Okay no points for a snappy title today!
When I was at college I discovered this silly phrase “hold it in tension” with was the cop out response whenever there was any form of contradiction, or when when people wanted to stay on the fence.
Yet like all silly and over-used phrases it has a grain of wisdom at its core!
Some things aren’t actually ‘either/or’ phrases but are both meant to be done and lived out together, such I believe is the case with Mission as an individual and personal response but also a corporate calling together.
Often people talk about being ‘fruitful on your frontline’, ‘finding your people of peace’ or being ‘salt and light in your sphere of influence’ which consists of the idea that as an individual you are uniquely placed in a variety of contexts that the Church as an institution simply doesn’t normally reach or encounter. In that context YOU are the Church.
Yet I’ve also thought that there is something about a collective and corporate vision, something missional about being part of a movement of God which is bigger than yourself. I believe that Church is more than a loose grouping of people involved in individual bits of personal evangelism, but actually there is something by being together and walking together we see the beauty of the Church where the whole is bigger than its component parts. I know it is a bit corny but the word “TEAM” is sometimes used to be an acrostic for “Together Everyone Achieves More”, when the Church gathers in mission with the intentionality to see its local area transformed for his glory we see Church being what it is supposed to be a beautiful unstoppable outpouring of the Kingdom of God.
Yet paradoxically the Church can only be this unstoppble outpouring of the Kingdom of God when its members are engaged in personal evangelism in their own contexts, bizarrely our personal evangelism feeds our abilities together at corporate outreach and our corporate outreach ought to help us with our individual missional contexts.
Somehow we need to work out what God is calling us to do as us, our personal call in the places where God has called us, alongside the call also to be part of his body lived out for his glory as his local bride in the community.
How does being part of a local Church feed our personal missional call?
What is our role within the missional movement of the local Church?
Somehow these two should should compliment, equip and empower each other, yet too often we make this an “either/or” choice where we mainly just ignore the role of personal evangelism in our context and try and sign people up for all the schemes we think they should be doing, or we talk so much about mission in our context that the local area never realizes that a local Church exists in their neighbourhood and never becomes more than the collection of its component parts.
I think at the root of all of this stems from our identity, mission is not what we do, but rather it is who we are, or a spirituality of obedience that in everything, great or small, together or alone, working or at leisure our whole lives are lived primarily for the purpose of bringing glory to Christ and seeking first his Kingdom.
How does this look in practice in your life?
How does this look in practice in your Church?