We’re on a mission to bring people to God’s love

We’re on a mission to bring people to God’s love

I would like to share with you the work that Synod staff have been doing on developing our leadership charter. Last month I shared information on our vision. This month I would like to share my comments on our mission.

On Our Mission, the Charter says:

As a Synod team our mission is to inspire, empower and support the Uniting Church in all its varied expressions to live out our Christian faith. We affirm that this means supporting the goals of:

1. Bringing people to God’s Love
2. Responding to human need and strengthening community
3. Transforming unjust social structures
4. Continuing to learn and grow
5. Protecting and renewing creation

The Synod exists to serve the Church, to enable the wider witness of the Church to be effective. It has, according to the Constitution, “General oversight, direction and administration of the Church’s worship witness and service within its bounds”. The Regulations suggest there are three broad areas for the Synod to work in. The first is the “Promotion and encouragement of the mission of the Church”.

As we wrestled with these lofty statements, we tried to find language to express the mission of the Church. We turned to the ‘5 marks of mission’, which were originally developed by an Anglican consultative committee.

Our list reflects the five marks without using the exact language of the original. For example, the original first mark is, “Proclaim the good news of the kingdom”. In our discussion there were those who had trouble with the term ‘kingdom’ and we tried to express that concept in a way that would speak to a broad audience. More interestingly, the language has changed from ‘proclaiming’ to “bringing people to…”

Are we afraid as a Church of being ‘tellers’ of the good news? We are well known as a church of action and activity, particularly in serving those in need. Perhaps we have been less clear about our proclamation – declaring what we believe.

At some point we must all give an account of the faith that is in us – and we need to find some words to describe it. “Bringing people to God’s love” is our way of saying we want people to know the love and forgiveness that we have known in Jesus. We want to introduce them to the One who has changed our lives and our world. This is the first mark and many believe it is the cornerstone of what we are about as a people of God.

The question in all of these five marks is: how do we do it?

I am completely convinced of the urgency of the task. Our Church needs to grow. To do that, we need to recapture the passion of sharing the good news. Proclaim it. Live it. Bring people into God’s presence. Bring people to God’s love.

This will happen in a variety of ways, but in the end we are still left with the need for a word, which speaks to the experience. We must learn to articulate our faith to those who are unfamiliar with our peculiar vocabulary. We will need to be ready, “When occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds” (Basis Of Union paragraph 11).

Rev. Dr Andrew Williams

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