Wednesday, 15 September 2010
“If Christianity loses its missionary character anywhere in a civilization, or at any time in a given era, or in any society, it is forgetting its origin and surrendering its identity.” So says Jürgen Moltmann (in Mission - an invitation to God's future, edited by Timothy Yates, Cliff College Publishing, 2000, p. 19). Part of what is fundamental to the Gospel is that we are called to share it. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. That, of course, happens in many and varied ways. When I was in Zimbabwe in March I saw people sharing the Gospel by running schools, operating HIV/Aids clinics and leading playgroups. In Taiwan in May I saw the Gospel shared through engagement with the indigenous communities and their culture. Last year in New Zealand I saw people engaging in encounter with schools and immigrant communities and so sharing the Gospel. And as I travel round the United Reformed Church's Eastern Synod I see the Gospel shared in all sorts of ways – through playgroups and lunch clubs, through messy churches and cafe churches, in one place by providing a home for the post office, in another a home for the local library. And so on. Every church needs to consider the question of its missionary character and what it is being called, for the moment, by God to do.