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

God's Mission Matters

Take Stock!

Small churches engaging in mission

By Michael Parker
"Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen"  (Hebrews 11:1).

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking reports in his  book, The Grand Design, that some years ago the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved bowls. It was the council’s belief that this constitutes animal cruelty because it gives the fish a distorted view of reality.

We’ll leave the grand philosophical and scientific implications of this aside for now and just note that most of us create our own fishbowls from which we view the broader world. We tend to see things through the distorting glass of tradition or feelings of inferiority or past mistakes. 

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews invites us to stop seeing the world as a goldfish in a bowl, and see it, rather, through the corrective lens of faith. Taking stock not in what we have but in whose we are opens our minds to the infinite possibilities of God.

Listen to this episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Carol Dolezal-Ng, former development associate for interpretation and support with the Near East School of Theology (NEST), and by Joanie Lukins, current Living Waters for the World's Yucatan Network Coordinator.

Take stock 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: Open your eyes! 
    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. 
    Other resources for this lesson:
    Development Game 
    Making Connections

  • Matters from Pop Culture: Your Status Update Matters
    Reflections on how small talk is often dismissed as communication fluff or as time-passing, but how it may be the talk that really matters.
  • Matters of Worship 
    Creator God, Jesus said if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. We are like that boy who had only five loaves of bread and two fish, yet you used it to feed thousands of people on that day many years ago. We may have limited resources, but we ask that you take what we have and use it to benefit the church as you see fit. Nothing is impossible when we put our faith in you. Amen.

    Hymn suggestions:
    “Hopes Set High” (New Song, 2nd Ed., p. 37) or
    “Canto de Esperanza” (Presbyterian Hymnal 432)

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