“A problematic legacy of Christendom is the separation between ‘mission’ and ‘community.’ Sustained efforts by many denominations and local churches to reunite these estranged partners, using the language of ‘ missionary congregations,’ ‘mission-shaped church,’ ‘missional church,’ or several other phrases, have been only partially effective. The division between mission and community is deep-rooted, institutionally entrenched, and resilient to change. For many church members, mission is an activity necessary in other places.”
– Stuart Murray in The Naked Anabaptist, page 98,99.
Upon my initial reading of this book, this is one of the paragraphs that jumped out of the pages and seemingly hit me in the face. The disconnect between community and mission to this day is still quite staggering. Christian buzz words have been crafted to speak and teach within that disconnect. But even still many churches sit, fermenting, with the difficulty of navigating out of the institutionally entrenched disconnect between ‘mission’ and ‘community.’ Do you see this disconnect within your church?
This coming weekend my church is hosting the Annual General Meeting of our conference, Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a privilege as Stuart Murray will be addressing us for a few sessions over the course of the weekend. As such I will be posting my notes from each session on this blog. I am hopeful that the content of his sessions will address this disconnect between ‘mission’ and ‘community’ as both my church and conference are attempting to navigate those delicate waters.
If you haven’t had a chance to read “The Naked Anabaptist” it is well worth your time. In the meantime, if you are looking for high quality reviews on the content of the book, check out the work done by Ryan Dueck (intro post, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7) and Jamie Arpin-Ricci’s blog for an author interview.
Bonus question: On the left is the North American cover via Herald Press, on the right is the U.K. cover via Paternoster. Which cover of “The Naked Anabaptist” do you prefer? Generally I think stick people are hilarious and awesome. The stick person on the UK edition appears to have taken off it’s clothes, which means it is a naked (Anabaptist perhaps?) stick person… I didn’t even know their could be such a thing. So my answer would be the UK cover.