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RELATIONAL MISSION PROMOTION

I left the National Advisory Council meeting with one word rattling in my head: relationships. Mission in the 21st century is increasingly relational. Whether it’s how to reach your Muslim neighbour, or how to convey the importance of mission to young people, the key lies in existing relationships: spouses and other relatives, work colleagues, classmates, friends from different walks of life. For years at AMT we’ve struggled with a question that keeps cropping up again and again: how do we make Serving Together accessible to youth? We considered how to make the format and content appealing to youth — but realistically we needed someone with the mindset (and probably the age) of the next generation.I left the National Advisory Council meeting with one word rattling in my head: relationships. Mission in the 21st century is increasingly relational. Whether it’s how to reach your Muslim neighbour, or how to convey the importance of mission to young people, the key lies in existing relationships: spouses and other relatives, work colleagues, classmates, friends from different walks of life. For years at AMT we’ve struggled with a question that keeps cropping up again and again: how do we make Serving Together accessible to youth? We considered how to make the format and content appealing to youth — but realistically we needed someone with the mindset (and probably the age) of the next generation.

The truth is that increasingly the average teenager these days probably prefers to chat online or play their favourite console or online game than read in their downtime. Serving Together has a certain demographic (40+) that is ageing. Our magazine is not meant to ‘be all things to all men’. It is we who are challenged by Paul to be that: mission is relational, we reach people through our relationships, connections and interactions with them. Sure, we can use Serving Together or any other mission magazine as a tool, but use it within a relationship that can effectively promote and grow mission interest. Hopefully we can encourage those younger than 40 to be interested in and committed to Christian mission — we must pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to work in them.

As a teenager I wasn’t interested in mission. Was that the fault of how Tidings was presented at the time? Of course not! Mission is for mature Christians — mature not in terms of how long they have been Christians, but in terms of how urgent and significant the gospel message is to them and their community. How relevant is the spread of the gospel through evangelism both locally and abroad? How important is the communication about the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ in a Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane suburb — or in a remote village in Africa or PNG? Head assent isn’t enough — there must be heart commitment too. The average child or teenager rarely has that maturity. Life experience and the knowledge that without Christ all people are going to hell are major drivers in convincing me about the importance of mission and seeing the need to do something about it. However, it wasn’t always that way. It took some time for me to appreciate the desperate reality of being in a society that is lost and floundering without true salvation — and then to be touched by the transformative power of the gospel.

The main purpose of Serving Together is to educate people who are already interested in mission, to inform them about what’s going on in different countries and highlighting how Christian Brethren missionaries are involved. Readers can also pray for our missionaries and local workers listed in the Daily Prayer Guide. If the magazine, through an article or a Frontlines snippet, or even an ad for a mission event, can inspire someone to look further into mission, that’s great. The magazine can stimulate and reinforce, but the key factor to get people interested in mission should be primarily through relationships and specific teaching — from the pulpit and within small groups. A youth group leader or a church elder with an interest in mission can engage with church members and inspire them to be involved in mission better than any magazine revamp. That is also why AMT has church liaisons in Keith and Bronwen Cruickshank, who can go to different churches promoting both AMT and missions. If you would like them to pay your church or group a visit, please email info@amtglobal.com.au and we’ll put you in touch.

One day Serving Together will be no more, at least in print — but our passion for mission through spreading the gospel must continue. Our ongoing challenge is to develop people with relational servant hearts who are prepared to reach those who don’t know Christ, both locally and overseas.

Editorial by Andrew Chan



 

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