Kirk Franklin (Executive Director-elect for Wycliffe Bible Translators International) shared a future-looking Vision 2025 presentation this morning. I found it engaging and inspiring.
Kirk focused on the importance of defining MISSION -- pointing us to Chris Wright who defines MISSIONS as the "committed participation of God's people in the purposes of God for the redemption of the whole of creation."
From there, Kirk listed and discussed briefly the realities of mission. I'll list the main points (outline headings, really) and make a comment or two about some of them at least. Maybe all. No promises. (Some of this will be directly from the Session Abstract we received and some from the notes I took and some of my reflections in the meantime.)
Mission and the Spirit
God's mission is dependent upon the Holy Spirit regardless of whatever cultural, social, economic, political and linguistic realities and barriers exist. His Spirit empowers his children in an outward movement to the nations.
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, God not only confirmed that reality, but also affirmed that LANGUAGE is an acceptable way to connect with and express God and His truth. And not just ONE language -- many languages. Vernacular languages. Common languages. Like the language I speak.
Mission and the Church
Chris Wright says "God has a church for his mission in the world." He does not say that God has a mission for his church. This statment may have been one of the most significant things I heard today. I've been chewing on it all day long and have a feeling that I'm not through with it yet.
What is the difference between a church that believes that it is on a mission from God and a church that beleives that God is on a mission and has invited them along for the adventure?
Mission and Translation
The Bible as God's living word speaks for itself in all human situations. The Gospel is infinately translatable and is intended for everyone regardless of what language they speak.
Lamin Sanneh speaks to this Word of God as being alwasy translated. The Greek NT, for instance -- the one we consider "original" -- is a translation from Aramaic language that Jesus likely spoke as he walked on this earth and spoke with common people. And when he read from the Scriptures, he likely read Hebrew.
Sanneh speaks of this Word this way: "It moves from place to place...[and] takes root among simple people as well as in cities and towns.
Two discussions here caught my attention. One was a discussion of SHALOM (and I'll leave that for another day). The other is the reality that holistic ministry is one that proclaims AND demonstrates the Gospel. Simple. Complete. Whole.
Mission and Empire
This discussion of "empire" and the reality that the Kingdom of God is NOT a human empire -- but that empires have usually tainted mission as missionaries have been caught up in empire building and lost their focus on God's mission. (I've had versions of this discusisons a number of times in the past few weeks. I wonder what that is about.)
Organizational Health and Development
My simple take away from this discussion about how mission organizations are being held accountable in ways they may never have been before by donors and governments, etc. is that we are called now as we always have been and alwasy will be to be excellent stewards of whatever resources, influence, relationships, etc. that God has given to us.
Mission and Wycliffe International
I'm not going to share these details that adress the new organizational structure of WBTI, etc. It was good stuff -- informative and consisten with what Kirk has set out as values and goals in his soon-to-emerge adminstration.