What is Mission?
It is important to have a good definition of the term ‘Mission’, especially if the church is to understand what it means to participate in God’s Mission – the Missio Dei. There are many helpful definitions of Mission but one that can often be forgotten is the profound loving nature of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who in love, seeks over and over again, to draw creation back into relationship.Trinitarian theology points to the fact that God is in God’s own self a life of communion and that God’s involvement in history aims at drawing humanity and creation in general into communion with God’s very life. So that mission aims primarily at the transmission of the life of the communion that exists in God.(World Council of Churches - Go Forth in Peace: Orthodox Perspectives on Mission.)
The mission of the church then, if it is obedient to God’s call to mission, is the participation with God, to draw creation back into relationship with the Triune God. This can only be carried out in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As the new Presbytery Central’s Mission Catalyst, I thought it would be important to introduce myself. My names is Stuart Simpson and I am married to Lala (Harilalao Rasoavololona) who is from Madagascar and we have three lovely children, Aina, Manda and Harena. Prior to becoming the Mission Catalyst I was one of the Minister’s at St John’s in the City for over ten years. In that time I’ve been privileged to guide people to reflect on God’s mission and help them be participants in that same mission. It is wonderful to now be in the position to help Presbytery Central to discern together where God might be calling us as God’s people.
My role as Mission Catalyst is primarily, if I were to use the scientific term, an agent that encourages and provokes significant change or action. A caveat to this is of course that it is ultimately God who encourages and provokes change or action. This encouraging, this provoking, will be carried out in consultation with the workgroups of Presbytery, in particular the Mission Workgroup. It will also be done in partnership with the Children and Family and Youth Ministry, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML), PressGo and importantly congregations within Presbytery Central.
What it might look like…
Imagine you’re a congregation that is deeply concerned about the mental health of your wider community as well as the other members of your congregation. You sense God is calling you to do something but you have no idea what to do, how to get started, and who to raise it with. Maybe it’s something you’ve talked about at Parish Council or Session but simply have no idea what to do next. First, give thanks that you are seeking to be faithful to God and are listening to God’s call. Second, this is exactly the purpose of Mission Catalyst. It’s not to come into your place and tell you what to do but to offer support, guidance and possible ways forward, which might include:
- Encourage greater imagination and the sharing of other resources
- Training in particular ways, such as through short courses or leadership training through KCML
- Sustainable and long-term support
- Theological reflection on Mission
- Applying for mission grants through the Mission Resourcing Workgroup
If we were to explore the above example, probably the best place to start would be reflecting on what Scripture and theology has to say about mental health. You might already have good connections with the wider community, so maybe it is having more intentional conversations with particular groups, who might know much more than the church does about mental health. You might have someone in your congregation who is a trained phycologist who is just waiting to be asked to help. As you take a step of faith, even if it is only one, God will surprise you at the doors that will be opened. Walking through those doors will see others blessed because you are proclaiming through word and action the risen Jesus.
Presbytery Central Mission Tool: Self-Assessing our Missional Life
PCANZ Website: Mission Resources
Global Mission: Global Mission
Signs of a Health Congregations: Healthy Congregations
Presbytery Central Mission Resourcing: Policies
Presbytery Central Resourcing Guide: Guide
Mission Planning: Template
Presbytery Central Road Map: Road Map
Christian Mission: http://roxborogh.com/missiology.htm
Send Institute: https://www.sendinstitute.org/rethinking-the-missio-dei
Rev Stuart Simpson
027 215 5145