I really enjoy the accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus at the end of John’s gospel. The beginning of John 21:1-14 shows Peter and six others by the sea of Galilee. We often imagine that life for the disciples was constant action and overlook the amount of waiting they did – very reassuring. Here they are waiting, yet again. Peter announces that he is going fishing – in the waiting he is simply going to do something he can do – fish. Of course that is what he was doing when first called and he encounters Jesus once again in the process of fishing. So often we focus on the miracle – a net-breaking catch of fish – and miss other things. Encounters with Jesus are often in ordinary things – they are extraordinary in the the ordinary, the ordinary things we can do are often the things that we encounter Jesus in. Recently Rachel Wilkinson and Elaine Higgins started Stuffers – an MSC forming around something that they can do – crafts – something they enjoy doing and expect other people will like to do. When Penny and I started Allsorts MSC we just simply did something we could do – something we could start with: had people round to eat together…. and we are continuing to do that together encountering Jesus as we go.
Missional Communities aren’t rocket science. They are essentially simple…… shaped around things that we can do and want to do together because the God of mission is at work and we will encounter him in the midst of it and on the way. There may be lots of change after that but it’s okay….. you’ve got to start somewhere – why not start with what you like doing, what you can do and what can occupy you while you wait expectantly for the guaranteed encounter with Jesus.
I think that is one of the keys to starting an MSC – simply doing something – clarity of vision follows. Resurrection Bikes is another example of this. John Rowe and Andy Ryland get involved in doing something – something they like doing and it grows and develops. “Let’s just do something we enjoy” grows into, well, something else – they realise that what is developing needs focus, encouragement and a way forward and so Resurrection Bikes is born, an emerging Kairos MSC.
Over the last couple of weeks two more Kairos MSCs have emerged. As I think about them I’m reminded of the way in which Peter took a group of friends who were gathering with him off on his little fishing trip. Pippa & Matt, Ben & Helen have both got people who are simply happy to go ‘fishing’ with them. Going together is so important – starting with a group who are willing to go and do something. These two MSCs also have a sense of vision, to young adults and young families respectively – they know what they are fishing for.
Of course we aren’t all called to start an MSC – some of us simply need to function like the six others that were with Peter – they replied to Peter’s statement “I’m going out to fish” saying “we’ll go with you”. I’m pretty sure that Nathaniel – one of the disciples mentioned wasn’t a fisherman which is helpful to know – he just went along & I guess did what he was instructed to do to contribute to the trip. Perhaps you are really committed to participating in missional community and need to say to someone else who has a vision “we’ll go with you”. Missional community /Mission shaped community is nothing without vision and even less without community! Let’s be people who say “we’ll go with you”.
As I reflected further on this passage I was thinking about the simplicity implied in the life with Jesus that we see in these encounters – this again is what MSC life is all about – keeping things simple. Last Saturday we hosted a Discipleship & Mission Workshop day and one of the things that people participating noted was how profoundly simple the Triangle: UP IN OUT is and how effective it can be in keeping us focussed and effective.
What’s God saying to you at the moment? Maybe reflecting on this encounter in John 21 may help.