i was really pleased to see mark berry and philip mounstephen have written a grove booklet on mission and community. it gets a hefty review here if you want to know what it's about and that saves me writing too much (!). i am particularly pleased because it's part of grove's mission and evangelism series and cms has become a partner in that series contributing a couple of booklets a year - at least that's the plan. this is the first. it used to be the evangelism series but we were keen if cms were to be involved that it become mission and evangelism. i have read it and really recommend it. it's the kind of book you read and think 'of course!' but then realise that what seems obvious often isn't.
the thing in the book that i thought was very neat and powerful was a diagram. they draw on robert warren's missionary congregations book which i really liked when it came out and that had three interlocking equally sized circles in a venn diagram of worship, mission and community saying that all three were important and that in the intersection you'd find the heart or spirituality of a congregation. i remember drafting what grace was about years ago and having those three sections on an older version of the web site.
what mark and philip do is redraw the diagram showing the reality could be very different in practice to warren's nice equal version. it seems quite shocking - community is small and mission is isolated. but the more i have thought about it the more i think that diagram nails something with truth in it even if it is exaggerated.
it's at least worth pondering if you are in a congregation or church what the balance is and where all the church's time, money and effort goes. we have been thinking about this at grace recently and realising that in our case community has grown in importance over the years and we are reflecting on what mission looks like. i guess worship has always been a reasonable size as we grew out of what was then known as alternative worship. i'll blog again in a separate post to say a bit more about this with a diagram we drew for grace.
Hi. I found this a very interesting blog. In particular I was interested in the diagram. Personally I think I would have put the worship circle within the community, as I also would have done had it been labelled church. Without the community there would be no worship for worshippers to come from and the community is essential to most human activity and interaction. Worship evolves from within it and is sustained by it. Is there anywhere for it go beyond community on its own?
Similarly the article made me think about mission. Again I can't see how it can sustain itself outwith community, unless to claim that those they are reaching in mission are themselves beyond the community. I think this would be a mistaken stereotyped idea. Mostly they live within it but for one reason or another are alienated or separated but will feel a kinship with others, maybe just others most mainstream folk don't notice. I think mission should exist to enlarge and strengthen community from within. I don't think so much could be achieved if it were viewed as outwith most people's perceptions.
I don't usually get all theoretical like this. Unfortunately for practical reasons I can't attend your classes but they must be interesting. Thank you for making me think.
Posted by: Janet Sinclair | June 18, 2017 at 02:03 PM