some great thoughts by the venerable Newbigin
“The concern for mission is nothing less than this: the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of the Father of Jesus over all humankind and over all creation. Mission.. is the proclamation of the kingdom, the presence of the kingdom and the prevenience of the kingdom. By proclaiming the reign of God over all things the church acts out its faith that the Father of Jesus is indeed ruler of all. The church, by inviting all humankind to share in the mystery of the presence of the kingdom hidden in its life through its union with the crucified and risen life of Jesus, acts out the love of Jesus that took him to the cross. By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways neither planned, known, nor understood, the church acts out the hope that it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the kingdom.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 64)
“I have described mission in terms of the proclamation, the presence, and the prevenience of the reign of God. The reign concerns the whole history of the human family and of the cosmos. At the heart of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is the petition: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is to be done on earth. The call of Jesus to believe the good news of the impending kingdom leads at once to the call to “Follow me.” There can be no separation between believing and following, between faith and obedience. The prayer “Thy will be done” is in vain if it is not made visible in action for the doing of that will. Consequently, missions have never been able to separate the preaching of the gospel from action for God’s justice.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 91″
I think I linked to this article before, but I wanted to post it here again – as I re-read it & it struck me freshly – how important this is – to develop leaders…
“About six years ago the German football team was at a crossroads. They were playing what many people thought was a boring brand of the beautiful game. They were a defensive team and while they could sometimes win on the counter when it came to winning a game with their own strategy they really struggled. Losing Euro 2004 was the final disaster and the German Federation did some thinking. They changed leadership and philosophy but MOST IMPORTANTLY they changed their approach to developing players.
Jurgen Klinsman was brought in as a manager with new ideas. Klinsman had recently been a player so he was more of a practitioner instead of a theoretician. Also, he had played a couple of seasons in the English premier League which is undoubtedly the most watched football competition in the world and is known for its attacking flair. Ironic when you consider the way they played in this years World Cup in South Africa.
At this years World Cup the Germans have been inspirational. A young team. Fearless and the only team who has consistently found a way to score goals – lots of goals against different opponents. They planned six years ago for what is happening now. They deliberately found a way to develop the players they needed to lead the world again in the game of football.
We all bemoan the fact that it is proving hard to identify and prepare the catalytic leaders we need to sustain planting movements in our country. But what have we actually been doing? We have been training pastor-teachers. This is important too. But if we want a planting movement we have to find and develop fearless young leaders who will pay any price to do evangelism and disciple-making. My guess is they won’t go to our present training institutions because they simply don’t want to be pastor-teachers.
To find these catalytic leaders we must change they way we talk about mission; then we must change the way we relate to the young catalytic but difficult to manage young men and women in and around our churches; then we must change the way we train them and above all we must change the way we support them in an ongoing manner.”
BY TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN
“Martin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” As if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist?
Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”
“I’m a shoemaker.”
Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”
In becoming Christians, we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards—and with a renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives.
One way we reflect our Creator is by being creative right where we are with the talents and gifts he has given us. As Paul says, “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. . . . So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:20, 24). As we do this, we fulfill our God-given mandate to reform, to beautify, our various “stations” for God’s glory.”