Thursday, September 18, 2008

Overcoming apathy towards mission

I have to admit that I'm pretty new at this mission education game, but even in our fairly limited experience we've noticed a significant trend. That is, the major battle we need to fight against as we go around visiting churches and different groups encouraging people to become partners with us in mission - is apathy.

We haven't yet met someone who has said 'I am dead against what you are doing, I think its a stupid and fruitless pursuit!' We've met only one person who has said 'I'm glad you're doing it because there's no way that I'll be going.' We've met lots of people who have said 'what you're doing is great, we'd like to be partners with you!' (which is fantastic). But we've also met a significant group who have said... well... nothing.

Its not that they're against mission or against us, it's just that they're apathetic towards the whole thing. Its as if mission hasn't made it onto their horizon.

For some, it seems that this is the result of the natural self centredness that comes with being a typical person in a certain generation (ie: read: not being able to see beyond one's own iPod).

For others, its that life here is really busy. What with work and the kids and getting study and helping out at church and all the busy stuff of life ... its hard to allow anything else into my head space.

For others its a bit more sinister than that. Their apathy is a result of a comfortable life. Whether its the pursuit of material success or basking in the already achieved success, it just seems that looking beyond to a world beyond, let alone the world of mission is a vista too far.

And so one of the things we're trying to do as we visit churches is to work out how awaken the apathetic.

We've found that easily the most effective method is to have personal conversation. The up front presentations, the flashy powerpoint and video extravaganzas, the snappy and witty interviews (OK- so more snappy than witty) all have their place, but in one sense they are just teasers for the personal and small group conversations that will follow around cups of tea and meals.

So if you are reading this and having us at your church in the next few months - we look forward to visiting your church and to showing you 'our wares', but most of all we're interested in talking to you personally and lifting your eyes from your immediate concerns, to the global concerns of God around the world. Be prepared!

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