April 15, 2008

Maintenance OR mission?

Wise words from Andrew Pfeiffer:

The terms, 'maintenance' and 'mission', have encouraged an unfortunate polarisation. Mission always involves maintenance. Maintaing the faith, passing on what we have inherited, is essential if mission is to be Christian, built on the foundation of Christ and the apostles. Feeding the faith of the congregation God has called together is not a negative or lesser role for a pastor; it is an essential part of his call and an essential aspect of mission.

It is tempting to pigeon-hole an apparent lack of concern for non-Christians in the local community as 'maintenance' mentality, and to identify 'mission' as the hard work needed to 'open the door' for the community to come and see Jesus. But surely healthy maintenance leads to a love for the lost! Of course we are to be concerned for non-Christians in our communities....

Rather than refocus our public worship, it would seem better to offer additional 'events' that highlight the 'relevance' and user-friendly' nature of the church, while continuing to invite people to worship that centres in the gospel in word and sacraments, where the power of God is at work.

-"Facing up to Myths about Worship" (The Lutheran, September 6, 1993)

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