Friday, 1 September 2017

Mission Matters - and a New Role

New Horizons
My name is Chris Briggs and I am the newly appointed District Mission Enabler for the Nottingham and Derby District of the Methodist Church.  My role will be to complement the ministry of Michele Simms as Fresh Expressions Pioneer Enabler for the District. I will seek to be a resource to the District and Circuits in mission, evangelism and discipleship.  This is a very rich privilege indeed and I look forward to serving Jesus, the Church, and the World in this new role.

Mission has been a passion of mine since coming to faith in Jesus and I have been privileged to be able to explore mission, evangelism, and whole life discipleship both through Methodist Circuit Ministry, through ecumenical work, and through special events and particular roles.  In my previous District (Southampton) I was delighted to serve as a District Evangelism Encourager and as Chair of the District Fresh Expressions Group.  A particular high point on an ecumenical level was an immense amount of missional and evangelistic work carried out revolving around the 2012 Olympics and in particular the arrival of the sailing events in Weymouth and Portland where I was Superintendent Minister of the Portland Circuit.  Some of this centred on generous hospitality and festival engagement.

I was also privileged to be one of the founding members and Trustees of the ecumenical charity “Refresh” which was and is designed to facilitate mission in the area where I previously ministered.  In addition to organising various events “Refresh” has been instrumental in setting up and facilitating church involvement in a CAP Debt Counselling Centre, foodbanks, Street Pastors, Healing on the Streets and various other initiatives.  I was also pleased to be a Trustee of Churches Together in Dorset (CTD) and for a number of years to Chair a standing committee of CTD called DORCAS (Dorset Church and Society).  This acted as a gathering point for denominational representatives and individuals who were committed to social justice and social action.

Mission is the lens through which I see so many other things.  I am delighted therefore to have the challenge of encouraging and resourcing the Nottingham and Derby Methodist District in those areas already mentioned of mission, evangelism and discipleship.

Within the Christian Church there have been many books written on mission.  There are many techniques that one can be trained in that seek to help us to share our faith, or to engage with other people about the good news of Jesus.  There are many programmes on sale that will help us reach out to others.

However, in the end mission is not about a technique or a set of programmes. It is about allowing ourselves to be caught up in the mission of God and to be conduits through which his love can flow to touch and transform others.  It is about gaining, maintaining or regaining confidence in the good news about Jesus.

God in his grace sometimes works through techniques and programmes but he is not bound by them.  God has everything God needs.  All that is needed is the Godhead; Father, Son and Spirit.  There is something within the Godhead though that rejoices in inviting us to share in the mission of God and which sends us to make disciples.

Jesus did not come among us to sell a programme.  He came to share good news.  And he invites us to do the same.  Good news that God loves.  Good news that sin can be dealt with.  Good news that we can encounter the Living God.  Good news that death and hell shall not have dominion.  Good news that we can be transformed and know new life.  Good news that things really can be different.  Good news that we can share now and eternity with our Loving God.

I have complete confidence in the gospel for “it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

As I begin this journey in a new role I look forward to sharing with you in the great work that God has called us to and which surely brings delight to his face when he sees us gathered into that mission and ministry.

One photograph accompanying this article shows a backward clock.  Too often we look backwards and long for the good old days.  That is an understandable, tempting thing to do, but God’s Spirit calls us onwards and challenges us to follow into new ventures, adventures and horizons.

If you are passionate about mission and might be interested in sharing in mission and discipleship initiatives and are in the Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire area please do not hesitate to contact me. You can connect with me through:
facebook: Christopher Briggs
twitter: @revchrisb
instagram & snapchat: revchrisb

May God bless us, may the Holy Spirt guide us, and may the life and love of Christ be seen in us.

Chris Briggs