This bible study was created by a small group of people within the Diocese of Montreal as an initiative of the MAP implementation team. MAP is the new “Ministry Action Plan” of the diocese which is founded on the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion.
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
- In 2007, the Anglican Church of Canada proposed a sixth Mark of Mission, one relating to peace, conflict transformation, and reconciliation. We hope that reflections on this themes might be woven through the discussions on the other five marks of mission.
Within the Montreal plan there are specific desired outcomes, nevertheless this bible study is geared towards people and parishes beginning to think more missionally, encouraging them to begin to imagine what their church may look like in the next five to ten years, and in particular, what their Church’s mission and ministry will be shaped by, and directed towards. It is in that vein that we hope it may be helpful to parishes and church groups outside Montreal or outside the Anglican Church. Things in the church are changing; things in our parishes are changing. But as a group we are convinced that guidance for us will come from a renewed examination of our biblical texts, an examination set deeply within our own contexts.
As we set off into the next decade, we believe that the church’s survival depends on thinking missionally, indeed, without a Kingdom based mission and a God given purpose, why should our churches survive? When Jesus sent out the seventy (Luke 10:1-12) he purposely instructed them to “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals”, for in their mission, they were to trust entirely in God. So we too are looking for that kind of guidance, trusting that God will guide us in our study and in our mission. And so we are setting out, text in hand, looking into our world, and our neighbourhoods and finding God at work, even as we are looking deep within ourselves and asking “What is God calling me to do and say? How is God calling my parish to renew itself, while going out to be beacons of light and hope in our broken world?”
This bible study was initially conceived so that parishes could work and pray together over our biblical text during the season of Lent, developing seeds of growth for themselves and for their parishes. As we come to the end of our work, and begin formatting it for your use, our development team realized that there is nothing to prevent groups from doing this same work over Eastertide, or even at the beginning of the working year in September. As we were developing it, we had in mind a traditional sized group, anywhere from five to twenty, sometimes breaking up into smaller groups, sometimes working together. Each week should take one to one and a half hours, so conceivably this work could also be incorporated into a two day retreat, though I imagine that that would be rather intense work.
Finally we intentionally made each study session quite different so that participants could experience many different ways of approaching our text. We drew on participants’ experience, we drew on resources from the internet and in one example we drew on the experience in the wider communion, using a tried and true format produced by The Ujamaa Centre for Biblical & Theological Community Development & Research in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. Each session will look different, yet in the end our goal is the same, to seek God’s guidance in conjunction with our chosen texts, and inspired by that guidance to go out into the world to share God’s Good news, in action steeped in love.
This resource is offered freely, to any community that may find it useful or fruitful. All we ask is that you try your best to give some sort of feedback in the feedback forum; others would love to hear about your ideas and inspirations. Our beloved church needs more than ever to collaborate, to encourage one another, and most importantly, to rely on the guidance from God to bring us into new life and love through the Holy Spirit that guides and shapes all good things.
Jennifer Bourque, Karen Chalk, and Nicholas Pang
Montreal Marks of Mission by Jennifer Bourque, Karen Chalk, Nicholas Pang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License