So I joined The 2012 yesterday. It’s purpose as an organization is to help train people across the spectrum – within London – on how to live out an expressive, missional Faith. For a moment after I read the website I asked myself whether that wasn’t the purpose of the church. Then it struck me, I had limited Church to a Sunday evening, and even worse: a building. The emphatic Yes from my heart and mind in unison assured me of this as the church’s place. Rather than a palace for the holy, the Church was to be the hands and feet, hearts and ears, instruments of hope within a hopeless world. It encouraged me to see, and hear, the passion that Church has to reach out to a society whose default setting is one of suffering, hopelessness and an overall rejection of faith and the divine. It is a true reflection of the incarnate way in which God intervenes and reminded me that we all started there; at the point of despair.
My thought’s stumbled through my memory banks, marching past the devoted boy busy reading through the bible, to the angry and rebellious teenager struggling to discover himself, and finally to the young man affected by a touch to the heart from a Love he had worked hard to pretend didn’t exist. This journey back was signposted by many good people whose reaction to their faith in a missional vein allowed me to rediscover the deep longing I had for God as well as the deep longing God had for me to know Him. I recall those two young men (boys then) who took their time and were patient with me as I (drunk) tried to ridicule them for this choice that they had made: to be out in the cold sharing their faith.
I stumbled further into this sense of calling that I have felt to be involved in facilitating reconciliation between people and people but also with God. What would I, drawing from my own experience, as well as what Jesus said and did, put as the core of missional thinking. That was when this phrase emerged.
“As fast as the slowest person”
It stood as a call to never neglect the individual. This is a condensation of many things that I have been taught over the years like:
John Peters (St Marys London) said Church was a bi-product of discipleship (thoroughly paraphrased). The vision had to be people, and even more importantly, a person, in order for the edifice to stand. Looking at the bigger picture could at times make us forget the victim lying by the side of the road as we trudge on toward the temple (The good samaritan).
It made sense. The slowest person would ask the most questions, require the most patience and love. In actual fact, they would represent us, for even with the bible before us, God’s love demonstrated on the cross, his resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit we still have questions and the Father is ultimately patient.
I’ll stop here before this turns into a talk.
Be sure to check out the 2012website as well as adding @the_2012_ on twitter: join, share, and get involved.
One Reply to “Mission: As fast as the slowest person”
I just read something along aslimir lines in Readings in Missionary Anthropology II in an article titled The Moral Implications of Social Structure. Although dealing more with the missionaries role in social structure change I like how William Smalley words the insiders contextualization and results of such. He (The missionary) must encourage and stimulate the Christians to seek that cultural expression which will best reflect within the meanings of their cultural habits these new values which they are gradually coming to understand . But the restructuring comes from within. It is in a sense the by-product. Responsible allegiance to God within human cultural framework will show up in culture change, sometimes enormous change. p128We as missionaries often want to do more than encourage the contextualization. We have to limit ourselves, as we cannot truly understand the other culture. When we limit ourselves and have faith in the Holy Spirit and Gods people, we free God to do a miraculous work within the unique people he has created. If we pay attention we will learn about the greatness of God and increase our limited view of what it means to be his servant.