What ministry are you doing right now, this week, each day?
That is the question asked by Already Missional: Congregations as Community Partners by United Church minister Rev. Dr. Brad Morrison.
A few months ago I attended a webinar Brad led as he was working on this book and found his thesis intriguing. And then once the book came out a group of clergy on Facebook decided to have a study of it together. So while I was going to wait and read it on my Sabbatical I started it earlier than planned.
I finished it this morning and am quite impressed with what I found. I am thinking that it would be a great book for Council to read and talk about or maybe for a book study in the fall involving folk not currently on Council (or possibly both?).
The book is a new take on how we as a congregation live out God's mission in the world. Normally when that discussion comes up it focuses on the congregation creating some new (or revitalizing an old) program to help us get out there and become active in the community. Which is a great idea – on the surface. But in the end many of those programs just don't happen, for a variety of reasons.
At the same time people of faith are living their lives and doing what they do. Hopefully those lives are impacted and informed by their faith, rooted in how they have come to understand God and God's hope for the world. Where in those lives are they doing ministry? Where in those activities are they participating in God's mission?
In short, rather than create new opportunities for mission, can we celebrate and support the ways we are already missional?
And so I ask again, what ministry are you doing right now? Or maybe that should say what ministries.
Maybe it is parenting. Maybe it is helping people run errands. Maybe delivering meals for Meals-On-Wheels. Maybe you are helping connect people around a common cause to create a better community. The options of how we can be, and are, already participating in God's mission in the world are Legion.
Then comes the next key question.
Assuming that people are already participating in God's mission in ways big and small in their daily lives, how can the church support you in that?
It is my experience that many United Church people are VERY active in their local community. Sometimes we recognize this as ministry, often we don't. What might it mean if we started to see these things as ministry? How might it change our attitude to what we do? How might it change our understanding of how we, the congregation of St. Paul's United, are a part of the community of Grande Prairie? How might it change how we see ourselves as the church?
I look forward to continuing this discussion in the fall.