By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Mission in Many Modes

This phrase, which I encountered in the writing of David Bosch, has been pivotal in my understanding of ministry and mission.

This evening a friend of mine expressed their despair at a church profile that spoke of a desire to move from 'social and sociable action to true mission that will increase numbers attending church.' After a bit of calming down I decided I would post my reaction!

It is hard to believe how many churches still see mission as about bums on seats (or, if I may be cynical, as about getting people to put money in their coffers to keep the show on the road) rather than what the Bible says about... oh yes, justice and healing and disicple making... and going.  Wasn't sure whether to be sad or angry by what I heard.

True mission...

That'd be the guy in my old lunch club who asked me what Easter was all about, said he finally understood it, and died a week later at peace.

That'd be the elderly man who came to our pub carol service and said it'd made his Christmas.

That'd be the woman (also from the lunch club) who emailed me recently to say she'd finally rediscovered her faith - five years after I first met her.

That'd be the 90-something brought to a chapel tea by her 96 year-old neighbour.  (By the way, she stayed!)

That'd be the child who asked me whose birthday party Pentecost was while I painted her face.

That'd be the conversations with the staff in the coffee shop

That'd be the guy who lives on the streets and has us on his mental list of 'safe churches' to attend when he's passing

That'd be the election hustings where we served tea and someone said she'd really needed it.

That'd be opening our premises to those on the margins of society so they can have parties on Saturday nights in a safe place.

That'd be my friend who spent her Easter hols in India working with projects to alleviate poverty.

That'd be the URC Lucy blogged about who installed showers.

That'd be the wedding offered for free that Julie blogged about.

That'd be... well too many things to list really

Will any of these get bums on seats?  Dunno.  Does it matter?  I think not.

Misison might be an evangelistic campaign, but then again it probably won't.  Jesus never said it had to be.

Mission might well lead to people finding faith... but it doesn't demand it.

OK rant over!  (And friend who emailed it's not your fault I'm annoyed by this)


  • It seems you are disappointed that your ideas have either not rubbed off on the majority of people approving this Church profile, or they actually disagree with you. I tend strongly towards agreeing with you but whilst still at the Church in question I need to work with these people who will not or cannot change. This relutance or inability to perceive a more significant idea of mission is probably a great contribution to why we are not growing.

  • Thank you for your comments.

    I'm not disappointed at being disagreed with (that's fine if it's the case, I would never claim to have the only valid view) more sad that the work of many others - yourself and J included - seems to be written off as inadequate because it didn't translate into bums on seats, and that, for whatever reason, people are colluding with the perceived inadequacy of their labours. That little church 'done (does) good' and people gave (and still give) tirelessly to good Kingdom work; that's what makes me sad. Check out BUGBs 'Crossing Places' leaflet if you need affirmation of how your Godly labours are percieved in a wider context.

    Hope all is well otherwise.

The comments are closed.