Global Week continued

Readings for this week September 9 – 13
Click here for a pdf of this week’s reading

Day 1 – Our Different Mission Labels

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Mark 16:15

Why do we divide up ‘mission’? Why is there local mission, global mission, overseas mission, urban mission, etc.? Why do we have these different descriptors for the one activity of God? Why use the term global mission? Well, firstly, it reminds us that God’s love is for all people, all across the globe, no matter who they are, where they are, what nation, culture, religion or group they belong to or identify with. Every human being is the object of God’s love and so every human being is to be offered the chance to accept that love by encountering it through us.

Secondly, the label contains the truth of the tightly knit interconnections that now bind the far-flung corners of the globe together. Transport and telecommunications technologies now let us know about, connect with and get to people and places far easier and more immediately than before. They allow what happens in one – or many – place in the world to have far greater impact on many – or all – other parts of the world at a faster pace than previously. Economic interconnection, biological disaster, environmental despoliation – global mission reminds us of the greater connections, both positive and negative, that our modern globe-spanning village now has. Both points remind us that in our everyday lives as God’s servants, we need to look up, look around, and take a wider perspective on where we are and what we are doing, to account for our actions’ impact on those near us and also far from us, and to make sure that there is no one, no group, no place, that is excluded from God’s gracious love.

Questions to Consider
What does Global Mission mean to you? What strikes you about the term?

Prayer
Loving Father, I am part of a global family that you love and are Lord over. Help me always keep in mind my brothers and sisters in this human family as I seek to share your gracious love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Global Mission Needs Local Mission

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 28:16-20

Local missions, global missions; the needs on our own doorstep versus the obvious suffering of the wider world. How do we balance the two? This isn’t a new discussion. But here are some thoughts from Pastor and author David Mathis as we reflect on what God calls us to:

A healthy and productive home church, one that is engaged in a desire to see its local area transformed, sets up a great platform for sending people to other nations. It gives a needed credibility to both the message and the messengers. An established credibility speaks to the unreached people we seek to serve and also boosts the confidence and dreams of those who go. We know the difference Jesus makes in our community and we long to offer this to your community.

Local mission provides resources for global mission. Winning people to Christ, discipling and training them is essential to inspiring a new generation of missionaries willing to be sent. Both financial and personnel resources begin with healthy local mission.

Training and Experience. Good principles and theology learnt at home will prove invaluable when heading overseas. Issues of faith and practice wrestled within your own environment help the process of contextualising the gospel in a new culture and setting.

Questions to Consider
How might understanding my own ‘culture’ help in dealing with a different culture? Do I even recognise the challenges of my own culture?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, Thank you that you are not an either/or God but so often a both/and God, making room for all people, multiple gifts, and endless opportunities, wherever they are, however they serve. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Local Mission Needs Global MIssion

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 1:1-8

Authenticity counts. If the message of Jesus is good news worthy of taking global, it authenticates the message of our local work. The gospel is not just for us, our city, our culture, but is good news for people everywhere. In other words, Jesus is not a local deity. God’s unparalleled glory and honour is revealed in the praise and worship of every tribe, every tongue, every people; he is the hope of all the nations. It is this God, Creator and Redeemer that we call people to know in local mission, not just the God of our small locality. Global mission endorses that we have something worth exporting.

Expanding our perspective. Sending churches not only offer help, but need help. We need to recognise the wisdom learnt by those who have wrestled with taking the gospel across cultures. It is all too easy to develop blind spots within our own culture. We need to listen to our missionaries and accept their help in evaluating and reforming our own local ministry practices. In an increasing Post-Christian Western culture local mission can learn from the perspective global mission provides. ‘Acquiescing to “That’s not the way we’ve always done it” will signal decline in our churches, but “I think there’s something we can learn here” is the sound of doors being opened to new possibilities for gospel flourishing’ -D Mathis.

Global is the confirmation of Local. Having a heart for and sending people cross-culturally is the flourishing of local work. It is a sign of healthy maturity. It does not at all mean the work at home is done, but it does point to a healthy outward focus and concern for the other. Conversely, a lack of interest in reaching beyond our borders signals an insular, blinkered or even sick church culture. The gospel is too large to be hoarded; it demands a hearing in every corner of our neighbourhoods and to every people group on the planet.

Questions to Consider
Is there tension between local and global mission? Is there a danger in letting a focus on one be a cop-out of ignoring the other? How do we avoid this?

Prayer
Loving Father, teach us to truly value the good news that is for all people. Help us be open to learn from others, and be quick to respond to your promptings. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Social Justice or Evangelism? Or Just Plain Love?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Micah 6:8

“The church has been addressing matters of mission and justice ever since Pentecost….But having witnessed the many horrors of the 20th century, [John] Stott also wrestled with the question of evangelism and social action. And what he concluded has much to say to us in the 21st century. In short, Stott believed both sides of the controversy were in error.

In Christian Mission in the Modern World (IVP, 1975), Stott argues that most people try to make social justice either superior or subordinate to evangelism. The superior position diminishes the importance of calling people to be reconciled to God through Christ—something Stott found utterly incongruent with the New Testament. The subordinate position, however, he saw as equally untenable. It made social action into a PR device; a way to win favour in order to lead to conversions, a mere means to an end. Stott wrote: “In its most blatant form this makes social work the sugar on the pill, the bait on the hook, while in its best forms it gives the gospel credibility it would otherwise lack. In either case the smell of hypocrisy hangs round our philanthropy.”

Stott recognized that forcing every facet of the Christian life to fit into a mission/evangelism framework was untenable, and asking whether evangelism or justice is more important was to miss the point entirely. Instead he concluded that social justice and evangelism “belong to each other and yet are independent of each other. Each stands on its own feet in its own right alongside the other. Neither is a means to the other, or even a manifestation of the other. For each is an end in itself.”

Therefore, according to Stott, our participation in social action is not fueled by a missional imperative, evangelistic pragmatism, or even theological certitude, “but rather simple, uncomplicated compassion. Love has no need to justify itself.””

Adapted from “Love Needs No Justification,” by Skye Jethani, Christianity Today.

Questions to Consider
How do you see the connection between salvation and social justice? What happens when we unbalance the two?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help us serve others with great love, whatever the circumstances. All people are created in your image; may we image your love to us to everyone we meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – Reflection on Global Mission

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Hebrews 13:20-21

What has God been saying to you over the period of Global Week this year? What will you do about it?

How is what you do missionally in your local context connected to what God is doing globally?

Of the work South West Baptist Church is involved in globally, and of the people – workers, missionaries and otherwise – that we are supporting and partnering with overseas, who and what are you connected with? Who and what are you actively supporting? How?

What change will you make this year to more deeply connect with God’s global mission?

How has God been bringing your daily life and work more in line with his mission to the world?

How is your daily life in your neighbourhood lived in solidarity with the global poor?

What could you do to show greater solidarity with the poor of the world?

How will you contribute to the global work of South West Baptist Church over the next twelve months?

Prayer
Sovereign Lord, make me an ambassador of your love to the whole world. You have a plan for me and a place for me, and wherever that place is and whatever your plan for my life involves, may my life be one lived in the service of your kingdom, for the benefit of the poor, lost and alone. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)