Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Report to the Presbytery September 22, 2015

Do Mission.
In a moment Kim is going to report for our Mission Committee. Please join us in work we are doing in partnership with Presbyterian World Mission in support of the Presbyterian Church in Honduras. All of our congregations do mission, reaching out beyond the members of the congregation into the local community and around the world. Mission is a key aspect of our identity together in Christ. Mission is an important part of who we. We are reminded of this in the first chapter of the Form of Government of our Book of Order:

“The congregation reaches out to people, communities, and the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to gather for worship, and to offer care and nurture to God’s children, to speak for social justice and righteousness, and to bear witness to the truth and to the reign that is coming to the world.”

I encourage each congregation, especially as you prepare your budgets and build stewardship efforts, to intentionally evaluate and review your mission. I want to encourage these principles as you do mission:

Do mission in partnership: Your mission work should never simply be writing checks and giving away money. Build partnerships and relationships with people. Presbyterian World Mission has created abundant ways for us to stay in personal relationship with our mission co-workers. You should know the world mission co-workers you support by name. Many, if not most, of our congregations participate generously in local mission through food pantries and local social service ministries. We may gather thousands of dollars’ worth of groceries to give away, but do we build relationships with the people and the families that receive this generosity? We need to be careful to do mission. It is very easy to support patterns of dependency motivated by pity, which make us feel good but do not build relationships and do not inspire or transform people in Christ.

Balance local and global: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” We have an opportunity to do mission around the world through Presbyterian World Mission. There is also work to do in our own communities. We have a clear, unambiguous calling from the Lord to go to all the world. We have a clear, unambiguous conviction that the whole world belongs to God. We need to have a balance in our mission work between local and global. We need to educate ourselves and participate in the work of the Church in our neighborhoods and all around the world.

Balance a response to poverty, evangelism and reconciliation: These three – responding to poverty, evangelism and reconciliation have been identified by World Mission as our critical issues. In our congregations, we seem to have an affinity for responding to poverty. Many of congregations have active local mission work to the poor in our communities. But what about the mission of evangelism, sharing the name of Jesus? What about the mission of reconciliation, bringing people together across barriers of cultural, social and racial differences? We need in our mission work to seek a balance between alleviating poverty, the work of evangelism and the work of reconciliation. These three are the guiding principles of Presbyterian World Mission, and may also be guiding principles for our congregations.

Connect with the larger Church: Consider the larger church as part of your mission work.  You have the opportunity to participate in and support the ministry and mission of many other congregations through your support of the Presbytery. A number of our churches are now naming the Presbytery as a Designated Mission, and providing specific, designated support to the work of the Presbytery. This is a growing line item in our proposed Budget. Theologically, it is important to consider support for and connection with the larger church as part of your congregation’s mission.

This is part of Presbyterian World Mission’s organizing statement: “As Christians, we understand "Mission" to be God's work for the sake of the world God loves. We understand this work to be centered in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and made real through the active and leading power of the Holy Spirit. The "where" and "how" and "with whom" of mission is of God's initiative, sovereign action, and redeeming grace. The message we are called to bear is the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.” Let us do mission together in the name of Jesus. Amen!