Working under the heading: "Kairos. Now. Releasing communities of followers in the mission of Jesus."
Parish buildings have disappeared where Mark is operating and a new name has been established, which for some still needs the appendage - church. It takes time, I guess. He will be without the old structures of a PCC etc. Diane Kershaw has been working for him, I was at Bap with Diane, she will be ordained into the Order of Mission.
What is the 'Order of Mission'? It has existed for 6 years since April 2003 under David Hope. There are members throughout the world. Diane talks in her recent paper about how we live in days of great upheaval...leaving us unsure of how to communicate the gospel...in this fast changing world...The Order of Mission has links to the past...Celtic nuns....Salvation Army...protestant ministry organisations. Herein lies their heritage. They live in simplicity, in a reworking of the ancient vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
Is there any other way of living than being missional, Mark wonders. He suggests we can not split discipleship from mission.
There needs to be an emphasis on 'becoming missional'. Maybe we only 'become'.
C Peter Wagner describes what it is to be a disciple of Christ. Mark is very pro-active about networking. There seems to be an ever-widening circle - to Christ, to the body of Christ and to the work of Christ in the world. Missional reaches outward beyond your own personal relationship with Jesus. He is involved in accountable networks and this seems to be a place where ministry ideas can be tested out against the wider body of Christ.
He encourages us to make purposeful connections, to network, if we are to stay fresh. Engaging with others fosters this. We are also encouraged to give up control, live in the tension of not having the answers. We are in a sense helpless and in the acknowledgement of this, we seek to work in His strength instead.
Isaiah 55:8 The Lord's word coming to the people in this way. We seek definition so that we can reflect and analyse but by doing this Mark wonders whether we are seeking to control the intervention of God. But He gets involved and gets messy. It is more effective than our reigning him in and making everything neat and orderly. Connecting with people is no doubt fraught with difficulties. Mission is worked out in encounter with people.
Mark cautions us not to go along with the people who are 'rubbishing Fresh Expressions'. We need to see what God is doing here. We need to engage in new ways in these times. Excellent, I am pleased to hear this.
We need to live seeking the revelation of God. The bread is DAILY - God gives daily - this is great! This surely centres us on the here so that we do not become fixed on future goals, which might not be achieved. This sounds healthy. We are encouraged to ask ourselves where we see His Kingdom coming in.
The Order of Mission encourages its members to take on a rule of life.
For the Order of Mission, they use the idea of 'life-shapes'. Kairos is Jesus' first proclamation in Mark - the time has come to turn to God. We need to make decisions without prevaricating. He wants to see a generation of children growing up to make discipled and missional decisions; aing generation that is bombarded with all sorts of choices.
There is a sense that he is wanting to bring an order out of the potential chaos of life so that we can be freed up. Mark suggests a missional person seeks to live a rhythmed life, an attractive life. We will be challenged. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is the only answer. We have to watch our reactions to our changing circumstances. We have to guard against the dramatic. God is the first to whom we must turn. We should live not in a way defined by our culture but by the Bible and John 15, abiding in Christ:
You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
We must seek to work out of a time of rest and restoration - this sounds spot on and I have been thinking a lot lately about our rest times and the retreating to rest in the father's presence that Jesus examples.
Alan Hirsch talks about how mission is the organising principle. Mark 1:35-38:
'Let us go somewhere else... so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'
Missional leaders need to be decisive and not distracted. Mark wonders whether issues in human sexuality might be one distraction from the church's missional impetus.
A Mission-shaped church statement which sounds like something Chris Wright would say, I'm not sure, Mark shares with us:
"It isn't the church of God that has a mission - it is the mission of God that has a church"
The culture and our way of speaking into it - we need patience; think about the mustard seed. The feeding of the five thousand reveals that Jesus can do a lot with a little.
It is okay to fail. We need to make judgment calls and close things that are not working before new things can grow.
We should expect joy - this is life-affirming and the stuff of adventure - hooray!
It is about ensuring we engage purposefully, discipleship - bring things out into the light, confront and deal with it (Matthew 18). It is hard to do this. Takes courage.
Intentionally share life with those who have been given to you in relationship under the kingdom. Spending time with people of peace is a part of being church and being missional.