A Movement for Mission
It was out of a passion to exalt Jesus and engage in his mission that lead the early pioneering leaders of Churches of Christ to seek a restoration approach to church life. A divided church was seen as a stumbling block to the watching world. The early plea of this restoration movement was for a united church focused on mission, following on from the prayer of Jesus in John chapter 17. This same key principle motivates us today - to place mission as the forerunner of expressions of being church.
It takes the right DNA to produce a church which has at its core an understanding and value of being missional. With the continuing demise of a culture that focused for hundreds of years on a broad Christian value base (Christendom), into a time of cultural transformation (post-modernity), church expressions need to adapt to continue to express the good news of Jesus as a communities of trust and grace. This DNA of placing mission at the heart of being church is being expressed within new church plants as well as revitalising established congregations. It is a ‘both-and’ approach with intentional relational partnerships to enable both kinds of church to fulfill mission within the neighbourhoods in which they exist.
One cannot have mission-shaped churches without mission-shaped leadership. Therefore the DNA of missional leaders is also essential. A significant commitment to life-long learning with an intentional relationship with Springdale College: Together in Mission (www.springdalecollege.org.uk) enables all leaders to not only access the best thinking and practices, but to share together in the journey of discovery in our new and changing cultural situation. One key expression of this is a commitment to exploring appropriate expressions of five-fold leadership as expressed in Ephesians chapter 4. This is further enhanced by a commitment to partnering together on this journey, with openess, vulnerability and integrity.
Following God in His Mission in the World
God himself is the great missionary, sending his son Jesus into our world. We are privileged to join with him in being sent out by his spirit as his followers and ambassadors to the new life that he offers. In a world of multi-faiths and multi-journeys of life, where all are seen to be equal, we are able to express the good news story of Jesus as we serve, love and seek to demonstrate in open communities of love, faith and grace that the story of Jesus is still good news and this story is more than mere religious words and expressions, but encompasses the whole of life.