Living it out: Mission as if creation matters
Call to action! As Christians we are called to fill the Great Commission, which appears in all four gospels with slightly different wording, Matthew 28:19-20 is the most commonly used. There are two important parts to the great commission; go and make disciples, discipleship is about leading people on a lifelong journey with Jesus, conversion is only the beginning of the journey. Everything I have commanded, Jesus also cared about the issues of justice and the environment. Mark 16:15 version of the great commission expands into the importance of creation "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation". Our God given great commission, includes the whole of creation, not just people (again we are not the centre of the story).
Though I know of the great commission given to use by Jesus Christ, I didn't realise that God had also given us a great commission way before Jesus's time in Genesis 1:28 'ruling over and caring for creation'. We have to follow both as they are as equalling important.
I loved this statement: The whole gospel is about Jesus transforming a person's relationship with God, and their relationships with other people and the world around them.
1. If the command to reflect God in caring for creation is 'the first great commission', how is it reflected in your priorities?
Probably has come second, but I have never been comfortable with that, as caring for the environment and creation is something that sits well with me and I have a real heart and passion for.
2. Do you and does your fellowship or church, support each of the five marks of mission (page 137) through praying, giving and practical action?
5 Marks of mission:
- to proclaim the good news of the kingdom
- to teach, baptize and nurture new believers
- to respond to human need by loving service
- to seek to transform unjust structures of society
- to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the earth.
I think that my church does pretty well, we have a few missionaries in various fields, and support and regularly pray for those missionaries. Baptisms are a regular fixture during the year, and the congregation is always encouraged to get to know new people not only to the church but to the faith as well. If there is a need then something is done about it, meals are cooked, help is given, prayers are prayed, visits are made etc..The last two I am not so sure of, we do do regular features about sex trafficking, etc..and are encouraged to do our part. In recent times creation has been coming up, and I hope to be an active part of this new part of our church life.
3. How can we keep a full biblical understanding of mission, including creation care, without neglecting the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus with individual people? Does the work of A Rocha (see www.arocha.org) offer some helpful ideas?