Stephen Fife, in a post from a year ago, entitled, “Becoming Missional Methodists by Reclaiming our History.” I like his assessment that our changing culture–surrounded by the “nones” (those with no religious affiliation”) is like the culture the first circuit riders found themselves in. But I really love how he says how he has learned to see himself as a missionary first:
We have to see ourselves as missionaries to a hungry people once more. This means going into a community not just as the pastor of this church but as a change agent in this community. One of the biggest challenges I see is helping a congregation realize that they are the leaders of this mission movement. For me this means forming partnerships with mission organizations already active in the community – boys and girls clubs, junior leagues, united way, homeless shelters, food banks, after school tutoring programs, and other service organizations. Early Circuit Riders were easily recognizable around the community. For every person that attends your church you should know 2-3 more that don’t! We have to reclaim the identity and the mission of those early circuit riders.
He goes on to state how he’s also learned to see his church as a missionary outpost and looks for other opportunities to join others in mission and ministry. It’s a good post. Check it out.