We are now one month into the new year. I wonder how we have gone with those New year resolutions, all those good intentions. I suspect that for most, they have already gone the way of the ones we made last year, i.e. crashed!
As churches in Australia focus their energies on getting back onto the down-escalator they were on before Covid 19 struck, and back to managing ongoing decline, across the board they generally are doing so with smaller attendances and reduced giving. So maybe it’s time to make another more Kingdom-fruitful Resolution, i.e. to be a better shedder of the Virus. No, I don’t mean the Covid 19 Virus, but the Gospel Virus!
As I described in a previous post, the Gospel is a spiritual virus analogous to biological ones, that is it is most effectively transmitted by person to person contact. Further, the more contact there is the faster the virus spreads. So the new Resolution for Christians should be to maximise the spread of the Gospel in the community by moving more of our Christian/Gospel activity into spaces where those who need to be ‘infected’ regularly gather.
So how can we be better Virus shedders? A couple of very simple (and cheap) suggestions.
1. Ask which couple of Christian friends can I ask to come with me to meet regularly in a Coffee shop, club, pub, or in our workplace for a bible study and prayer time? This will be with the additional intention of building relationships with the ‘Regulars’, and over time creating Gospel opportunities that can ultimately develop into missional communities.
2. Another option is to ask the question- What group/activity am I already involved in, one that has many non-Christian participants, which I can start to influence by importing Christian views, God talk, concepts etc. For example, in playgroups, craft groups, book clubs, self-defence classes, food pantries etc. all of which have already been done in various places.
The basic principle of Gospel mission is the same little two letter word which Jesus used i.e. ‘GO’ (Matthew 28:19).Go to where those without the Gospel regularly spend their time, that is to leave the ‘Church’ world and GO into and be ‘Church’ in their worlds, not to try and get them back to ‘our place’ (they rarely come these days anyway). This is not rocket science, but is Mission basics 101, whether mission to Uzbekistan or to the local suburb. It is a basic principle for mission that seemingly has dropped off the radar of most congregations when it comes to local mission. It is not hard and can be done simply and inexpensively as suggested above.
Currently few do this but if there is to be a turnaround in the longstanding decline of Christianity in society, with all the social damage that is causing, then far more ‘infectious’ Christians need to intentionally spend their discretionary time in Virus Shedding local mission. That is to create a movement of ‘infectious’ Virus Shedding Gospel communities in the worlds of the lost.
That is a concept that is both cheap and simple and if we prayerfully bite that bullet it might just be a Resolution, a Kingdom Resolution that by God’s Grace, we might keep. And not just at New Year!