Making The Shift Toward God’s Mission

Mark Tidsworth, President, PLA

I’m in the middle of a Making The Shift Training with a group of pastors at a Spirituality Center near Cincinnati, OH. While here, we are looking at this diagram again, drawn by David Hayward (having purchased use). During each Shift event we post this picture on the screen and then invite interpretations. Honestly, this diagram could be the official poster of the Missional Church Movement, were it such a thing. Every time we do this activity, I’m moved by the “aha” moments and insightful observations. Here are a few statements collected over time about the second image. It’s hard to communicate the meaning and intent of these statements apart from the event context, yet I want to risk offering these with hopes it will stir our holy imaginations. 

God is moving in the world

God is bigger than we thought

We can’t contain nor constrain God

God was, even before the Church was

God’s mission is to save, renew, and reconcile the entire world

The Church has an important place in God’s movement, right in the center

Remarkably, God includes us in God’s mission

God will complete the mission, while inviting every church participate

God is present everywhere

God calls us to join God’s activity in this world

We can’t expect people to come to us (to church), we have to go to them

And, we could go on. And, I hope we do go on. The Church was never meant to be the stopping point in this Christian journey. Instead it’s a primary instrument of God’s ongoing renewal of all creation.

One more quote from Making The Shift Training:

“It is not the church of God that has a mission. It’s the God of mission that has a church.”

-Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (Retired)

So, we don’t own the Christian mission. God was at it before we ever came along and will complete God’s mission in due time. During this in-between-time, our calling it to participate. May we more vigorously join God’s active makeover of planet earth this day.

Mark Tidsworth, President, PLA