What is the story we tell ourselves and each other about who we are?
Storytelling plays a noble and historic role in our lives and in society. Stories give us a narrative to guide and instruct us. They are crucial to our knowing who we are; they provide a sense of identity.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Ephesus which is filled with the story about believers and followers of Jesus. In Ephesians chapter two he writes “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
Doing good things is part of what we are about. God has gifted his church with special gifts (4:7,11), apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These gifts are for the building up of the body and for our mission in the world.
Paul shares in Ephesians the mission he has been given and now is ours to share also (3:6-9), “6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.” Note v8 “the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” And v9 “chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan”. Then also “10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” What a story to tell.
Each of us who have been graced with this story are to be bearers of this “good news”. In fact, the grace we received expects us to return honour and glory to the one who has extended that grace. How well are we doing this? Could we be more strategic, knowing the challenges we face? What possibilities exist with the people we have?
Recently I spent some time with the leadership of one of our church communities. The reason was to facilitate a conversation about mission locally and internationally. We looked back at the past, thought through the present, and drew on learnings and possibilities to begin to envision a future that would inform them to be more strategic in their sending and partnering as a church. We looked at the great things that had been accomplished as well as the bad and the sad. It was a conversation full of good stories of Kiwis being Kingdom people, sent from this church to the community and the world. The lessons were rich and timely for those younger leaders who had not known the history of their church community. One of my roles as Missions Director is to come alongside and facilitate these sorts of conversations. We don’t have all the answers, but we can help you clarify your mission focus.
We would love the opportunity to come alongside you to facilitate a conversation as I’ve outlined above. We have been made for more! Let’s explore that together. To do this, contact Russell Thorp at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 021481088.
RUSSELL THORP | Missions Director, GC3