A series of essays exploring what the church, considering its ongoing reformation begun 500 years ago, will look like in the next decade and beyond: A futurist’s snapshot of the Christian Church.
If the Reforming Church is to determine its mission by deploying the Spiritual Gifts of the Followers of the Way of Jesus Christ, then how are those gifts to be discerned?
For the Reforming Church serendipity is the word of the day. The Reforming Church recognizes that it cannot honestly say that it knows the will of God for its context of ministry. But it can say that God equips Followers of the Way with special gifts for service in their context of ministry. Sending Followers of the Way to be present in the neighborhoods and communities of the Church’s context, where they, the Followers, can discover themselves to be helpful and useful, Followers of the Way discern their Spiritual Gifts and the Reforming Church discovers its mission. That is to say, making the commitment to being present Followers of the Way, by serendipity, find themselves serving as God intends for them to serve – and the Reforming Church can become reasonably assured of realizing God’s mission for its context of ministry.
The Reforming Church exercises great care to know the culture of its context of service and ministry. In this regard, the Reforming Church leads with humility, never presuming that it either knows what God’s will is for the community, or what service may serve the common good of the community.
Of course, this creates an interesting dynamic for the church, as it is committed to equipping and preparing Followers of the Way before sending them into service. That preparation is ongoing and is always leading with the basic Fruit of the Spirit. It is with this assurance of character (Fruit of the Spirit) that Followers of the Way may enter their context of service. As Followers of the Way become increasingly aware of what is required of them to serve, the Reforming Church takes an agile footing with regard to equipping its servants.