Joined up thinking

Sunday, 18 October, 2009

Graham Cray's monthly e-xpressions column.

Its time to show we believe in the whole mixed economy church and not just our part in it. People involved in inherited forms of church sometimes complain that all the emphasis is on fresh expressions of church. While the fresh expressions people tend to complain that all the resources are allocated to inherited church. Isn't it time for some more joined up thinking, which first asks questions like 'To whom do we owe the gospel?' - 'Where around here is God's Kingdom most needed?' – 'Who could we never reach just by doing church the way we do now?'

Questions like that will give us more possibilities than we have resources – so we will need to listen to God together, and discern where he is calling us, or is at work ahead of us. There is no way of avoiding the task of local discernment if we are to join in God's mission.

But once we believe we have heard God, we all need to be committed to all of it: praying for and supporting both the inherited ministry and the fresh expressions of church. If this is to be more than token we all need to take responsibility to ensure that there is an appropriate sharing of limited resources across the different aspects of the work. This applies at every level of the church – the local congregation, the deanery or circuit, and the district or diocese. It is particularly important that those who are directly involved in ministry and mission and those who allocate resources and manage finances, are all working with the same priorities.

We are a mixed economy church, just as the New Testament church, which engaged with Jews and Gentiles, was a mixed-economy church – all baptised into the one body. When one part was in need the whole body suffered. When one part was blessed the whole body rejoiced. The weakest was treated with the greatest concern, and so on. Let that be a picture of the mixed economy church in practice.

+Graham Cray


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