It’s been a while since I have posted a new reflection. I’ve had a huge few weeks, including a couple of weeks in Jamaica, the passing of my grandmother and lots of work for my studies.
My exams are this week, so I’m hoping to get back in the swing of writing regularly soon, however, as part of my studies I wrote a research paper that further unpacks what I believe will be the basis of the next reformation of the church… and also the basis on which the church will effectively re-engage with community. It is an academic paper, so might be a bit dry, but I hope you might catch a sense of the future as you read it.
One other thing that has happened in the last few weeks is that my book has been released as a Kindle e-book… If you want to explore more about Kingdom Cells, then the book is a great place to start. You can see it at: http://amzn.com/B00C0ONNK8
I’d appreciate it if you could help me get the word out about it… Amazon has a share function on the books page which allows you to let people know about the book either through email or on Facebook or Twitter..
Thanks for your company on the Journey!
Mission to Whole Communities and Nations
The organization I work with, Fusion, started in 1960 and since 1980 it had the goal of seeing the whole nation of Australia transformed by the Kingdom of God. Fusion had a very clear strategy to achieve this goal, and yet 30 years on the strategy has not unfolded in the way it was initially envisaged.
This paper will explore what effective mission to a whole community or a whole nation might actually look like.
God’s people are called to whole nations and communities
The Bible is concerned with God’s reconciling action for whole peoples. The Old Testament focuses the journey of Israel as a whole people, chosen by God. This theme is specifically spelled out in Deuteronomy 7:6 and 14:2, but continues as the central story throughout the biblical narrative.
When Jesus gave the great commission, he commanded his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations”, rather than individuals. In Revelation 7:9 we are given the picture that at the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, nations, tribes and peoples will still be distinctly recognizable. National and cultural identity is not lost in the Kingdom of God, and as Christ’s ambassadors, we need to not only understand what this means for individuals but also for whole nations and communities.
What does mission to whole communities or nations look like?
One of the understandings implicit in much of the New Testament, and which we are beginning to understand is that mission is not so much about what we do, but who we are. J Ross Wagner writes:
While redemption is from first to last the work of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, it is a work that nonetheless establishes reconciled human beings as active co-laborers with God. In union with Christ, we find our lives increasingly conformed to the pattern of Jesus’ own self-giving love, as in the power of the Spirit and under the tutelage of the Scriptures we participate in the on-going mission of the triune God to the world.
N.T. Wright believes that this picure, of reconciled human beings as active co-laborers with God, is actually the heart of Jesus’ strategy:
“The evidence points, I suggest, towards Jesus intending to establish, and indeed succeeded in establishing, what we might call cells of followers, mostly continuing to live in their towns and villages, who by their adoption of his praxis, his way of being Israel, would be distinctive in their local communities.”
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