We’re continuing our look at the problems and opportunities that churches face, and what lies ahead in 2014. Today’s topic on the idea of mutual submission looks at how churches do outreach and evangelism.
When we talk about mutual submission and how it relates to outreach and evangelism in the church, it really has two key directions: local unity and community presence.
Local Unity is a committed group of Jesus followers pursuing the same goal with clarity, purpose, direction, and intentionality.
Why do these four points matter? Maybe most easily because people don’t want to say ‘no’ to good ideas. They avoid the hard work of clarifying mission and values and the waters of faithful living become muddied by feet scurrying everywhere to ‘do good things’. The more that clarity eludes the church about where it is headed, the easier it is to miss doing the uniquely great things that God has called your community to, and simply settle for doing anything and branding it as a good endeavor.
Secondly, these steps of clarification matter because as a group grows, so do the unique perspectives and backgrounds of the people that join. Humility in missional circles means always listening to the voices of those present to discern where God is leading the group, but it also means direction and movement forward in missional faithfulness. It’s why one one key component to the health of any church is reproduction. As new members entire the life and rhythm of mission, new groups will form with different goals and direction. Mutual submission is hearing these voices and responding faithfully. Within the life of the group should be the attitude of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2).
Community Presence The second area of mutual submission is from the group to the community. Continuing to consider others better than ourselves, missional communities and groups approach not with the attitude of superiority, but one of service. People must enter service with the mindset and belief that God is already at work, and they are just finding ways to join in. Groups don’t ‘take God’ anywhere, they go places to join with the renewal and restoration work that God is already doing.
In any community that it serves, the church on mission must also go with an attitude that they must receive as well as give. God is already at work in every community, people on mission, to be mutually submissive, must be open to receiving gifts and acts of grace from those they intend to serve.
In any community that it serves, the church on mission must also go with an attitude that they must receive as well as give. God is already at work in every community, people on mission, to be mutually submissive, must be open to receiving gifts and acts of grace from those that they intend to serve.
Outreach and evangelism within the life of the church is always important, but more important than that, is the level to which safe and trusting relationships are built within the group and the community. Wherever the church goes, and however the church implements missional faithfulness, the top priority is always to love God and love others. Developing unity and clarity within the church community and a humble and accepting spirit towards the local community is rooted in the action of love and the spirit of grace in Jesus.
Other parts in the series: