The Rev. Jonathan Hunnicutt, of The Table Church, sent me this prayer recently and I thought I would share it with you. It is one of the prayers for mission from Morning Prayer Rite II. 1979 Book of Common Prayer, page 101:
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on
the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within
the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit
that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those
who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for
the honor of your Name. Amen.
Sometimes we take a look at a particular neighborhood or subculture and we think it’s really bad… and it may be. But how might God want to redeem or use that area? How can we take the energy we feel and use it constructively? God may very well be at work there.
Let’s take new age thinking for example. Pastors tend to get down on that. But if we look more closely, there’s an opportunity there. We can find people there who are incredibly interested in the spiritual. The very fact that they would pursue such things shows how desperate they are for authentic spiritual transformation.
Sometimes when you’re coaching someone and seeking to develop them in their leadership, they run up against some kind of blockage. If you probe a little further into their background, you might find the roots of the blockage. What have they experienced in ministry? Who trained and equipped them? What role models have they had? What approaches have they been exposed to?
As I worked with one young church planter, when we looked into his experience base, I realized that neither he nor his wife had any experience whatsoever of a missional orientation. They had never seen missional ministry in action. It’s very difficult to practice something that you’ve never seen. Sometimes exposure is the first necessary step.
Church planters talk all the time about the trouble we have gathering people. Yet when we look at it from another perspective, people gather all the time.
I heard Jay Pathak speak recently and he asked the question, “Where are people gathering and why?” They gather in all sorts of places: sporting events, the shopping mall, farmers markets selling organic food, biking groups, concerts… the list goes on.
By guest blogger Randy Lovejoy, part 2 of 2.
As I open the door and walk in I feel the cool air hit my face. It is 8:20am and it is already beginning to heat up in the Echo Park community in Los Angeles. But the air conditioning combined with the sepia colored lighting and the soft, mellow music, gives respite from the heat and space to wake up slowly. Could this be my next flock?
Yesterday on my blog I talked about a ministry to the deaf. People go out to rural areas, find the deaf, and begin teaching them sign language so they can start to function and communicate. In the course of that process, many will respond to Jesus because these people showed love to them.
The question then arises: how do we disciple them? What’s the easiest way for them to get connected? It’s not enough to go to a hearing church and translate. So much of what goes on in a hearing church isn’t relevant to a person without hearing: the jokes, the humor, the relationships. (If you are a hearing person, imagine trying to become part of a deaf church. It wouldn’t be enough to have a translator with you telling you what is going on.)