Barnabas, Paul, Risk and Change

Take a chance on me…

I’ve not managed to post this since Wednesday, although I am a pretty rubbish Anglican, but when I was writing this I discovered today that today is a day when the Church celebrates St. Paul’s day, the great missionary to the gentiles.

I think he is a great example of a missionary (interestingly potentially a rubbish speaker) but he was fruitful in his personal evangelism, but more than that he raised up ordinary Christians to do extraordinary things, a strategic mission released many, many ordinary Christian people to do evangelism and mission.

Yet Paul the great enabler of mission and missionaries, the one who empowered people in the Kingdom cause, did so because he was empowered and equipped by Barnabas, who took a risk on him and invested in him, and gently pulled back. Interestingly how scripture records the exploits of “Barnabas and Saul” initially and then later “Saul and Barnabas”.

Paul was a challenger of the status quo.

Paul challenged the Christians to be changed, and to change what they did, how they did things and how they behaved.

We live in a change resistant culture, especially in the Church, -the joke about the Anglican Church whose moto is “change, what’s change?” Theory of change, but doing it, is often a different a thing. Change is not doing more of the same, or simply doing the same thing louder and on steroids.

“Keep your head in all situations… do the work of an evangelist…and dutifully fulfil all your duties”. 2 Timothy 4 verse 5

Missionary Doctor had to teach other people to do medical things, as when they ‘the Doctor’ weren’t there people died.

For people to survive the Doctors need to do themselves out of a job.

This actual is difficult for us, we love to be needed, often our self-worth is wrapped up in our achievements and our productivity, and stepping back can be painful and costly even if ultimately worth it.

Delegating is wonderful but really hard if they don’t do as good job as you would do.

Delegating is wonderful but really hard if they do a better job than you would do.

I have had both scenarios and both have left me profoundly challenged.

The people might never have the same level of expertise as the Doctor, but they were equipped to be able to save lives.

I have previously blogged about success being redundancy. 

Reaching the stage where I am no longer needed to lead the people in evangelism and mission because they are equipped and confident to do it without me (in fact my heart is that they do it better than me!).

We don’t do mission, we are mission. A better word is about the community being missional.

Mission is not an event but rather a collective way of life.

A picture a lady had at the Fellowship of Parish Evangelists was of the Nile river disturbed by a Motor boat caused water to spray all over the banks of the river- it looked impressive and dramatic- it caused short term watering, of dry land, even looked mildly fruitful for a short term, but long term it wasn’t very fruitful, as it was a big splash not a habitual, regular watering and nurturing.

Hit and run evangelism, will not have a lasting impact without the full support of the local, indigenous body of believers.

Christian Aid has recently popularised the phrase “Give a person a fish you’ll feed them for a day, teach them to fish and they’ll feed themselves for the life-time”.

What of us?

Do we still think of Mission as an Event rather than a way of life?

Are we faithfully watering and nurturing or running around expecting a dramatic ‘motor-boat big fix, which might make us feel good, but isn’t lastingly fruitful?


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