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Sunday, February 22, 2009

v - inviting missional

The following is part five of a workshop I taught at the Presbyterian Global Fellowship (PGF) “Gearing Up” conference in Atlanta. The content and illustrations are from life at Good Shepherd, but I was trying to identify key transferable concepts, particularly for life in smaller churches (though I hope they would transfer into any context).

Transforming congregational identity goes hand in hand with transforming personal calling. I have used two phrases again and again over the past few years to try to awaken people to their calling. The first of those phrases is “personal ministry and personal mission.” The idea is that every member of the church has gifts, talents, interests, and a calling from God to be a missionary and a minister in some sphere unique to them. That may be work, school, the home, the neighborhood, or any number of settings. But mission and ministry won’t be something the church does well until it is something that individuals do well. We must “get it” personally before it takes off collectively.

The second way I’ve worked to invite personal ministry is with this two-part question: “What is God doing and how can I be a part?” Behind that question is the theological assumption that God IS doing something in the world, specifically acting to seek and save the lost. This question causes us to look for what God is doing and then join with God in ministry in the world.

I have tried to extend this invitation frequently and in different ways. One way was through a response card, which sets the identification of gifts, talents, and interests in the context of that “What is God doing and how can I be a part?” question. A few final questions also helped identify whether a person was called to existing ministries or new ones. One thing I also say frequently is that if someone feels called to use their gifts in ministry or mission that the church will do all we can to encourage, equip, support, and bless that calling.

The response card had the following on the back…
____ I already have a personal ministry/mission and would be willing to share about it in the newsletter to encourage others and witness to what God is doing.
____ I would like to be a part of what God is doing, but need some help getting “plugged in”
____ I am interested in developing a personal ministry/mission and have some ideas of what that might be.
Whether you are already engaged in personal ministry/mission or have some ideas of what that might look like, please describe briefly below. It does not matter if Good Shepherd is currently “doing” this ministry or not.

NEXT: repeating, reviewing, reminding, repeating missional

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