Christianity Church of England & Ministry Mission & Evangelism

What is Mission not?

southwark_cathedralWhat is Mission Not? // Day 19 // #Write31Days

So, here’s the thing, mission is not about ‘bums on seats’, it’s about bums in the kingdom… We really should not, and perhaps cannot, judge how well missional activities are doing by how many people then come to our Sunday morning services. There’s a whole ‘nother post there about the future of church not being Sunday morning, but for now I shall restrain myself! For many, as I have written before, stepping over the threshold of a church is an absolute barrier as big as a brick wall. So when we are reaching out, we have to do it with the intention of sharing Jesus and aiming to make disciples, at their pace and not trying to shoehorn them through the front door.

This then makes for interesting thinking when we consider church statistics. It seems that these are still counted largely on those who attend the main services which is inherently flawed. What about those on the fringe, in our community cafe, or toddler mornings or chat groups, what about those who attend Alpha and other course but can’t quite make it to the church building. What is the point of having numbers telling us how many people come to our church building ay one particular time? because those are the figures that seem to show decline. However, look at the projects churches run and you often get a bigger picture. I met a woman yesterday who faithfully attends the toddler group at her local church and it has been a lifeline for her. Yesterday she then came to a new informal service the church put on, with her toddler. As far as I know she is on the very edge of the church and yet it is reaching her, helping her, and to some extent beginning to disciple her.

annecdote_coverin 2014 a report came out called From Anecdote to Evidence, from the people at ‘Church Growth Research‘ and for those involved in mission you will have seen it, but if not, I wanted to give it a mention as it is really rather good, looking at church growth and what’s working, what isn’t. There’s also lots in there about Fresh Expressions of Church which I am big fan of (working for one helps!) which are generally by their nature missional. What is key is that people are willing to change, and that has to be something we focus on in the future of mission and church.


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  • Reply
    Pam Smith
    October 19, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Yes, this! 😀

    Trouble is, however much we (the church) say that Sunday morning attendance isn’t the be-all and end-all, it’s still the basis on which many funding decisions are made and by which ministerial effectiveness is judged.

    I think we just have to keep on with all the ‘fringe’ activities that don’t limit access to the kingdom to those who attend ‘proper’ church, and trust God to know what he’s doing. Not an easy call, actually, but a necessary course of action if we want the faith to be kept alive.

    • Reply
      October 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Pam!
      Yes It’s a tough one and obviously not as simple as all that but so frustrating at times! I’d like to see more funding for the fringe stuff with less strings… Thankfully there are some of us on that wavelength who keep banging on about it! Small steps… 🙂

      Will you be at the digital conference this year? be nice to say hi!
      Jules 🙂

      • Reply
        Pam Smith
        October 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Yes, I will – I’m hopeless at recognising people though so we must make an arrangement to meet, I can easily go to something like that where I know lots of people from online contacts and end up not speaking to any of them :-/

        • Reply
          October 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm

          ha me too! How about lunchtime in the little side room off the coffee area? A few of us met there last year – I think you were there too?

          • Pam Smith
            October 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm

            That sounds great. I wasn’t there last year – I think it clashed with something else. I was there the year before, the first at that venue, and I was exhausted before I got there because I was wandering around for ages in an adjacent street looking for it!

          • Jules
            October 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

            Ah maybe was the year before. Yes nightmare to get to!

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