Monday, November 19, 2012

shiftm2M wrap-up

After a year of walking through the life of Jesus with other leaders over four retreats in a house in the blue mountains, I've been able to name three awesome outcomes.

1. Shiftm2M has given the YMA leadership team an excellent springboard to re-envision ourselves.  Thanks to shift we're in a great space for having some vision conversations with our networks in 2013.

2. I've regained confidence in the material.  After growing up on the material that Shift uses, I would say that I've become somewhat "overacquainted" with it, and have lived in the suspicion that it tends to reduce the life of Jesus to a formulaic process.  I'm glad to say that the manner in which Shift happens allows people to go deep into the gospels, while still providing practical tools for movement-building.

3. The relationships built over the year have been paramount to my development as a leader in 2012.  The insights, counsel, and practice of God's presence amongst others has been formative in my own journey.

These immediate observations are a drop in the bucket when I begin to think about all the observations and discoveries made, but I'm grateful for them none the less.

Friday, November 16, 2012


It's how she begins talking with him.


Not in a pretentious manner, but with uncomplicated humility.

Her address carried the rich sound of familiarity. Closeness. Intimacy.

She stood behind the man who was faced with the uncertainty of surgery. And we bowed low with our hands laid on him.

She prayed.


And it was if the Spirit of God swum into the room and hovered over us as she carried our brother before our Father with her words. Words of clarity and healing. Personable. Hospitable. Theological. Deeply pastoral. Simple. Restorative.

After a year of journeying through the life of Jesus, it was in the closing moments of our final retreat where I experienced the heart of Jesus more fully than ever before.

Because a servant of God drew on a deep well of relationship with her Papa to usher restoration into the brokenness before her. Like Jesus did.

"I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them." (John 17:26)

Monday, November 5, 2012

defining mission

"Mission is the practical expression, whether by speech or by action, of the glorious lordship of Jesus.  It is where we get to create little foretastes of of the kingdom of Jesus, which has come and is still yet to fully come.  If in that kingdom-to-come there will be no unbelief, then the church's mission is to create such a foretaste by commending belief to all.  If in the kingdom-to-come there will be no injustice, the church's mission will be to work to eliminate injustice here and now.  If in the kingdom-to-come there is no grief, no mourning, no suffering, the church's mission is to overcome such things today.  Mission, then, is an expression of worship, for it too involves offering our world back to God." (p164,5 The Faith of Leap - Frost & Hirsch)

There is no doubt that "becoming missional" is a topical desire and discussion in the context of local church.  In light of the risk and reality of this discussion falling into the overflowing waste paper basket of church fads, concrete outcomes of this discussion are desperately needed.

This year I have found myself around the leadership table in my own local church context, and "becoming missional" has been the dominant flavour of conversation.  Now we are faced with the need for tangible expression and vision casting - and the need to define what we mean by mission.  Simply.  Biblically.  Transferably.

After a long journey in thinking through the theology of God's mission, and some inspiration from the above quote (and others), I've landed on something I hope might equip our people well ...  

"mission is any activity (in word or deed) which reflects the heart of God to people"

My hope is that this might help us discern how God is already working around us,  broaden our imagination of what missional activity looks like, and will cause our activity to meaningfully intersect with the desperate brokenness of our world.