So do we manage this or do we move out into mission or do we just allow the Spirit to move as it will? The literature and perhaps many of those in authority would have us believe that we must either manage our way out or go on a missional undertaking as that is the Gospel. "Prove" to our communities that we are relevant to their needs and bring the Gospel into their hearts and minds, but what is the Gospel, what do we have to "sell" that we can become more efficient like a business? At the end of the day perhaps we need to see the Gospel as an initiative that cannot be managed, be hyperactively managed or even be relevant to the local community. Huh! What a shocking thing to say for surely that is the purpose that we are asked to do in the sending out into the world? No, the heart and soul of Christ's message is in the passages from John (10.11-18), 1 John (3.16-24) and perhaps in action (Acts 4.5-12). All of these passages speak about acting and living in love, love of neighbour, love of God. The mission of the Church is to behave in the manner that Christ behaved and by doing so spread the initiative of the Gospel, the good news, of how to live in love.
Do we programme our love or do we let love grow?
We have forgotten in the institutionalisation of the religious / faith journey that Christ interacted as another human being among human beings. He did not set up programs, schedules, etc for his disciples. He did not expect his followers to become followers of programs and schedules, mission undertakings to solve the problems of the world / country / community. Christ sent his disciples out into the world to bring the experience of love into the lives of others and in so doing bring them closer to God. We shepherd people through the example of our lives when those lives are consumed by love, not by money, not by comsumerisation, not by missional programmes or managed undertakings that make us more efficient. Perhaps we need to re-think how we let others know what it means to be Christian by extending our love into their hearts and minds.
Yes, we need to be part of our community to support each other and to operate as a Christian community within the community in which we live. Yes, we need to offer ourselves up as living sacrifices to enable others to find God and if this means that we attend meetings and plan goals and enable the faith community to work at showing God to the world then so be it. BUT this is not the end it is the means, it is not the purpose it is a way forward. We need to be flexible to be able to walk with people and not do for people, to show love and empathy not turn away in rejection. Even when we are tired and feel drained it is our continued outpouring of love that reaps the rewards of God's presence in our lives. If we are to withdraw to re-charge then we must come out of that withdrawal to reengage and form the bonds of love that are commanded of us by Christ.