The question posed to the BLOGFORCE this week: “What does it mean to be a 21st Century Missionary Society?”
*We at war. We at war with terrorism, racism-but most of all, we at war
with ourselves.* – Kanye West, “Jesus Walks”
For quite a while now, the Episcopal Church has been at war with ourselves. Ever since I joined the church in 2004, we’ve been arguing about one thing or another, from consecrating openly gay bishops to electing a woman Presiding Bishop (who is either the devil or the second coming, depending on who is talking) to forcing the denominational headquarters to sell its building on Second Avenue in Manhattan. The official name of our church’s central office is the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church, yet no one seems to know what it means to be a missionary in today’s society, where everyone knows about Jesus and many don’t really have a great opinion of him.
Steve Pankey blogs: 21st Century Missionary Societies
After several years of hard-knocks, the term “Missionary” and “Missionary Society” are becoming all the rage again. At least in the dorky-Episcopal circles that I run in. The official corporate name of The Episcopal Church is The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Over the years, the Church has taken on various nicknames and acronyms for herself… Currently, she likes to be called The Episcopal Church or TEC, but the insiders, those who work to keep this giant multimillion dollar machine running and writing them paychecks have taken to calling her “The Missionary Society.” I, for one, applaud their chutzpah.
Adam Trambley blogs: Five Marks of a Missionary Society
A successful missionary society is going to include the following five components as an essential part of its life: prayer; responsibility for individual evangelism; focus on making disciples; accountability; taking people from the harvest to work in the harvest.
David Simmons blogs: Assumed Ecumenism and the Missionary Society
Ecumenism is not a sexy thing. But the ecumenical movement has in some ways succeeded beyond its dreams. Many young people already live an “Assumed Ecumenism.” They see the essential unity of the church in Jesus. American denominationalism is a distraction from mission. If we approach the missionization of our culture from the vantage point of proclaiming “The Episcopal Church,” we will fail. We may succeed if we proclaim Jesus in a way that is grounded in the baptismal covenant and common prayer.
Megan Castellan blogs: Sitting on the Floor of the Airport
As we contemplate the re visioning of the Church into a missionary society, we should take care to move to where the Spirit is already gathering people, even when this appears to be a place without status or privilege, like the floor of an airport.
Frank Logue blogs: A 21st Century Missionary Society
The only difference in a 21st century missionary society is that we need to let go of recent inventions like buildings dedicated to Christian worship called churches, or seats in those buildings called pews, or instruments in those buildings called pipe organs, and anything else that gets in the way of sharing the Good News. We just have to remember what the goal is and beginning with the end of sharing God’s love in mind, consider what tools best get us there.
Interested in blogging for the BLOGFORCE? This was a test run with limited invitation. Future BLOGFORCE questions will be open. See here for more details.