Sunday 3 July 2011

To boldly go ...

At a recent service in our church, our preacher played us the mission statement that was quoted at the start of every episode of the TV series ‘Star Trek.’ He then asked whether we should include something similar at the start of each service or sermon.

It got me thinking! Should we do that? And if we did, what would it include? Here, with apologies to Star Trek, is the result of my musings:

‘The world, our final frontier. We are called to journey as God’s people, the church. Our continuing mission, until Christ returns: to step outside our comfort zone, to seek all who do not know Jesus Christ and share his love, to go boldly wherever God calls us.’

OK, that is a little bit flippant, although it does give me a chance to correct that split infinitive! Anyway, Jesus has already given us a very good mission statement at the end of Matthew’s gospel:

‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20).

I wonder if we need this reminder every week? It’s easy to become complacent as followers of Jesus, and forget that we are only that because someone else made a disciple of us. It’s easy to say that our gift is not evangelism (i.e. sharing the good news of Jesus), and assume that the job of reaching the world is someone else’s.

Everyone has gifts that can be used in reaching people with the love of Christ. On 19th June, some of us joined with Chris Duffett (President-elect of the Baptist Union of Great Britain) for ‘Saints on the Streets’. It was Father’s Day, and Chris had arranged a special free treat for fathers – a rodeo ride! Believe it or not, over 60 people took advantage of the free ride and the risk to their dignity, including this father! Everyone had a job to do. A couple of people made up goodie bags for dads. A few more people gave them out and told people who we were and why we doing it. One person sat at a table, helping children make a card for their dads. Someone else shouted out the challenge: Free Rodeo for Father’s Day. People were amazed that this was a free gift from the church, and it opened the door to say a little to some about the love of our Heavenly Father. Not everyone there would have called himself or herself an evangelist, but everyone took part in sharing the good news and going boldly into our city.

Isn’t it good to be part of the church in which Jesus does not expect one person to have all of the gifts need to reach the world? He does, though, expect us to play our part in reaching the world for him.

I’m sure we do need to be reminded – often – that Jesus does not call us to stay in our pews, but to go boldly into the world and share his love!

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