Rector's Reflections - 16 April

Rector’s Reflections    Tuesday 16th April 2024

21st  Century: Mission, Evangelism, Discipleship

Yesterday I shared some reflections about Vocation. God calls men and women, as individuals and as communities, to particular tasks at particular times. One difficulty with the present focus on Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship is that it can impose a one size fits all approach to what church congregations should be doing. Of course, God may indeed be calling a particular congregation to focus on Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship, but there are other vocations too, and every vocation is equally valid.

One way to think about the vocation of a particular church community is to look at the gifts of the congregational members. Each one of us has gifts given to us by God, which we are to use for His glory. Gifts vary from individual to individual. These need to be recognised, developed and put to good use. 

One danger with a focus on Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship is that it can ignore the importance of recognising and developing the God given gifts of the congregation. It can assume that there is only one way to be a successful church: a successful church is a church which engages intentionally in Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship. But it is possible to be a successful church in a different way: by focussing on recognising, developing and releasing the gifts of its members. 

Of course, focussing on the gifts of the congregation may well have consequences which are missional or evangelistic. And it may be that the development of congregational gifts also helps to establish and promote a culture of discipleship.  But at its heart, a focus on recognising and developing our gifts is something quite different from a focus on Mission, Evangelism and Discipleship.  It’s about looking at the gifts which God has already given us, and letting these gifts set the agenda for our lives and the lives of our churches.

I wonder: what are the gifts which has God given to you? How are you developing them? How are you using them to further the Kingdom of God?

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