From the Pastor’s Pen: Mission

At the last Churchwide Assembly the ELCA voted for a document called “Living Into the Future Together” (or LIFT for short). One of the things agreed upon by that assembly was that every Lutheran church would put together a mission plan and submit it to the national church by 2013.

In order to start people thinking about mission, and creating a mission plan, I asked the church council two questions:

1. What concrete Christian actions are your committee doing?

2. What are similar things you could do?

Imbedded within these questions is a larger question—What are Christian actions?

There are two places in the Bible that Christians often look at in order to answer this question, Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandment, and Matthew 28:16-20, the great commission. In the first, Jesus affirms that the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbor as self. In the second, Jesus tells his disciples to go, make disciples, baptize them, and teach them.

So, one way to think about concrete Christian actions is to ask how the action fulfills Christ’s commandment or commission. In other words, does this action lead to teaching, baptizing, making a disciple, going, loving our neighbor as ourselves, or loving God?

As we move from the first question about what we are already doing to the second about other things we could be doing, it is worth being a little imaginative, maybe even dreaming a little.

It is worth asking: What skills and possessions do we have that could make for a new ministry of the church? What relationships do we have that could turn into partnerships for the sake of the Gospel? What ministries are already going on in the wider church that we should get involved in? What are the needs of our neighbors? What new things are God calling us to do in this time and this place?

And so I ask the whole church the same question I asked the council—what Christian things are we doing, what Christian things could we be doing?


Pastor Chris