Thursday, January 31, 2013

We Are A Mission Church

I walked along a nearby road earlier this week with my bright and earnest young nephew, who with his sister was hanging with me on a teacher workday.  As we were rambling back home from a yummy Mexican lunch at a nearby restaurant, he and I passed by the largest church in our immediate neighborhood.  A good place, it is, a large and healthy Methodist congregation, one that's recently installed a big ol' electronic sign.

On that sign, it said in elegantly multihued letters: "We Are A Mission Church."

My nephew looked at me, and said, in his earnest way, "Uncle Dave?"

"What," I responded.

"I don't know what that sign means," he said.  I asked him what part he didn't understand.  "Any of it.  That sentence doesn't make sense to me."

I told him what I was reasonably sure it meant.  Mission means many things to varying sorts of Christians, but these being suburban Methodists and all, I figured I could speak with confidence.  "They mean they do good work in the community and in the world," I said, "and they do it because what they believe makes them want to do that good work."

"Oh," he said.  "OK.  Then why don't they just say that?"

I told him I didn't know.

Funny, how we church folk find ways to describe our goodness so that the world has no clue what we're talking about.