A number of Mega-Presbyteries plan to employee Mission-Coordinators. In fact some are already in post.
It is a significant task to encourage the development of effective mission and outreach across the new Presbyteries.
One advert for the role indicates that they seek,
“…an individual who is able to work with congregations to help them discover new ways of missional working, to equip them with the tools to serve God and our communities, and to model and encourage passion for God’s mission…”
This sounds good and I suspect the sentiment will be duplicated across many of the Mega-Presbyteries. But it leaves me with a question. What have we all being doing for the last 20 years?
Why are Presbyteries across Scotland convinced that their congregations generally need help to understand contemporary mission? How is it possible that after decades of awareness raising, still congregations may not understand mission in their own context?
And perhaps more worryingly Mega-Presbyteries clearly expect a significant number of congregations to continue to require such support after the current Mission planning process.
Is it an indictment upon the Kirk that we have failed to teach local congregations how to engage in mission? What have we been talking about? Or perhaps it’s not the content of our sermons so much as the ineffectiveness of our delivery methods? But somehow we have failed in this most basic area of discipleship such that regional coordinators are necessary to engender a passion for mission in local churches.
I don’t envy Mission Coordinators in their task, not least because some will likely end up bogged down in paper exercises and reporting. But perhaps we can help by ensuring that mission, and in particular local mission, is at the heart of our congregational preaching, teaching, learning and development.