Preparing for a Member Mission Day

By The Rev. A Wayne Schwab

[Here follow paragraphs from a letter to the organizer of the day. This small congregation drew on these two formats for its planning committee and its vestry as they prepared for a Member Mission Saturday conference. The planners had chosen as their theme: “Come . . . Wake the Sleeping Giant within YOU.”]

I see “waking the sleeping giant within you” by practicing meeting God’s Spirit at work in daily life.

To do that we would look at how we are living right now; see God’s Spirit present in what we are doing; practice asking others to share in the work of God’s Spirit with us. Most important is to grow in our talk of God’s work in our own lives and in the world around us.

You might give the seminar a subtitle of “Living by the Spirit in Daily Life.”

Here are two formats to draw from. The second was used the most.

Format #1

Purpose: to help each person see they are following God’s Spirit right now — even though they may not know it.

1. Describe briefly the six daily mission fields of each Christian – home, work, local community, wider world, leisure, and church.
2. Ask each person to list what they are doing right now to make life better — more loving and / or more just — in each of those six arenas (20 minutes).
3. Then, ask if they believe God’s spirit is at work in what they are doing and is at work helping them to live that way right now — even if they had not thought this way before.
4. Share their reflections in pairs (10 minutes).
5. Call for two or three to share their results with all
6. End asking for comments on what they have learned about following God’s Spirit right now.

Format #2

The rector, vestry, and key leaders meet and commit themselves to prepare for a weekend of startup by sharpening their own ability to hear what God wants them to do in their daily lives and to experience God’s help to do it. The first week, each prays daily, “Lord, show me what to do today in my home.” At the end of the day or as each begins the next day’s prayers, ask “How did God lead me today / yesterday?” Offer a short thanksgiving for that leading and help. The following weeks center on daily work, the local community, the wider world, leisure and re-creation, and the church. Then the cycle repeats. Each has a partner they check in with weekly to see how the praying is going and what is happening in their lives. They will see how God will find a different way to talk with and to help each one. Each week centers on a different mission field. At the end of this meeting, the prayer partners are set either by counting off by two’s or by pairing up with another of their own choosing.

[The Rev. A. Wayne Schwab; Coordinator of Member Mission Network, Inc., President of Member Mission Press, Chair of the Spiritual Formation Committee for the United Church of Hinesburg, VT, Author, and Speaker.]