Just arrived at Sidmouth for Ministers Conference. Relieved to know my post for the Beyond 400 was uploaded OK. Modem still no-no at home. Thought it wise to post same article here, because we need these two words, 'missional movement' in this conversation. Therefore, any comments are best posted there. Here goes .....
‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’. (Albert Einstein).
‘Beyond 400’ - backwards! (Simon voice 6)
…. after the prayer George of the House of Jakob arose and entreated Conrad Grebel for God’s sake to baptise him with the right Christian baptism upon the confession of his faith. And as he kneeled down with his request and desire, Conrad baptised him, since at that time there was no ordained minister to perform such work.’
The event, in 1525, has been described as the ‘most revolutionary act of the Reformation’ Conrad Grebel, founder of the Swiss Brethren, ignited a fresh wave of Anabaptist movement. The genius of our own movement is in its design:
No one ‘planned’ BUGB 400 years ago.
The ‘movement’ began by catching a virus, released 2000 years ago. Let us draw from the rich ‘nutrients’ (Juliet voice 2)
Back to Jesus. Let us make no mistake, whilst we all recognise the need, we now also have the opportunity (some call it crisis) for UK (yes) Baptists, to re-calibrate their lives and life together, around Jesus. (Rowena voice 3) Let us ‘fix our eyes upon Jesus’.
Where my imagination then brings me to is to a junction. At this crossroads there is a sign - ‘missional movement’.
The sign might just as well be in a foreign language. After all, what does ‘missional’ mean? Surely ‘mission’ served us well enough, (although no one seemed to agree on what that meant either!) ‘Movement’ – can any movement, which has morphed over the hill into the landscape of institutionalism, ever be re-ignited?
So what? Well, in my case, I think about it. I read my bible. I read. I ask God for direction (another ‘sign’ please because I don’t fully understand this one and I’d like to know where I’m going!). I’ve done …. nothing.
It’s very frustrating. I don't get the answers I’d like. In fact I hardly get any clear description of our destination, apart from the road itself, the journey …. one great adventure.
It is an adventure worth living. Funny, I don't seem to have heard that word in church for a long time. Jesus invites us to adventure, which costs everything, but we seem to be stuck by something he told us not to serve (money). (Peter voice 1)
It’s a journey designed by the great designer Himself. ‘Come follow me’: simple, but all embracing. Our forebears caught it from Him, doing things, like baptising people, who wanted to follow Jesus, in-spite of PC world.
It’s risky. (Carmel voice 5) This word, a rare find in the church, is already in this conversation – hey maybe we have to do some of it, if we’re to move anywhere?
It’s relational. It’s about people. What is more, it’s about all of them who want to come along. The pioneers, inevitably at the front, seem to actually be talking with the others. Even though people are wearing funny hats, somebody’s insisted they wear, with words on them like: ‘apostle’, ‘prophet’, ‘evangelist’, ‘pastor’, ‘teacher’, they’re giving them out to everybody.
It’s surprising. I’m surprised who’s on it and how they got there. I discover many of those pioneering types are actually ‘ordinary’ church members – gosh who thought of that one! And how on earth did those liberals start this adventure? It feels a bit heavenly and looks like Liverpool supporters on Wembley way! I’m enjoying it.
It’s engaging. Blow me. What Chris Duffett (voice 4) put his finger on, is actually happening. These people, these ‘ordinary’ people are talking to new people they’re meeting on the way. They’re not just talking though, they’re expressing attitudes and doing stuff, which is resulting in loads more people getting in on this great big adventure.
I’ve now gone down this road just a little way, but enough to offer my life to seeing more of it happen, but someone’s just caught up with me and told me, they’ve changed the sign! What a nerve! It doesn't say ‘missional movement’ anymore. Apparently, people didn't understand it and many of them didn't like calling it that. They’ve painted over it and decided to call it ‘beyond 400’.