — The Anglican Communion (1984-1990)
But it still doesn’t tell us what mission is…Our understanding of mission hasdeveloped, from God Acting (actio dei)to God Sending (missio dei) toWHO GOD IS …
In other words: mission is the creating,reconciling, transforming action of Godflowing from the community of love found inthe Trinity, made known to humanity throughJesus, and entrusted to the faithful action andwitness of the people of God, who throughthe Spirit, are a sign, foretaste and instrumentof the reign of God. — National Council of Churches in Australia
Mission is God’s desire (agency, impulse, force)to be known and make a difference in the world.
• What do we do? – MT 22:36-40 (Great Commandment)• Who does it? – MT 28:16-20 (Great Commissioning)• How do we do it? – Jer 29: 7
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you…and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jer 29:7
Episcopal Church can no longer claim privilegedplace in today’s diverse, increasingly post-Christian U.S. – 2010: 0.2% U.S. population in Episcopal Church on Sunday (657,000) – Average Sunday attendance loss for TEC from 2000-2010, 23% (MN, 22%)
“These statistics reveal something very importantabout the challenges we face as a Church… Oneof those is that we cannot allow statistics like thisto make us anxious about our survival. Earthlysurvival is not much a value of the Gospel. Strivingfor the kingdom and righteous of God is…Concentrating on the latter is likely to yield moreabundant life than the former (Mt. 6:31-33).” —Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer
“…Right now, I think the cross calls us to die tothose trappings of our old establishment life, andthat means turning our attention single mindedlyto God’s mission and our participation in it, whichmeans that we are going to have to restructureand reform ourselves accordingly. Churches thatturn inward will die. Churches that turn outwardwill not only live, but thrive. The numbers call us tostrengthen our commitment to turn outward.” —Bishop Stacy Sauls
• Rethink theological basis for mission: from doing mission for God to participating in God’s ongoing mission…• God’s ecstatic communal life• God’s reign of mercy and justice• The world’s hospitality (Lk 10)• Cultivate theological imagination
A Prayer for MissionO gracious and loving God, you work everywherereconciling, loving, and healing your people and yourcreation. In your Son and through the power of yourHoly Spirit, you invite each of us to join you in your work.We, young and old, lay and ordained, ask you to formus more and more in your image and likeness, throughour prayer and worship of you and through the studyof your scripture, that our eyes will be fully opened to yourmission in the world. Then, God, into our communities, ournation, and the world, send us to serve with Christ, takingrisks to give life and hope to all people and all of yourcreation. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.