This is the second blog in a short series exploring what the elders believe God is saying to the church at the moment. A few days ago Steve wrote about faith for growth. Having had the privilege of sitting with the elders recently, I'm looking at how we can engage with the Summer of Mission 2018 because (unlike the Blues Brothers) we really are on a mission from God!
What comes to mind when you think about mission? Moving overseas? Crowds listening to a speaker in a stadium? Or your neighbour who you talk to about Jesus from time to time?
A mission is something you are sent on, and while it can take many different forms, we all share a common one: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
Most of us will be engaged in "everyday mission" - taking the Good News about Jesus to the people we live with, work with, or otherwise rub shoulders with. So what's all this talk about a "Summer of Mission" then?
Firstly, it is a chance to start or lend extra momentum to missional projects that are already running, and will continue to run after summer 2018. This might be launching a holiday club to support ongoing mission in a school, where the relationships built or the seeds sown can be followed up throughout the rest of the school year; it might be travelling abroad to encourage and assist overseas workers in their mission where they live, enabling them to tackle bigger projects, or simply supporting them in what can be a difficult pattern of life. Injections of additional life and energy can make all the difference in seeing the longer-term endeavours producing fruit.
Secondly, it gives us an opportunity to experience first-hand different expressions of mission, out of which God may well speak! As a student, I spent my year abroad serving in a French church, and fifteen years on I am still involved with our French-speaking Salt & Light churches. This happened because of seed sown during two week-long trips out there, led by the student team, in which time I realised the great need of the French church, and grew in love for them. Even if there is no longer-term involvement, supporting others in what they're doing grows our heart for people and our appreciation for what God is doing in all kinds of people, in all kinds of places.
So how are you going to be involved? We've selected five of our activities here at OCC that we want to support through the Summer - take a look and see which one you could get stuck in with:
- Holiday clubs at Tyndale Community School and in Bicester
- The Twywn church camp, supporting Crispin and Chloe, who planted out from Oxford a few years ago
- The Turning week, building on last year's success and the ongoing monthly street outreach
- A visit to Macedonia, supporting Cassie-Sioux and Kristjan in their work
Have a think and a pray, then let us know what you're up for doing at http://saltlight.org/som2018.
If you've worked out which of those you're doing, and still have a taste for more, there's another sixteen trips you can join in with, drawn from Churches across our "sphere". From Malawi to Nepal, there are all kinds of destinations and activities. You can find all the options in our short "Summer of Mission" booklet, which is available from the Church Office or the Sunday welcome desk. Again, to know more and register interest, the link is http://saltlight.org/som2018.
So get planning - what adventure will you go on next Summer?