I want to think about “Scouts”, so often we think of Pioneers coming in and starting something new and breaking new ground.
Often our thinking of pioneering and settling comes from a slightly romanticised idea of American wild west.
In reality the people didn’t just arrive and plant and pioneer a new random community, they did something key before hand, they sent in scouts.
Scouts would go out in pairs, and see how the land lay, they would see if the natives were friendly (normally if they killed one of you that was a sign that they might be a bit hostile).
Actually Scouts are visible in our Christian scriptures too.
Scouts were sent out in pairs to see what the city of Jericho was like, Jesus sent out the 12 and then the 72 in pairs, to seek out “friendly natives” or as Christ called them “people of peace” -‘If a person of peace lives there stay with him and eat whatever is put in front of you, but if a town does not welcome you, leave that place and knock the dust from your feet’.
Too often in Christian Mission our “scouts” get left on their own, or the people have become too comfortable to move from where they are to the promised land.
we have neglected the ministry of scouts, because Church is not seen as something on the move. we have settled, and become enshrined in brick and concrete. Often our Church buildings are unsuitable for what we want to do, and in awkward and out of the way locations that are impossible to find, whilst massive new estates spring up without Churches on them.
I believe we need to re-discover spiritual scouts, people who go out and spot the potential for new and better life, more fruitful and meaningful places to settle.
Perhaps we need to think less about erecting stone-temples and more about transportable tabernacles?
Once a community has settled there is no need for the scout, and so they go out and scout again.
In many ways the scouts are often the prophetic or apostolic types that see the Kingdom possibilities that fail to flourish in a settled Church that has put its feet up. Moving on is tiresome, it is hassle and we like to cling on to what is familiar and resist change -it is human nature.
Yet without scouts the nomadic people would die out, and unless we release more Kingdom scouts, then the Church in the UK is in danger.
Are you called to be a Scout?
Are you called to be a faithful supporter of a Scout?
Have you become too comfortable where you are and used up its resources, and need to move on for survival?