Monday, December 22, 2008

The Five Marks of Mission....

I've had a clearing the desk day, reading articles, books, magazines that over this term have built a formidable wall. It has been good to get rid of the clutter! I've had 'Mission in the 21st Century' on my desk to read through for quite sometime and a brief skim through has confirmed that this is a book that needs to be bought or not returned just yet!

The five marks of mission it explores give a great framework for understanding mission.
  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach baptise and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain an renew the life of the earth.
Ken Gnanakan goes into bat first and explores what it is to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom - he concludes...

The Gospel of the Kingdom must be considered anew so that our proclamation and our methods take on fresh significance. While there is a need to renew our allegiance to proclaim the word faithfully, there is a greater need to flesh the message out in acts that express this kingdom. Proclamation is urgent, but demonstration is the priority. The world must hear the message of the Kingdom, but it will also want to see some concrete demonstration of this message. It is in this spelling out the Kingdom identity, in presenting the person of Jesus and not just the message of Jesus; in looking at Jesus and the way that his message was demonstrated with power and authority, that the church will be concretising the Kingdom of God through tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. Pp 10

Gnanakan, K (2008) To Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom in Ross, C., & Walls, A. (2008). Mission in the 21st Century. London: Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd.


Eleanor Burne-Jones said...

Hmm I think I might just miss that one, it sounds too much like sheep-collecting.

Graeme said...

Now I'm thinking this might be a good one to read before the 'Reaching People' essay is due in! Don't hold on to it for too long Gordon!

Eleanor Burne-Jones said...

I've come back and read it again, but it still seems to be wandering around in circles trying to say 'effective discipleship' and not getting there.

Firstly it's talking abstractly about 'church' and what it does. 'Church' in Cornwall is more likely to mean that empty chapel which is up for sale, and 'has potential to be turned into two spacious apartments with sea views'. The problem with 'the church' isn't that it hasn't grasped 'mission', it is that it is too late for 'the church' to do it, the church has all but gone. Mission in the UK in 21st century is about church from scratch, this time with the understanding that intentionally and explicitly making disciples who will make disciples is the normal and main business of 'the church' and this is what presenting the person of Jesus and demonstrating his life consists of.

The tragedy is that the church as we know it in the UK can't do it. I can't even imagine a typical corps being able to make a priority of discipleship. How could it possibly do that given the reality of the way things are? Many of the officers I've met haven't even got discipleship on the agenda, and the very idea of soldiers actually going out and doing anything actively in service would frighten them. It might not be a blessing to the army's brand name, and how would they be controlled? It just doesn't work. The army and the wider church are not designed for what that quote seems to be arguing for. Surely these books on mission need to start with the guts of the problem.

Zeeppo said...

I come from a poor corps on the verge of being closed in a dead Steel Town in The United States. Out Corps is one of those that gets a new officer every year or every other year.

Three years ago my wife and joined this church. We were the only uniform wearing soldiers in the corps, let alone tithing, evangelizing or even owning a Bible.

We started a Clown Brigade with three people. We taught them the skills of clowning, reading the Bible and how to approach people on the street and talk to them about Jesus.

This Sunday we enrolled Three Senior Soldier and eleven Jr. Soldiers. We had over 20 people in Uniform and a full sanctuary.

Our officers didn't have time to teach discipleship. The Soldiers did it.

We started prayer groups, bible studies and taught ourselves how to be disciples.

All you need to do is pray a lot and set the time aside. of and let Jesus do the rest.

Gordon said...

Graeme - I hasn;t been bought for the library yet! I have Steve Dutfields copy

Gordon said...

Eleanor - I haven't read the whole book as of yet so wouldn't be able to judge whether it gets to the guts of the problem or not. The couple of chapters I have read would indicate that it is on the way - paricularly that it helps to unpack what it actually means to proclaim.

If it challeges those who think discipleship is about going to bible studies and being commited to 24-7 to thinking more about an alignment to the life, message and motives of Jesus - I think it might be worth looking at! :o)

have a great christmas