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“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.” — Malachi 3:1

God's Mission Matters

Be different!

Bringing the mission experience into everyday life

By Dennis Smith
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Can you dare to be different in mission?

Here’s what we hear all around us: Mission is what we do for God. We, as God’s messengers, can go in to a needy community, figure out what’s wrong, then use our money and our labor to set things right. Folks in the needy community will be forever grateful. Quick, neat, high-impact—that’s how we like to do things!

But what we are learning is very different. The lessons aren’t new; the best mission practices have always challenged the values and priorities of time and place. More than 170 years of experience have taught the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that mission is God working through all of human history to bring the Good News of Jesus to all of humankind. 

God works through Presbyterians, through our mission partners, and through many groups and individuals whose names we’ll never know. Mission promotes evangelism and justice, education and human wholeness. Through mission activities God reaches out especially to those on the margins of society. 

Mission work is slow and messy and delightfully complex, because that is what our lives are like as God’s children. Mission is building relationships of interdependence. Mission changes us, because mission relationships transform us. Mission allows God to work through our partners to be agents in our conversion to the fullness of the gospel.
Can you dare to be different in mission?.

Listen to this month’s episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Doug Baker, Mission Co-worker in Northern Ireland since 1979, and by Doug Orbaker, Mission Co-worker in Nicaragua from 2004 to 2013.

Be different! episode toolkit

Use these resources to equip your congregation, network, youth group and other groups in your church for mission involvement. You may use any of these for activities in the context of Bible studies, Sunday Bible class, Sunday worship service, and committee or session meetings.

  • God’s Mission Matters: Be different
    Prefer printed? Download and read this ready-to-print booklet  including the text of the podcast, a study guide for group leaders and a reflection on popular culture. This is a great tool for a learning session in your congregation or mission group context.

  • Matters from Pop Culture: Miners, Makeovers and Lives Reconnecting
    Reflections on the news story about the trapped Chilean miners and how we try to describe how a mission experience transforms us.
  • Matters of Worship 
    God of all, help us to be patient with our expectations. We can only plant the seeds of ministry and wait. “God suffers with the groaning world. God’s transforming work is by love, not by force; by invitation, not by demand; by response to the gift of grace, not by manipulation. God is respectful, gracious, and patient. The transforming gospel acts as salt, light, and leaven—impacting society and bringing change, either gradually or suddenly.” Amen.
    (From Called as Partners in Christ’s Service: The Practice of God’s Mission by Sherron George, p. 85, 2004, Geneva Press.)

    Hymn suggestions:
    “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (Presbyterian Hymnal 379) or
    “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” (Presbyterian Hymnal 383)

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