Thursday, 18 January 2007

Authentic Mission will be Incarnational

The Son of God did not stay in the safe immunity of his heaven, remote from human sin and tragedy. He actually entered our world. He emptied himself of his glory and humbled himself to serve. He took our nature, lived our life, endured our temptations, experienced our sorrows, felt our hurts, bore our sins and died our death. He penetrated deeply into our humanness. He never stayed aloof from the people he might have been expected to avoid. He made friends with the dropouts of society. He even touched untouchables. He could not have become more one with us than he did. It was the total identification of love. John Stott

Examples of Incarnational Mission
1. Moravian Christians selling themselves into slavery in order to reach the African slaves with the gospel.

2.Hudson Taylor the founder of the China Inland Mission grew his hair long, dyed it black and dressed like the Chinese in order to identify with the Chinese.

Paul writes: 19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. ….21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…, so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.1 Cor. 9.19-22

If our mission is to be Incarnational it also means getting inside the heads of those we seek to reach. To reach Mormons or Muslims or the Youth of today we must try to understand what they are thinking – what their fears are ,what their felt needs are, what their problems are, their heart pain and even the history of their group or cult if it’s the J.W’s or Mormons. We must built bridges in order to connect with them. If we have problems relating to our own children we must be the ones the bridge the gap, not them.I remember meeting an evangelist with an eyebrow ring, I judged him in my heart thinking 'who does he think he is: a Christian shouldn't have one of those.' It was me that needed changed. He was from a very privileged background but he was trying to reach the youth of Norwich as Director of Youth For Christ.I had much to learn from him.

Dare I say to reach modern youth we may have to listen to their C.D’s and read their magazines and find out what makes them tick? To reach Post-moderns we must also read their books, listen to their music and feel their angst. WE HAVE MUCH TO LEARN FROM THEM!

Has the Post-modern Church a message for the world? If it hasn't we might as well give up our lives now. 'As the Father sent me' said Jesus ' so I send you'.


Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew,

Welcome to the world of blogging - I have added your blog to my list!

I will comment on mission in future and still have your phone number - will contact you soon!


Anonymous said...

Incarnational mission is a much better way to do evangelism than the imperialistic,colonialist way. It is sad that the Church has shown the world many examples of how not to do mission-the Spanish Inquisition and Crusades to name but a few.A bad reflection on Christ - may he save us fromdoing the same.
Michael forster

backyardmissionary said...

Hi Andrew - stumbled across your blog via Tim Chester's article on incarnational mission.

I'm interested to know what degree of resonance this expression of mission has in Ireland.

FWIW, I grew up in Belfast as a kid before moving to Oz - lived in Orangefield Cres, went to Grove Baptist, Ornagefield Primary etc. I remember Ireland as a very conservative place, but am wondering if it still so. Would love to come back some time and do some work over there - if I could put up with the grey skies!

Here in Oz I am the National Forge director (read Hirsch & Frost - Shaping of Things to Come? - I took over from Alan) but always keen to hear what is going on back home!

Anyway - just a quick note to say 'g'day'. nice to run across an Irish blogger with some similar passions