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Let’s get the apostles in as mission consultants for Sydney

by on October 5, 2012

The Spirit was the main missioner and mission-director in the early church. What implications does that have for the way we do things in Sydney (or elsewhere) today?

After hanging out in Acts for a while, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the apostles, see how we would look to them. What might they want to say to us, based on their experience of Spirit-led mission? Drawing on ideas from Acts, here’s some suggestions:

1. Where’s the prayer meeting? You guys are wanting the Spirit to move on your suburbs, right? That’s the goal? So first priority, more important than everything else you do put together, is to ask. Why isn’t your mission going well? ‘You do not have because you do not ask.’ We used to make sure nothing got in the way of this mission priority: prayer. Forget everything else until you’ve got the whole church at a weekly prayer meeting. Cause nothing much is going to happen till then.

2. What’s with all the planning? You guys are seriously keen on planning and programming. We hardly ever did any of that stuff.  Are you being fooled into thinking you can actually make mission happen? In the end, you’re not there to plan the program. You’re there to see what the Spirit is doing and join in with his programs.

All these events you like to run – the problem is that you’ve planned them.  If you want to see some action, why not find out what events the Spirit is running? It never occurred to us to run events.  We were just trying to keep up with the ones God kept throwing at us. FACT: The Spirit’s events will go better than yours. He’s in charge, remember. If you want to plan something, plan a prayer meeting.

3. Get plugged in. The Spirit is at work in your neighbourhood. That’s already true. But as neighbours get to know you, the Spirit will probably be more active than ever, challenging and changing people. Your job is to not get in the way. And maybe even to help! So you need to know people well.  If you take the time to find out about people and get close to them, get inside their families, then you’ll be in a position to see what mission work God is doing where. It’s often kind of invisible from a distance. Until you’ve seen what’s going on, you’re just blundering around on your own. You won’t even know how to pray for the things God is doing.

Because you’re the junior partners in this mission, you have to pay attention. And you may need to wait and be patient too – you’re not in charge of the timing either. So steady, consistent friendship with your neighbours is your other main way of working well with the mission leader, the Holy Spirit (along with prayer). We used to hang out around the temple…

OVERALL:

You guys often kind of look like you’re trying to function as the main player in the mission.  As though you’re actually doing mission yourselves. But that’s the Spirit’s place. Learning to be the junior partner: that’s where it’s at for effective mission.

From → General

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