Now we come to the last (No. 8) of the foundational principles of mission, in which we recognize that changing the culture (the collective perspective and traditions) of our congregation takes time. But every step taken in the direction toward mission will help.
Let’s review what mission looks like in a congregation: It begins with encountering God’s Spirit (No. 1) through spiritual practices that focus on listening for spiritual guidance; the congregation is willing to be disrupted (No. 4) and risk something new (No. 5), in order to move out into the specific context (neighborhood – No. 6) of the congregation to build relationships (No. 3) using the unique gifts and callings of the congregation’s members (No. 7).
Why do we do this? Because we are followers of Jesus, who called us (for example in Luke 4:18-19 – No. 2) to make a positive difference in our communities, bringing Christ’s mission of peace and justice into situations of suffering. D&C 163:3a-b advises, “You are called to create pathways in the world for peace…. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God.” And D&C 163: 4a: “God, the Eternal creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering.”
So begin with spiritual encounter with God’s Spirit. Spiritual practices such as Dwelling in the Word and Centering Prayer (described in earlier posts) provide the foundation of mission. If we are connected with the Spirit, we open the door to being guided by the Spirit.
For this week, return to Dwelling in the Word, using one of the scriptures above. Read the scripture 2-3 times with pauses in between to listen for the Spirit’s guidance as it brings to our awareness new possibilities of mission.
*Leading Mission Tips come from Michigan Mission Center materials