In previous posts I’ve described why I don’t believe in mission strategy and looked at mission planning in the book of Acts. Here is the first of three implications I want to highlight of my conclusion that God – and not us – is the great mission strategist.
1. A humble confidence in God’s sovereignty
This is good news. The burden of planning mission is lifted from us. I want you to have a strong sense of God as the great mission strategist. It’s so liberating.
It doesn’t mean we switch our brains off. I’ve said ‘mission can’t be planned beyond the next step’. But we still have to decide the next step. We still have to make decisions. Thoughtful decisions. Informed decisions. Tomorrow I’ve got to decide what to do with my time. I’ll want to work faithfully with the opportunities God has given me. I’ll think about the need. I’ll look for partnerships with people with whom I can co-operate. I can be proactive.
But we don’t have to have a master plan. We don’t need a five year plan. Or a one year plan. It’ll almost certainly be wrong. Circumstances change. Opportunities change. People change.
But we can leave the big picture to God. We can let God make the connections. We can let God be our great Mission Director.
Here’s the liberating thing: I can trust God to use my small contributions as part of his big mission plan.
I think that’s very encouraging for local churches.
There is a rhetoric about that suggests we need to contribute to large organisations or global networks so that mission can be truly strategic. It’s hubris. It’s pride to think we are in control of the future: God is the one who is sovereign. It’s pride to think we can organise church growth: Christ is the one who builds his church.
You may be a small congregation reaching a few people in your local area – that is part of God’s master mission strategy. You may have a conversation about Jesus with someone on the train tomorrow and never see them again – that is part of God’s master mission strategy. You may be connected to a church around the world because of a rather random relational link – that is part of God’s master mission strategy.