This morning I had the privilege of meeting with approx. 30 local church and community leaders to discuss the “Mission of the Church” with Paul Sparks (Zooming in from America).
Paul sparks is co-author of the book “The New Parish: How Neighbourhood Churches are Transforming Mission, Discipleship and Community.”
I confess I haven’t yet listened to the whole book (which I’ve bought on audible), but what I’ve heard so far makes me feel truly thankful for the place God has drawn me to minister, serve, and live for this time. Note: I already felt this way and this book has added extra meaning and focus!
With this introduction, here’s a timely quote from the book, since we are focusing on the third pillar in our action plan this coming Sunday (Pillar 3# “Mission”):
"When . . . faith communities begin connecting together, in and for the neighbourhood, they learn to depend on God for strength to love, forgive and show grace like never before . . . The gospel becomes so much more tangible and compelling when the local church is actually a part of the community, connected to the struggles of the people, and even the land itself."
This reminds me of Jesus’ words about himself recorded in Luke 4:17-19. He said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
This is what Jesus saw as his own mission on earth, while also training up his disciples (pillar 2 - which we heard about last week) and worshipping God his heavenly Father (pillar 1 - as we heard about the week before).
Jesus was always on about His father’s mission in the world and God has always been a missional (“sending”) God (The Missio Dei).
We too… are sent ones! We are disciples (followers of Jesus who make disciples- [followers of Jesus]). Which might cause us to wonder… if we let the Holy Spirit lead us out to be a relational presence and share the gospel in our local community… what would result?
I imagine we would positively affect Mount Eliza, which would be refreshing. In an age of dislocation and disengagement, the notion of a church that knows its place and gives itself to where it finds itself… is like a breath of fresh air, like a sign of new life.
I hope we can be intentional to show we care about the local community. May we find ways to connect, serve, heal and bless in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Together we are called to do this! So, lets pray God will help us to intentionally lean into this venture with Him.
As your Pastor, I want to say it’s a great privilege to serve along-side you, as well as serve you, pastorally care for you and it’s the greatest privilege to get to know you more and more.
Thanks to the many of you whom I’ve had opportunity to connect with so far, and big thanks also to those of you I’m yet to contact and visit… I appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you soon.
I am excited to be among you and count it the most enormous privilege to serve at this place for this time.
I’m an evangelist at heart, a teacher by natural gifting, an apostle by the Spirit’s enabling, a prophet by the Spirit’s gifting, and a pastor by God’s calling! … And I believe God is leading us into some more great things (By God’s standards, not worldly standards!).
I pray that we will all choose to get on board with God’s mission in the world (and more locally in Mount Eliza) as His called and chosen people here at this particular God-ordained time. Note: You are not here by accident!
We are called to be good news like Jesus was, and continue to make disciples as he told us to… this is our daily act of worship to live for him with our body, mind, heart, soul, and lives. This is worship. This is discipleship. This is mission.
I love being on this Journey with you!