Monday, June 28, 2010

Jesus had a mission strategy

Luke 7:34 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking"

If we had to sum up Jesus' mission strategy as he headed to the cross this would surely be it. Throughout the gospels, especially Luke, we find him constantly eating with people, and spoken ill of for the company he kept.

I'm two weeks out from preaching Exodus 24 where God invites the elders to come and see him and eat and drink with him. There's something about eating and drinking face to face. Eden was a garden packed with food to eat in the presence of God and so will be the new creation (pictures along the way in the tabernacle and Ahasuerus' garden etc.)

Tim Chester notes (paraphrasically):
The goal of salvation is to eat a meal in the presence of God. The Son of Man came eating and drinking: His mission strategy. It’s not complicated, even if it’s not easy. There is a challenge here for us to have a drink or share a meal with non-Christians 3-4 times a week. If we did that 90% of our mission would be sorted. Meals enact and embody the grace of God
For many in middle class western culture we think this must mean have dinner parties which is a major fuss, even if you've got enough guests to invite. Why should it? Everyone normally has three normal meals a day - how hard could it be, apart from challenging cultural norms, for us to do more of this together. I love that yesterday we had a house full of friends - some from our home group, some from the wider church, and some from outside the church. We've got a long way to go yet in echoing the missionary strategy of Jesus, but I want to get there.

Trinitarian people (super)naturally form welcoming and warm communities - places that love to include others, where the door is as wide open as the grace of God is, and where there is mutual love and care. This is not to the dilution of the gospel but for it's amplification. The gospel creates community, a community that loves to speak of the gospel and loves to love like the gospel.

Where does food fit into the missionary strategy of your church?

6 comments:

  1. Hi Dave,

    Spot on post mate. Food is vital. I have just started a small group in Bedminster with the intention of reaching beyond the barriers of the current church. I have tried to allow the group to form it's own values, but I only imposed one, we would always eat together. Two baptist friends of mine who are part of Urban Expression(http://www.urbanexpression.org.uk/) expressed it within their group with the phrase "no eating no meeting" it is a phrase I love. One of my favourite stories of Jesus is after his resurrection when the disciples are out fishing and the see Jesus on the shore, and what is he doing - grilling some fish!!

    For me eating is not just a mission strategy it is a church building strategy, it develops community and it aids discipleship.

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  2. It's our gospel isn't it. God want to eat with us!

    Love to hear how you're achieving this. How do we overcome the overwhelming closed-door & closed-fridge culture of our society?

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  4. Dave,

    My ex-boss used to say that pastors, as well as being trained in theology, should be trained in how to cook!! Hospitality is key to the growth of the church!! "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1 Peter 4:9).

    It is partly why I started my new blog http://vegetarianismforcarnivores.blogspot.com/

    Must hook up next time you are in Bristol for any length of time.

    Michael

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  5. Yeah we must meet.

    Hospitality is part of the character of a leader (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:8). Should be a key strand of applied theological education!! :)

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  6. Hey Dave!

    totally true...Something Jackie Pullinger said and something that I've experienced sounds really simple, but is true:

    Rice is much easier to share then pork chops.

    So a good place to start is by just doing large amounts of things which can be easily shared and expanded. Currys, chillies, stews...that sort of thing! You can always find room for one more...me and jess rarely cook for two-by doing big things easy to share, its easy to invite people round! Even if noone makes it-freeze and you get a meal another time-brilliant!

    this makes me excited...I think it takes time also-time for people to realise that if they knock on your door you will be there and let them in...that takes time.

    rob

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