In the previous post I mentioned two significant ways that Baptists are talking about Pioneer Ministry. In this post I am going to point to some scriptures that may serve as a stimulus for reflection. The nature of this brief post means that a full exegesis of the passage is not possible!
There is never going to be a straight line between reading the scriptures and seeing a direct application into Pioneer Ministry in the UK. The gulf in contexts are always going to present us with problems! However, there can be some observations that are worth making.
Scriptural trajectories for Pioneer Ministry within established churches, leading to engagement with those who are beyond the church:
- The Early Church grew out of the Jewish tradition and was initially embedded within the Jewish community.
- Jesus found himself in conflict with the religious establishment on a regular bass. Engrained religious conviction and habit, however well intentioned, did not always lead to a happy encounter with Jesus.
- Paul always went to the synagogue first. His role was persuading and proving that Jesus was the Messiah. In the occasions
- when he realized he was going to get no further, he moved on (Acts 18:5).
- When a local church needs the kind of Pioneer Ministry that facilitates and enables, reflection on Jesus and Paul’s approach may help develop an understanding of their own situation.
- There is always conflict in church life, it need not be seen as negative! Handling it well, and openly is often helpful. Peter’s encounter with Cornelius (Acts 11) can be a very helpful source to help both the Pioneer and the local church. When I look at this passage I see the cause of change (direct leading from God) and the outcomes (people coming to a new understanding of their faith) as a route to reconciliation.
Scriptural trajectories Pioneer Ministry that goes beyond the existing boundaries of the church:
- In the life of Jesus there are some interesting moments when he engages beyond the Jewish faith. The Woman at the well (John 4:1-26) and the “crumbs under the table” encounter (Matthew 25:1-28) are examples.
- Paul encounters mission beyond the current boarders of the church and responds creatively to the situations he finds himself in. The encounter at Antioch (Acts 17:16-34) is well worn territory when it comes to discussing mission at the frontiers. His encounters in Ephesus (Acts 19) present ethical dilemmas as his Ministry throws the town into uproar.
- Pioneer’s often report the need to listen carefully to the communities that they are involved in in order that they can use language that is appropriate to the context. Routine ethical dilemmas are often encountered in the course of a Pioneers work. These passages could provide material for Pioneers to reflect on.
The person who is involved in Pioneer Ministry is going to need to develop the ability to reflect on the things the see, say and do. Action/Reflection cycles (Wikipedia article) can be a useful tool. In Christian circles these have been adapted to include a spiritual element and are often referred to as the “Pastoral Cycle” (helpful book).
In the next post in this series I am going to mentioned some ways in which Pioneer Ministry in countries beyond the UK can provide stimulus and opportunity to learn.
Other Posts in this series: