God's Mission Matters
Small churches engaging in mission
By Michael Parker
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Famed physicist Stephen Hawking reports in his recent book, The Grand Design, that some years ago the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping gold fish in curved bowls. It was the council’s belief that this constitutes animal cruelty because it gives the fish a distorted view of reality.
We’ll leave the grand philosophical and scientific implications of this aside for now and just note that most of us create our own fish bowls from which we view the broader world. We tend see things through the distorting glass of tradition or feelings of inferiority or past mistakes.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews invites us to stop seeing the world as a gold fish in a bowl, and see it, rather, through the corrective lens of faith. Taking stock not in what we have but in whose we are opens our minds to the infinite possibilities of God.
Listen to this month’s episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories byCarol Dolezal-Ng, development associate for interpretation and support with the Near East School of Theology (NEST), and by Joanie Lukins, moderator for Living Waters for the World.
Take stock episode toolkit
Use these resources to equip your congregation, network, youth group and other groups in your church for mission involvement. You may use any of these for activities in the context of Bible studies, Sunday Bible class, Sunday worship service and committee or session meetings.
- God’s Mission Matters: Open your eyes!
Prefer printed? Download and read this ready-to-print booklet including the text of the podcast, a study guide for group leaders and a reflection on popular culture. This is a great tool for a learning session in your congregation or mission group context.
Other resources for this lesson:
- Matters from Pop Culture: Your Status Update Matters
Reflections on how small talk is often dismissed as communication fluff or as time-passing, but how it may be the talk that really matters.
- Matters of Worship
Creator God, Jesus said if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. We are like that boy who had only five loaves of bread and two fish, yet you used it to feed thousands of people on that day many years ago. We may have limited resources, but we ask that you take what we have and use it to benefit the church as you see fit. Nothing is impossible when we put our faith in you. Amen.
“Hopes Set High” (New Song, 2nd Ed., p. 37) or
“Canto de Esperanza” (Presbyterian Hymnal 432)
Tell us how YOU learned to “take stock.”
Post your story in the “take stock” forum. You may also share your reactions to the podcast and related articles (Note: you must be a member of the Mission Crossroads interactive community to participate in the forum. We invite you to join the community today!)