Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, designating them apostles; that they might "be with him" and that he might "send them" out to preach -Mark 3:13-14
In this passage I see a simple practice, that many of our ministerial networks often say they value but often stumble in fulfilling....leaving a lot of used and lonely pastors and Christians. We say we desire to see our cities influenced, reached or changed by the gospel; yet the pathway to that as modeled by Jesus is ignored. Jesus modeled the act of spiritual directing, called "Accompaniment."
Accompaniment is: walking together in solidarity, practicing interdependence and mutuality. Gifts, resources, and experiences are shared with mutual advice and admonition to deepen and expand all efforts within God's mission Often instead of fostering a sense of relational "being" we quickly jump to the "sending" part of the verse...before allowing any real "being together" to take place.
I see this temptation in many of my relationships with older brothers in the Lord...sometimes I wonder if its a "generational" thing or not. I hear this tension in a lot of dialogue today within the or about the "missional movement". Relationship is often used in a derogatory way, as if it's a touchy feely waste of time by some folks. Im seeing that the real brotherhood process takes time, both in churches and in partnering relationships.
Many networks become focused on "accomplishing or changing" something or someplace; and relationships become the means to the end. There is an almost anti-trinitarian heretical tendency in our gathering; that reflects the underlining assumption that there is a lack of completeness in God that required Him to make the world. We model this wrong assumption by being driven to find a purpose for our relationships. We must have meaning and we try to find that by performance or producing. We work to display something that justifies our existence and importance.
We cannot comprehend a throne room reality that contains Seraphim and Cherubim that exist to continual proclaim "Holy Holy Holy". It seems like a waste of time. God must need something "done". Worship is turned into something we do...instead of something we live.
But mission must emerge out of worship and partnering, must involve individual togetherness.
All living and healthy beings reproduce, that is a given...but just as Sabbath begins as the day ends for man and the majority of initial Sabbath day takes place while man sleeps...so we too discover when we awake to healthy God given rhythms of kingdom existence; that what we do...comes after who we are.
Our works arise out of...our rest.
Our doing is the result...of our being.
Creation comes after...communion.
The apostolic sending...is rooted in trinitarian interdependence.
Building a network of missionally minded churches; involves accepting and enjoying the grace of journeying together...relationally at first.
In the natural world, a child is the fruit of a loving relationship, that existed before the child. A family is the result of a growing oneness. Children are part of the expression of love but not the purpose for it alone. Children are meant to leave the home and if the marriage exists for the children only...the result is, after the "project" is accomplished...the relationship ends.
I have seen this in Spokane, time and time again. I hope that our networks express the simple balance of "being & sending" as reflected in the verse above. And that new missional works and churches would grow out of these relationships in their proper season.