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Date: May 21, 2017 (Easter 6) 1. Texts: Acts 17:22-31; Ps. 66:7-18; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21. 2. Subject: mission. 3. Topic: basics of missiology and discipleship. 4. Aim: educate. 5. Proposition: “The Church doesn’t do mission. We do ministry. God does mission.” Accompanying this file are two others: a PowerPoint presentation and a .pdf file of the PowerPoint slides. For those parishes without projector capacity, you can use the .pdf file in order to create flip chart pages, posters and the like.

GOD DOES MISSION

 

Back in the 80’s and up until the mid-90’s corporations put a lot of money and effort into “Mission Statements”. And they hang around today. Marks and Spencer's mission statement is divided into three parts and reads, "Vision: To be the standard against which others are measured, Mission: To make aspirational quality accessible to all, and Values: Quality, value, service, innovation and trust."1 Burger King's mission statement is "to prepare and sell quick service food to fulfil our guest's needs more accurately, quickly, courteously, and in a cleaner environment than our competitors.” 2 A mission statement clearly defines the company's objectives and goals at which the company’s core business is aimed. Of course, non-profit groups have created mission statements as well, like Habitat for Humanity, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” 3 1https://www.reference.com/business-finance/marks-spencers-mission-statementde58ca3e64d686fc?qo=contentSimilarQuestions 2www.reference.com/business-finance/burger-king-s-mission-statement- 69f466200e245807?qo=contentSimilarQuestions 3 www.topnonprofits.com/examples/nonprofit-mission-statements Page 2 of 5 -Mission basicsA favourite one amongst churches was “To know Christ and to make Christ known.” Mission statements were popular. Now, amongst churches mission statements often became just pious and vague statements without any real impact. Congregations somehow learned that they needed a guiding statement, but most frequently congregations were not empowered to actually put the mission statement into action. We have to change that. And we’re going to change that first by changing our language and our fundamentals. The business says, “We exist and we must perform well economically. Therefore, we need a mission statement.” Frequently the business already exists by the time it can create a mission statement. The Church is different. It must say, “God exists and he already has a mission statement.” Mission in the Church, you see, belongs to God. It is his mission that guides the Church. Creation belongs to God. His plan and intent are what matter. The Church starts everything with the reality that God exists and he must have a plan for his creation. His mission is his plan and intent for that creation. Mission is what God is doing in his creation. Mission is God’s goals for our world. So, whatever that mission is, the Church doesn’t get to create its mission statement. We have to take on God’s mission statement. Now, we’ll get to that later, but for now congregations everywhere have to give up their mission statements in favour of God’s mission statement. The Church then already knows what God’s mission is and so we have to draft our “Vision Statement”. Our vision is our strategy to implementing God’s mission. The Church takes God’s Slide 1.1.: “God” Slide 1.2.: “is the Creator and Planner” Slide 1.3.: “Mission” Slide 1.4.: “is his intent and plan” Slide 1.5.: “Vision” Slide 1.6: “is our strategy” Page 3 of 5 -Mission basicsmission as its template and then develops its plan, approach and tactics for the implementation of what God wants done. That vision is made tangible, practical and doable in the ministries of the Church. Ministry is the things we do in order to fulfill God’s mission. Ministry makes mission real in the lives of God’s people. Those people are Christ’s disciples. Now, we’ve all heard Church leaders use that word, “disciples” and the short-form definition is “followers”. But disciples and discipleship are more than just “following Jesus”. The disciple learns the content from the Master (Jesus) and then reflects the Master’s life in his or her own life. The disciple is an apprentice of Jesus, which means learning and doing, content and practice. Christian faith is never just a concept, a philosophy. Christian faith is always a relationship with God that changes who we are and how we live. So, disciples carry out the mission of God according to the Church’s vision by doing ministry intentionally aimed at fulfilling God’s mission. Ministry is the channel for God’s mission, directed by the vision of the Church, created in submission to God’s mission. The tools of our ministry are well known to the Church—sometimes neglected or used poorly—but they are well known. 1. Scripture. 2. Prayer. 3. Worship. 4. Compassionate service. 5. Evangelism. 6. Disciple-making. Disciples learn the content of the Master in Scripture and through the Great Tradition of the Church. We seek to transform lives through prayer. We gather to hear the voice of God in worship and look to transform the world through our service. Essential to discipleship are evangelism and disciple-making. Every Slide 1.7.: “Ministry” Slide 1.8.: “is what we do” Slide 1.9.: “Disciples” Slide 1.10.: “his followers” Slide 2. Slides 3-4. Page 4 of 5 -Mission basicsdisciple is always a disciple-maker, as Christ himself outlined in his Great Commission.4 Our fundamentals are so dramatically different than those of corporations or even other non-profits. We start not with our own existence, but with the existence of God and with his plan for our lives. His mission directs our vision which we implement in our ministries carried out by Christ’s disciples. So, now, let’s see if we can put God’s mission into a “Mission Statement.” What are God’s goals. What does he want to achieve in this world? What is God’s intent for his creation? God’s mission is • to save the world. • to save all people. • that all people will experience God’s love and his salvation. • that all people will enter heaven. • that all people will become disciples of Jesus. Please note that the mission of God is not to be nice to people, to help people, to increase the membership of the Church or to balance the budget of the Church. You may feel unable to use this brainstorming method. If so, please find a sermon conclusion at the end of this text. So, looking at the results of our brainstorming session, God’s mission is… This is going to direct the creation of our Vision Statement which is going to provide our strategy for our ministries as Christ’s disciples. We can actually edit and transform what we do for the sake of God’s mission. God’s mission becomes the template for ministry and we can actually force our ministries into the shape of God’s mission. Scripture, prayer, worship, service, evangelism and disciplemaking can all be made to serve God’s mission. You see, that’s what it means to be Christ’s disciple. We are the people governed not by the Church’s mission statement, but by the mission of God. AMEN. 4 Matthew 28:16-20. Slide 5. Slide 6. Use flip chart paper. Collect responses. Don’t fuss about exact wording. Focus on core concepts, such as those listed below. You may have to prompt the responses of the congregation. Page 5 of 5 -Mission basicsAlternate ending, without the brainstorming session. God’s intent for his world is based on his identity and character. God’s plan is all about his love, grace, compassion and forgiveness. His goal for all people is that we all might experience his salvation for all eternity. He has already succeeded at opening the path to salvation through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. God intends that all people experience that salvation in a way that they experience the abundant and transforming love of God for eternity. This is God’s mission which then guides the vision of the Church’s ministry. This is significant. We can actually edit and transform what we do for the sake of God’s mission. God’s mission becomes the template for ministry and we can actually force our ministries into the shape of God’s mission. Scripture, prayer, worship, service, evangelism and disciple-making can all be made to serve God’s mission. You see, that’s what it means to be Christ’s disciple. We are the people governed not by the Church’s mission statement, but by the mission of God. AMEN.