“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples” – Mother Theresa
Why is it that some communities are effective in their mission and others seem to constantly struggle?
In his book “Evangelism in a Skeptical World”, Sydney theologian Sam Chan makes the following observation about western people; most westerners are closed in their hearts to the gospel because they think they already know about the Gospel.
So how is the heart opened so that the gospel can inform and transform someone’s life?
Chan points out that to work evangelistically in a skeptical world one needs to begin with relationships; a sense of belonging, can lead to a change of behaviour, which can lead to a realisation that ‘I believe’.
It all begins with a sense of belonging.
As a Lutheran Church, we are incredibly blessed with communities of people to whom we, by virtue of our institution, have a natural point of connection to build a sense of belonging – Lutheran Schools, Lutheran Aged Care and other points of connection provided by Lutheran Services, Lutheran Early Learning Centres, etc. These are places for us to live in mission. These are places where ripples of belonging can be created. These are places where change can occur.
But how does that happen?
It happens as we choose to live our lives within those entities… choosing to be vulnerable, and honest, and engaging, and fully present, and people of influence, living our personal faith publicly in the lives of the people present.
But it does not need to just happen within those communities. It can happen in every community; work place, sporting club and family. It happens as we see ourselves living our personal faith publicly, confident in who we are in Christ.
Into what community has God invited you to live your personal faith publicly?
- What are the mission fields around your church community, around where you live?
- What are your thoughts on Sam Chan’s observation about ‘western’ hearts being closed to the gospel because they think that they already know the Gospel?
- What might be their perspective of the gospel?
- What are two things that could help change that perspective?
- A congregation asked their Lutheran school staff: ‘How can we support you?’ and the staff responded ‘Just love us.’ What are some ways you can share God’s love with our mission agencies?
- What does “living our personal faith publicly” mean to you?
- What might that look like to you?
Pastor David Schmidt is Director of the LCAQD Ministry and Mission Department.