Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. (Mark 16:
In autumn 2011 two visitors to our parish challenged us to think more about our local
community and our mission to it.
Bishop Martin of Whitby suggested that our mission activity should be clearly focused
and should perhaps be concentrated on one particular group of people or one geographic
area in the town.
Neil Walpole of the Church Army identified some areas where we are active already
and in which gifted and enthusiastic people are involved (so we have a base to build
on), and reminded us that mission is more often about going out to people than expecting
them to come to us.
We need to respond to this challenge. We have limited financial and human resources
and must be sure that any new mission activity we embark on is sustainable. Most
importantly we need to discern where, and with whom, we should be working. A first
step is to identify where God is already at work in our community so that we can
align ourselves with his activity.
Mission means to recognise what God is doing in His world and to try to do it with
Him (Bishop John Taylor)
Before we embark on any particular course of action, we are having a period of prayer,
reflection and discernment in the time up to Easter 2012, to try and identify where
our mission should be directed. We are not having consultations or discussions during
this period - that will come afterwards. Instead we are concentrating on listening
to what God wants to say to us.
Everyone in our church family is being asked to think and pray in order to try to
discern where God is leading us in mission. This means making space for this topic
in all our prayer times: alone, in our households, in prayer groups and home groups,
in our services and in other times of worship. If you would like to join in this
effort, please read on…
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
In our community:
Where is God already at work?
Where are the dark places, and what issues and problems are people struggling with?
How can we serve?
What distinct groups (e.g. young families, older people, town-centre workers, visitors
- there are many others) have needs that we could serve?
What resources, strengths, gifts and talents do we have at our disposal?
What is it that God want us to do?
BIBLE PASSAGES TO READ
John 1: 1-9 - the light of God which shines in the darkness
Matthew 5: 1-16 - knowing our need of God, and shining his light in the world
Matthew 28: 16-20 - the "Great Commission"
John 13: 12-17 - the importance of serving one another
Matthew 25: 31-45 - the importance of serving others
Luke 10: 25-37 - the Good Samaritan: an example of service
Romans 12: 1-13 - the resources God has granted to us
SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYERS
Almighty God, as we seek to reach out in mission to our community, help us to see
where you are already at work, so that we may work with you and align ourselves with
your will for this part of your Kingdom. Amen.
Loving God, we thank you for our church here, for all the gifts you have given us
and for all we share together. We ask you to guide, strengthen, equip and inspire
each one of us for service, so that we may joyfully serve you, sensitively proclaim
your gospel and faithfully express your love to everyone in our community. Amen.
Heavenly Father, show us where and how to respond to need in our community. Give
us the means, the will, the commitment and the love to reach out in the name of Jesus,
offering something of ourselves to others, even as he offered his all to us. Amen.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my
witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts