I have finalised my evangelism and mission reflection:
Reflect on an aspect of mission and evangelism related to your own experience and to which you feel drawn as part of your calling.
I am very fortunate to have been involved in many churches due to our moving house and area a lot. I have been able to be part of many evangelistic efforts and seeing how they suit the place and the people they are reaching out to. I have also been able to see how different churches fulfil their mission to the local community or wider world. Each place also has its own micro socio-climate. This has taught me that each place is unique having its own way of being and therefore it is vital for us to listen and discover before acting. Rather than create mission strategies and evangelistic events we can learn to be a part of where God is and what is happening with a people or a place and thus build-up, encourage and enable.
I have found that in places where people pray as individuals and as whole fellowships there is an attitude of discovery to find out what God is up to; an attitude that is open to new things and new ways in which God is beginning to work. The church and organisations have ‘survived’ change and though we can find it threatening and difficult we need to embrace change with strategy, communication, enthusiasm and humility being led by God.
I have recognised that I am not content to settle with an evangelistic strategy just because it is working ok or some people are happy with what they are doing. If I can see ways for it to open out and become more then I begin to ask God and others if they can see ways for what is happening to accomplish more, if needed. When we lived in Wells, Somerset a twice monthly children’s craft and bible story evening worked really well. I felt however that somehow the parents needed to be engaged and so we began to offer coffee before the end so parents could come back and have a coffee while the children had the story read to them. This helped when the next holiday club came round as many more families attended the church service which ended the week. It also began to allow a space where bridges could be built which encouraged the parents to feel they were part of what was happening in the church.
Similarly when living in Cranbrook, Kent I was very privileged to be ask to lead a Pilgrims group which consisted of mostly older ladies and a couple of men. They were described to me as the underpinning of the church a group that had met for eight years. Just as I took over they had experienced dramatic change as members of their very stable group either moved or had died. A wonderful curate who had led them through a very difficult period of the churches life was also moving to a permanent role in another church which I think they had not thought possible. I was asked to pray about taking leadership of this group or the group would close. After sometime of praying with no real guidance I felt the only way I could know was if God gave me direction for the group and the purpose for their being.
Instantly I felt that the group needed to know it was alive. It had and they had a role to play in Gods church. They were the ones who could show others what it meant to live out our lives in service to God, carrying our cross for love and wisdom of God to be known in our community. To be the group who were able though they were old to be there and encourage others as they work to be involved and be humble with the wisdom of life of their side.
We spent another amazing year, helping out with costumes for the Christmas nativity, lent meals, imagine a 94 year old making a huge pot of soup, it was so exciting and encouraging for us all. God was at work in our daily lives, through our prayers and in our studies we learnt so much that the Word came alive at each meeting spurring us on that we are never too old to share and learn, the Scriptures are exciting, funny, challenging and always new.
When I left I was not worried that the group would be fearful of change because they had grown in God that year to a point of being expectant with a deep sense of trust and knowing God is in control lets see what and where He is leading.