Yesterday I had a great day at Following the Missionary Spirit.
Great because it was good to catch up with friends I have not seen in a little while, great because it is always energising to be in a room with lots of other people that are passionate about mission and see opportunities rather than barriers, and great because , as always, Archbishop Rowan imparted real pearls of wisdom.
There was simply loads packed into this day.
Some words that hit me:
‘we need to go further to stay where we need to be’ Martyn Atkins
‘we need to remember we work from a place of powerlessness’ Annie Kirke
‘the key to the future with fresh expressions is understanding what we have been given for the journey’ Bishop Graham Cray
and there was so much more …. but…
In particular I was challenged by Archbishops Rowan’s words on belonging. He challenged us to think why church should be of interest to people. We, church, should be interesting because the church speaks of the possibility of belonging. In the gospels. he reminded us, Jesus reaches out to those who think that they do not belong, and he taps them on the shoulder, causing them to turn around (repent) and realise that they do belong.
My whole current ministry, every incarnation of it that I can think of, is spent with people who tell me that they do not belong. Many of them think they are not good enough to belong anywhere.
Our role, my role as a missioner, is to remind such people that there is a place of belonging for them. That place is church, maybe not church that you or I recognise, but that is why my role is to create … and that’s quite exciting!
I left the day with a renewed commitment to take up the challenge …. to be with those who feel they don’t belong (that’s the easy bit) and show them that they do!