This week I came across a few verses in Isaiah that I don’t remember reading before.
Look, a righteous king is coming!
And honest princes will rule under him.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
The effects of mission in our community
This is one of Isaiah’s many glimpses of the Messiah’s reign, of the Kingdom of God and New Creation. I love it! Four fabulous metaphors for the effect that the Body of Christ is meant to have on those around them. When we seek God’s Kingdom, seeking to see it expressed in our world, this is what it looks and feels like. For those fearing for their lives in the storms of life, our actions and words, our very lives are to be a shelter and refuge. For those dying in the desert and under the scorching sun of life’s trials and the world’s tyranny, we are to be streams of water and a protective shadow.
What might that look like in practical terms in your context? Today?
At its best, Christian mission that is centred on God’s Kingdom is long term in its perspective, addressing local needs with local resources, building a life affirming, healthy culture that the whole community enjoys and benefits from, and helping those who choose to, to follow Jesus.
To be effective we need to help our communities move from suspicion, indifference and even anger towards the Body of Christ, to a place of trust and celebration for the same. Helping them make that shift means consistently giving them reasons to do so, reasons they experience. This doesn’t just happen; it takes thoughtful intentionality.
As we become practically and personally relevant to our communities, becoming a shelter and refuge from real storms and life giving water in a real desert, we need to think broader. Are there groups in the community that we are missing?
Then at some point people need the opportunity to know about Jesus and to meet him, to know what it means to follow him, and the opportunity to do so if they wish; people need to know that they have a place, a real place where they can make a real contribution. Different people travel at different speeds and they take steps in different orders… so the opportunities need to be in place, with many ‘access points’ and ‘through roads’.
One of the biggest blocks to strategic mission is the event or project mindset, the finite mindset. Mission is a process that requires an infinite mindset, simply because human beings are infinitely complex, as are the communities and networks in which they exist, and each one is completely unique; the finite, project focused mindset does not allow for this.
For many years SYC and Fusion International have been practicing Kingdom centred, strategic mission in many places across the globe. As we have practiced we have become more effective, we have also made mistakes and learned from them! We continue to develop our approach and would love you and others to benefit from our journey.
THIS IS US
Will you let us support you as you develop a missional strategy for your area or the people you have a heart to reach? We can deliver training to your team or organisation as well as provide coaching for your leaders or team; give us a shout, or find out more here!