Estates practitioner and priest, Joe Hasler offers some thoughts around training local people for God’s mission in extracts from his poem below. The whole reflection can be downloaded at the end of this post.
Apostolic means ‘Go to’
or ‘being sent’.
An Apostle meaning
‘one sent on a mission’.
- We have had the decade for evangelism,
- a pre-occupation with leadership,
- and now the emphasis on discipleship.
I hope this means
the direction is getting closer
to the people on the ground.
An important message I have heard in all this is,
“Do we want a ‘Come to’ church
or a ‘Go to’ church.”
Is it desirable to move from maintenance to mission?
So how do the trainers
and their institutions
model God’s mission
in the way we do training?
We have been trying to address these issues in the Northern Ark Mission Initiative in North Bristol.
The pilot period has come to the end of its initial three years.
Some things could have been done better
but we ask
‘Why do people from local council built housing estate congregations in Bristol come forward into growing ministry teams?”
38 people from 4 out of 6 parishes have stepped out so far;
with some to become licensed readers (6),
and some to become ordained priests (3).
Making ministry training
in a mission model
must be one of the driving forces.
But for all the things
we might have done better
here are four things we did well.
- Take the training to the people.
- Go in twos. (THE INTERVENTIONISTS)
- Forming learning communities in the culture.
- Practise what we want to preach.
The experience is that the trainers model a ‘go to’ approach
and learning is integrated
with activity in mission.
and the end
is in becoming a more self-sufficient congregation
that is more dependent on God.
Indigenous is not isolationist.
It is making a stronger contribution to a bigger whole.
But local interventions
can bring the confidence
to let this, happen.
I think this is mainly
because the trainers,
no matter how good they are,
The result is of a local congregation that naturally goes to the wider world and church.
This is what has been modelled in their training.
(More information about the initiative can be found at www.joehasler.co.uk then find other stuff and click on drop down menu for northern ark publications.)
To download the whole reflection click Apostolic Training for Ministry and New Pathways