INDIANAPOLIS – “What is God’s mission?” This was the important question the Rev. Dr. Paul Chilcote, Professor of Wesley Studies and Mission at Ashland Theological Seminary and a member of the Indiana Conference, put before two-dozen participants several times during the latest Wesleyan ConneXion event. The four-hour seminar was held at North United Methodist Church Nov. 11 under the banner “Mission in the Wesleyan Tradition: Tensions and Transitions.”
Chilcote led with two principles: Our Wesleyan mission comes out of theology on how God created, and that our Wesleyan concept of mission is founded on a robust theology.
In summary, he said, “We start with a God of grace and love, a God we know in Jesus Christ,” he said. This leads to two fundamentals: “God’s grace of creation and God’s grace of redemption.” God’s mission is the wholeness of the world. That must be our mission, too.
He said, “Mission is based on God who comes to us in Jesus Christ stripped of everything but love. Jesus comes to us as the fullest manifestation of God – all wise, all good.”
As followers of Christ, Chilcote said as a church in the 21st century, we need to be clear about God’s mission. We also need to understand who we are – a movement or a church. And, we need to determine what our role is in God’s mission. That comes best in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Chilcote affirmed that The United Methodist Church got it right with the goal “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
He said Christian people are drawn into community. “There is no such thing as a solitary Christian. We learn how to love in the same way we have been loved in God through Jesus Christ… All are called to be bearers of mission…
“We live that (faith) out in mission – that is the reason of being for the church,” he said.
He said today, mission begins where we live and extends outwardly. Everyone is a missionary because of our baptism. With Wesley, evangelism, mission and justice are all one. During the past century we separated them even into denominational boards. They need to be brought together into one organization.
Another important aspect of mission today is that we do God’s mission WITH others and not TO others. Our goal is sustainability and interdependence in healing of all God’s creation.
Participants also experienced mission during lunch, when they joined in the noontime luncheon at North Church catering to homeless people. The weekly luncheon is provided by volunteers.
For more information about the Indiana Conference Wesleyan ConneXion, visit inumc.org. Click on Resources and Wesley ConneXion.
God’s mission is the wholeness of the world.