I’ve been thinking again, about the need for us to, more deeply, acknowledge we are called to be a discipling movement. It appears we tend to polarise towards ‘mission’, or ‘church’, as if we can somehow separate what God has joined together. This often ends up in an either/or, whereas my Bible teaches me it’s a both/and. It’s one of the reasons we’ve abandoned the unhelpful mission and ministry distinction in describing our regional ministry roles, in WEBA, preferring ‘missional’, which embraces both wings. In individuals, this finds its expression in words like discipleship, character, integrity. In the community, we call church, this finds its expression in words like discipleship, values, authenticity. Hopefully, they amount to, pretty much, the same thing.
The creative tension, between ‘mission’ and ‘church’ is best found in discipleship. It’s fascinating to observe how people so easily polarise towards the extremes. Some of us find it exhilarating to be ‘out there’, on the adventure of mission, as opposed to ‘in there’, stuck in the darkened room, called ‘church’. On the other hand, we might find it lacking in common sense, not to mention throwing away the boundaries of appropriate disciplined living, to disregard the patterns and pathways, worn by the feet of pilgrims, over the centuries. We’d rather stay, thank you your kind, but adolescent invitation, within. Obviously, (I hope you realise!) this is a caricature, but with sufficient embedded truth to resonate with not a few of us, I guess.