As well as running the pioneer training at CMS we’re keen to join in the wider conversation about mission through publishing ideas in books, articles and journals where we can or where we are invited. One of our new ventures has been to become a partner in Grove’s mission and evangelism series and CMS will be contributing a couple of books each year. This used to be the evangelism series and has been renamed mission and evangelism with our involvement. Colin and Anna are the two people from CMS who are involved.
Anyway good news – the first booklet is out – a grove booklet on mission and community by Mark Berry and Philip Mounstephen. It gets a hefty review here which sketches the content if you want to know what it’s about. I have read it and really recommend it. It’s the kind of book you read and think ‘of course!’ but then realise that what seems obvious often isn’t.
One thing in the book that I thought was particularly helpful was a diagram. They draw on Robert Warren’s Missionary Congregations book that had three interlocking equally sized circles in a venn diagram of worship, mission and community saying that all three were important and that in the intersection you’d find the heart or spirituality of a congregation.
Mark and Philip redraw the diagram showing the reality could be very different in practice to Warren’s nice equal version. It seems quite shocking – community is small and mission is isolated. The more I have thought about it the more I think that diagram nails something with truth in it even if it is exaggerated.
It’s at least worth pondering if you are in a congregation or church what the balance is and where all the church’s time, money and effort goes.