Through 2023, St Philip's will engage in a project to understand and share missional spirituality.
We began with two Sunday sermons from our Rector, the Reverend Martin Johnson.
During 2022 Bishop Mark encouraged Parishes to engage in projects and programs to enable a greater missional emphasis in the Diocese. Some parishes have adopted programs and we were offered the opportunity to engage in a project called ‘Introduction to Missional Spirituality.’ Four parishes are involved: Hackett, Jamison, Narooma-Bega and St Philip’s, we will be learning and engaging in the project separately, as each parish has differing hopes and perspectives.
The project lasts from February to September 2023. There are three elements:
Times are being planned at present, each module will be around 2 hours:
Module 1 – 25 February
Module 2 – 25 March
Module 3 – 27 May
Module 4 – 24 June
Module 5 – 5 August
Module 6 – 2 September
The sessions will be facilitated by The Revd Tracey Matthews who piloted the project during her curacy at St Simon’s Kaleen.
Please put these dates in your diaries. Over the coming weeks Martin will provide more information on the content of the each module and offer suggestions for reading for those of you keen to learn. What we want to do is discover and rediscover our unique gifts and strengths and how best we might use them in our local context within God’s mission.
One of the texts I am reading in preparation for our project is Missional Spirituality: Embodying God’s Love from the Inside Out, by Roger Helland and Len Hjalmarson (IVP Books, 2011). Part of the book endeavours to answer the question: ‘What are the elements of “missional” spirituality? What are the major elements of standard spirituality?’
One of their key New Testament texts is John 4:34: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
If Jesus’ spirituality is to do the will of the missional aim of the Father, and if he is determined to accomplish that, then Christlikeness is about entering into Jesus’ own missional sending by the Father. Spirituality is about mission. It cannot be reduced to our personal relation to God, but must be connected to what God is doing in this world and entering into God’s mission.
Unfortunately “missional” has become something of a buzz word, but it’s too important for that. Helland and Hjalmarson define it:
“Missional” means to participate in God’s mission as God and we work out God’s will in the world. Perhaps for some that ‘and we’ is surprising!
“Spirituality”, Helland and Hjalmarson write, means to live in and by the Holy Spirit.” “To be genuinely spiritual is not institutional.” They contrast missional spirituality with its polar opposite, Temple spirituality.
Temple spirituality is: Contained in buildings; missional spirituality is not.
Temple spirituality is: ‘Dualistic’ in that only Sunday is sacred, God is church-based we worship once a week. Missional spirituality hallows each day; Jesus is the ‘mobile Messiah.’.
Temple spirituality builds around priests and rituals; missional spirituality commissions all to be priests.
The Christendom model builds churches and forms pastors/leaders to function in the church; missional spirituality expands what “church” means.
Helland and Hjalmarson quote Churchill: “We shape our buildings; and afterwards our buildings shape us.” They sum up: “a missional spirituality is an attentive and active engagement of embodied love for God and neighbour expressed from the inside out”.