By Shannon Youell
Last week at our CBWC Assembly Gathering, Cailey and I facilitated a workshop asking these and other questions of ‘what if’:
- What if we joined Jesus into the places we already are;
- What if, as church communities, we did this together, creating cultures of a) shared practices that reshape us and b) shared mission into our neighbourhoods by ‘living among’ in intentional, relational presence formed out of everyday rhythms with our neighbours.
Before we could explore the possibilities, we fessed up the fears, assumptions and, yes, even our own ecclesiology to determine the barriers to our ‘what ifs’.
Then, through interactive engagement with three examples from Scripture where we find resilience, mission and faithful practice, we had a “taste” of exploring being local missionaries where we live, work, play and pray.
We had great discussion amongst all participants and with our very limited time determined that the examples in both the passages we looked at and the example of Jesus’ own resiliency in mission, that resiliency is less about productivity and success and more about faithfulness and fruitfulness. We acknowledged that often our very metric of these things causes us to see success as failure and mediocrity as success!
Resilience in mission speaks of practices not projects. And as cultural commentarian Mark Sayers quips, often we want progress without presence.
In looking at Jeremiah 29:4-7, Luke 10:2-9, and Acts 2:42-47 we discovered ways to begin to reshape our thinking and our practices to dismantle some of our own erected and often held onto barriers.
Some of what was discovered were practices of reframing, rethinking and reimagining local mission and rhythms of:
- How does dying to self help us live among the people around us?
- Obedience to God’s plan – rethinking our ecclesiology from each member participates in the ‘mission of the church to church, which is the members, participates in the mission of God.
- Invest and engage where you are
- Enter your neighbours traditions rather than your neighbours having to do all the missionary cross cultural work
- Making space
- Counting the cost
There is much wealth and riches to be mined here, and we are excited to continue this conversation here on this blog, or by coming to your church to explore this together as we shape our practices and our culture to join God on mission right where we are.
God’s call is not a call to be everywhere; it’s a call to be somewhere. …It’s a call to locality. Quite simply, it’s a call to the neighbourhood. Simon Carey Holt