One of the central and time-honoured pillars of the Moore College community is the annual week of mission. Planning for this year’s mission began two years ago and involved a co-ordinated evangelistic drive involving ten different teams in the George’s River Region, pastor training in the Solomon Islands and mission teams being deployed to work with the Armidale Diocese, the Presbyterian Church in Bathurst and Maitland Evangelical Church. We hoped to partner with churches in inviting people to large public gatherings, meeting strangers in public spaces, hosting meals and engaging in as many face to face conversations about Jesus as possible throughout the week. In God’s providence, none of these plans came to pass in anything like the form we expected.
Two and half weeks before the mission was due to start it became clear that things were changing very quickly. Our plans which might otherwise have seemed quite traditional, would’ve been transformed into acts of great recklessness and indifference in the face of the pandemic.
At this point it was tempting to think that we should throw our hands in the air and cancel the mission. The truth of course is that the world needs the good news of Jesus now as much as at any point in history, and in fact a renewed openness to the gospel began to emerge as the proud boasts secularism were exposed to the cold light of the new day. We are not in control, we are not buffered from one another or from the invisible forces that press upon us, and stamping our feet while wishing things were different to how they are does not change reality. The world needs the good news of the Lord Jesus.
In an anxious time of physical distancing, self-isolation and restricted movement – how would we reach our friends and neighbours with this news? It was clear that a radically new approach was needed. Around College we began to brainstorm ideas about how to serve the church and reach the lost during a prolonged period of self-isolation. We asked church leaders what they would like us to do. From these lists we devised 24 projects that students, chaplains and faculty could work on during the mission week – primarily to produce resources for others to use.
So, during the week of College Mission each of us agreed to do four things, and the first three at least are things that we can all continue to be committed to.
- Pray – for the world in the face of the pandemic, and especially for those who face this without knowing Jesus.
- Share our testimony of what has done in our lives and the difference that makes. Many of these testimonies were video recorded and shared, some were shared in long overdue calls.
- Phone those we know (or from our churches) who are vulnerable or isolated at this time.
- Contribute to the work of at least one of the combined projects.
This was a week of mission absolutely unlike any other in the College’s history, and yet, all of the most important elements were exactly the same as they’ve always been. The heart of College mission is being sent into God’s world, with God’s unchanging good news of salvation in the Lord Jesus – that people might hear, repent and believe, and so have eternal life. The details of the languages and communication methods we use, as well as the contexts of the people we are trying to reach, are always changing. This is the season we have been called to be faithful in, and there is much to rejoice in and give thanks for.
By: Simon Gillham