What is mission?

Reaching out

There are a number of meetings that take place within the Circuit that you may not be aware of. One of them is the Circuit Mission Committee. Throughout the year each one of the circuit churches raise money through events for a variety of causes such as Action for Children, Methodist Homes for the Aged, Mission in Britain, World Mission, Methodist Women in BritainThe Methodist Relief and Development Fund as well as JMA. All of these charities have a Methodist heart. There are also many other causes we collect for and each year through donations and events a considerable amount of money is raised, thanks to you.

The Missions Committee members oversees these funds and organizes event such as Coffee Mornings, the Easter offering service and the Garden Party but they also have responsibility for informing the congregations about mission and the events that are taking place.

At our last meeting we stopped for a while to consider what mission really is in the context of Methodism. We had to acknowledge gratefully that the circuit did a good job at raising money for good causes. But is that all that mission is? We began to think about what God’s call is concerning mission and found ourselves pondering on the call to social action and evangelism. We realise that the call to social action is often heard in our services, it’s an intrinsic part of the gospel after all, and we support food banks and credit unions and voluntary services but the question was raised: Are we called to do more? Personally I suspect we are. What would happen though if we stopped to think about the social activities that we are engaged in daily? I know of many people who are school governors, or work for the National Health Service or are teachers, or working with Victim support or caring organisations I could go on and on.

Perhaps it would be an interesting exercise to do an audit of what the people in our churches are already doing. As we were reminded by the Vice President of Conference Dr Daleep Mukarji at Synod recently, we are all Missionaries wherever we are. We all share in God’s mission, we worship a missionary God who SENT his Son just as we are sent into the world to share God’s love and action.

Dr Mukarji identified the problem: we don’t really have a clear idea what mission is, but it is imbedded in the DNA of the Methodist people. Perhaps we make it too complicated. He went on to say something like this “God invites us to be involved in a life transforming mission in our world and in our structures. We are called to help people experience fullness of life, to be life affirming, we are called to be people who are willing to change our life and attitudes, to help other people to change and reach their full potential, and to engage in changing society for the better.” When we think about mission and evangelism we often think about people ‘over there’ but what if we changed our thinking and thought about people ‘here’? About what we are doing in our lives to bring about transformation and change, for we worship a transforming God. Dr Mukarji was an inspiring speaker and said a great deal more about mission and we will continue our thinking in the coming months.

Let us then go into the world to love and serve the Lord.

[Pam]

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