Chris asks [comment below] What is the heart of misson....?
The heart of Mission can only for me be seen through Jesus and his motives which were undeniably 'grace centred'.
I'm not saying don't evangelise; what I'm saying is be careful that we don't knock grace out of our motives for mission. To do that we need to understand the tension that exists within the relationship of mission from the context of missio dei. “Evangelism is mission but mission is not merely evangelism” (Moltmann 1977).
So if we are addressing 'an issue' within our community as a church - let's address it as an issue that needs addressing! Let's demonstrate kingdom values, Let's see the power of grace provoking questions but let's be careful not to dilute the authenticity of the gospel by using 'the issue' as a chance to evangelise. Let grace shine out.
So people need feeding - feed them; Young people need space to feel safe and respected – provide it; people need shelter - find it. People need clothing – give it. Do it in a way that the world looks and says the Church is different. Do it in a way that God is seen through our actions. Do it in a way that demonstrates the kingdom. Do it in a way that is authentic and not manipultaive.
What I find is that grace centred actions intrigue… be ready to proclaim.
Riddell for me hits the nail on the head…
“In the post-Christian era, the medium is the message, and the medium of evangelism is regarded with extreme distaste by the surrounding culture….evangelism easily becomes the marketing ploy for Christianity akin to selling encyclopaedias. Various techniques are used in a highly manipulative agenda designed to get prospective customers to “sign up”. This is about as far away from the story of Jesus of Nazareth as it is possible to get.”
[Riddell, M. (1998) Threshold of the Future: Reforming the Church in the Post-Christian West. SPCK]
So what is the heart of mission?