The Eastern Baptist Association, whom I now serve as a Regional Minister, is putting together a series of thoughts that we will send out in order to help us to think through how we can engage with mission and evangelism. Each month churches will receive a parable to introduce a theme and there will also be some questions to consider. We hope that churches will share these materials within their leadership team and church perhaps in a meeting, homegroup, service or in some other way and hope to receive feedback from them afterwards that will help shape our strategic thinking about mission. What follows is our first parable, which was released into the wild last week, followed by some questions:
The land was dry and arid. It rarely rained. Because of this the desert had no vegetation and there was no shelter from the burning heat of the sun. But in the midst of the desert was an oasis, a well was fed by a spring that bubbled up from the ground. A small community had settled at the oasis and some weary travellers found refreshment and rest there. But there were other travellers who did not know about the oasis and perished in the midst of the desert.
The villagers who lived at the oasis were troubled by this. Each day they would send out search parties looking for travellers and pointing them towards the oasis where they would find water and shelter. They put up signs pointing people towards the oasis and warning travellers about the dangers of travelling in the desert.
Then one day a wise woman suggested that instead of going out to the desert to find travellers they could take water in big containers out into the desert. They loaded up the camels and took the water with them. By this means they were able to help more travellers.
Then the wise woman had an even better idea. She suggested that they should dig deep holes in the desert and fill them with water from the well. That way travellers would find water even when the villagers were not in that area.
One day a traveller found his way to the oasis. Grateful for the cool, refreshing water, he started talking with the villagers and commended them for their hard work to save the lives of travellers. But, he wondered, what if they dug irrigation channels from the oasis out into the desert? Could the desert itself be transformed?
- Take some time to think about and perhaps discuss this parable with others -consider how we share the water of life.
- This month we are considering Places which is the first of five areas that our mission strategy is focusing on. Questions to consider. Think about the community that your church is in and consider ways that you are or that you could engage and be a blessing within it.
- Ask people within your church family (possibly in homegroups?) to share about places they are each day and pray for them in some way (you could create a list for prayer).
- Sometimes churches feel ineffective in mission when actually the members are present in many places in the world which puts them in the ideal position to engage in effective Mission.
If you have any thoughts or reflections on the parable I would love to hear them.
Be blessed, be a blessing