Tuesday, 27 November 2012

God's Heart for Mission

The church is the centre of God's activity on earth. But not the local church, it is the church worldwide. We don't have a mission, God has a mission. The church worldwide is His body. Local church is an expression of that:

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God's people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. 

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God's wonderful grace. 

You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ's faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.  Colossians 1:3-8, NLT

For most of us our own jobs, homes, families are at the centre. For some the local church is at the centre. What we want to see is Jesus at the centre, and to achieve that we need to take part in what he is doing. His work while on earth was to move onto the next town to see God's Kingdom grow there as well (Mrk 1:35-39).

This has to affect everything, including the way we do theological education. Instead of training ordinands in theology, church history, pastoral studies, and then at some point mission, we should train them in mission, with all other training as part of that. Often mission is seen as a plug-in, something the church might, at some point, get involved in. Instead we should see church as a part of a larger whole that is encompassed by what God is doing worldwide, albeit through Jesus' body on earth, the church. Mission is not an optional extra, it is at the heart of what God is doing, and it is on God's heart. Please let it be in our hearts too!