Mission Shaped Introduction
Jonathan Meintjes Reports on our Diocesan Clergy School at the beginning of July 2016
There is no substitute for traditional church structures and corporate worship. They play a fundamental part in the lives of the members for educational purposes as well as a way in which people express their love and devotion toward God through Jesus Christ. The problem is that while such structures and forms or worship are good for current members of the church they do not always appeal to others who are outside the body of Christ. Currently we are experiencing an exodus from the church, especially of young urbanised people who feel that traditional forms hold little or no appeal to them. Here lies a challenge for all of us concerned with the building of the Kingdom of God.
In the light of the above a movement was formed by Bishop Graham Cray in the United Kingdom. Now retired, Bishop Cray was the Bishop Missioner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. His vision included an ecumenical movement that would find new and fresh ways of conveying the Gospel to people who were not in the main line churches. Thus a movement was born called Fresh Expressions. The intent of this movement was to help Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation to find fresh expressions of doing “church” that would be inviting and available to people who were outside the traditional body of Christ.
As a consequence, Fresh Expressions in England have produced a couple of intensive training courses to equip people with the tools to begin to explore a fresh expression church in their area. The first course in the process is the MSI or Mission Shaped Introduction course, which was held as the annual clergy school, at Christ Church Cathedral in Polokwane at the end of June and beginning of July. Members of the clergy and laity spent two and a half days exploring creative ways to bring Jesus Christ to people within their communities without them having to be dragged into church.
The course is a summarised version of the year long Mission Shaped Ministry (MSM) course. The topics covered were:
- Rediscovering Mission
- Changing World: Changing Church
- Re-Imagining Church and
- Where do we go from here.
The final morning was convened by Bishop Martin as a report back and sharing session for the different archdeaconries.
The course was not only very interesting and full of new ideas of what we can do to bring the Gospel to the world out there, but it was also challenging in that each delegate and group was tasked with doing some in depth analysis of the situation in their particular neighbourhoods and what they could do to begin and sustain a fresh expression of ministry.