Basic Tools 34: Hints for Trainers and Leaders of Member Mission

A usual cycle of work I am using when introducing these exercises with people for the first time goes like this:

A.  Review:

Hints for working with the questions:
The six mission fields are not as obvious in meaning as might first appear. For clarity some examples of each field follow:

Home – parenting; friendships; relationships among the residents; maintenance of the place of bed and board
Work –
whatever one is paid to do; home manager; one who gives his or her time in exchange for a service; school for students; volunteer work of the retiree or of the independently wealthy
Local community –
soccer referee; elected town officer; school board member
Wider world – writing a letter about social issues to the editor of a national publication; participant in an environmental group; worker for a county , state, or national political party
Leisure –
hobby; favorite recreation; care for our own physical or psychological health
Church – work as part of a congregation ’ s food shelf; reader of biblical selections in worship; home visitor The general pattern of the questions for each field follows accompanied by the assumptions that underlie each one.

The general pattern of the questions for each field follows accompanied by the assumptions that underlie each one.  Use the alternate wording as desired. Copy these as needed.

1. What has God been telling me or doing through my life in this mission field?
Assumption:  God is already present and at work in each of one’s mission fields.

2. What conditions inhibit reconciliation, justice, and love (peacemaking, fairness, and caring) in this mission field?
Assumption:  God’s characteristic works are reconciliation, justice, and love.  Hence, to begin to discern what God is already doing, look for what is blocking God’s characteristic works.  These will be the places where God is already working for change.

3. What change is needed to increase reconciliation, justice, and love (peacemaking, fairness, and caring) in this mission field?
Assumption:  The Holy Spirit works to align the Christian ’ s discernment of what is needed with what God is already doing.  This question draws on the unique being of each Christian.  Two parents in the same home will probably discern different needed changes.  Two workers in the same workplace will probably discern different needed changes.

4. What will I do to achieve this change considering my gifts, limitations, and convictions?
 Assumption: One draws on what one brings to the situation.  While growth into some new direction may well be called for, that new direction will be a logical next step in the Christian ’ s growth.

5.  What vision (description of what I will do) will I use to draw others into working with me for this change?
Assumption:  The Christian needs at least one person,but preferably a team, to share the mission.  The Christian ’ s companion or team may not share the Christian faith so a vision should be worded in non-theological language and worded in a way that stimulates in others desire to work for it.

6. How will I talk of God while I am sharing my vision (what I plan to do) or following through on it?
Assumption:  Rephrase the vision in explicit theological language to describe how God is at work in it.  Without explicit talk of God, Christian mission is incomplete.  Proclamation must include word as well as example.  These words may not be suitable for use with the non-Christian.  However, some non-Christians may be intrigued by the depth of the vision when God is implied, even named.

7. How will I invite others to join me at Jesus’ table to be fed and empowered to achieve this vision? (How will I encourage others to seek help in church life?)
Assumption: The Christian missionary must be part of a Christian congregation. The Word is read and spoken to clarify the purpose and direction of the mission.The Sacrament is shared to receive the power to carry on the mission.

Work through the questions in whatever order works for you.  For first users,as you think of one of the fields, what is it you are trying to do right now in that field to make it better?  What comes to your mind is your working answer to Question #4 in that field.  Write it in and then work your way back to the first question; then work ahead to the last question.  Fifteen minutes can be enough to work through the seven questions for a field.  Finally, when one mission is completed, be ready to repeat the questions to discern your next mission in that field.

B. Illustrate / improve on an actual set of one person’s answers for a mission field.

C. Each does one on their own – assign them so all six are fields are covered – rationale is all live all six all the time.

D. People in the same field share their responses.

E. Leader leads a group discussion / improvement of at least one response from each mission field.  Be guided by the following hints. Be rigorous but friendly.  #s 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are the places to be sure it is rephrased satisfactorily — either by you or one of them — before you leave it. Invite the participants to think with you as you go.  Indeed, where you have difficulty finding the words to use, one of them can usually come up with them or start all of you on a productive track.  They will most probably appreciate the skill-building of such procedure.  Better still, use role play as below for #s 4, 5, 6, and 7.

Specific hints for leading discussion during “E.”

These hints are phrased as if you were talking with a group — and are grouped by each of the seven questions.

#1:  Do name one thing you hear God saying or see God doing.

#s 2 and 3:  These usually take care of themselves. Listen to them for clarity.  They are doing the analyzing and, so, they are the experts.

#4:  Being specific to name just one thing you will do will lead you to being able to name the concrete details which are involved in carrying out the mission such as:  what you will actually do; the “setting” or where you will do it; and with or for whom you will do it.

The more specific you are, the more likely you are to carry out the mission and the more sharply can you express yourself in #s 5, 6, and 7.

In #s 5, 6, and 7, we need to try actual words we might use.  Words do count.  Without the practice of coming up with words we might use, we are clumsy at the best and offensive at the worst.  In #s 6 and 7, people may shy away from God-talk lest they sound like fundamentalists – yet this is just why we need to put it our own way so that there is a different voice being heard.  Think of it as a kind of role play.  Coming up with the actual words you might use is like the reality present in role play.  Better still, actually do role play of people’s answers – either one question at a time or all three depending on how you set up the roles.  Do just one role play with the rest of the group as observers; or put them in trios or fours to role play.  Takes longer but well worth it.

#5:  Watch for two things here.  Is the person focused on actually recruiting a team member?  Have they a sentence or two — three at the most — that expresses the vision in a way that will attract the would be teammate?

#6:  Watch for actual words, again — is God named or at least implied?  And words that could be said while actually recruiting a teammate.

#7:  The actual words are needed again.  And, the invitation needs to point to what the teammate(s) might receive that would help them with the specific mission.

As you lead, listen for the following notes.  Put them on newsprint so that they can think with you.

#1 God’s action named?
#4 Name just one mission
#5 Addressed to a possible recruit; brief and attractive
#6 Addressed to a possible recruit; still brief and attractive; God named or implied
#7 Addressed to a teammate; identifies how it might help with the particular mission

As above, when a report is heard, ask the others to help you to sharpen it.  Feel free to take the lead, when they are slow to get started. I f reluctance to speak continues, wait and encourage some to try with, “Just give it a try.  We will help you. Just get us started.”