Mission as loving a place

Indigenous mural at tregear, our 'place' until March 2011

Reframe for a moment the mission of your church in this way: mission as loving a place. Imagine mission that begins with affection for the people and streets of your local area. Imagine a congregation of Christians that delights in the shapes and personalities of its suburb and desires to bless it, care for it and speak into it. This congregation shares a conviction that they have been placed by God in this place, to love and to serve.

Leslie Newbigin writes: ‘It is of the very essence of the church that it is for that place, for that section of the world for which it has been made responsible.[1]’ Being for a place means more than running evangelistic programs. It is an orientation toward a local community, from within that community, displayed in a deep investment of time and love in its individuals, families and structures. From this position of investment we speak the liberating truth about Jesus.

[1] Newbigin, L. A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1994, p53f.


About Mark Glanville

Mark Glanville is a pastor-scholar who ministers in a missional urban community, Grandview Church, Vancouver. Mark is Professor of Old Testament and congregational studies at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix (missionaltraining.org), and he teaches at Regent College, Vancouver. Mark's research focusses upon the Pentateuch, biblical ethics, and mission. Mark has authored "Adopting the Stranger as Kindred" (SBL, 2018), "Reading Exodus: Society Reshaped by Kinship" (Lexham, forthcoming), numerous refereed articles (including in the Journal of Biblical Literature (2018), Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (2019), and Refuge Journal (2013)) and chapters on the Pentateuch, mission, and refugee related issues, as well as numerous popular articles. Mark is presently co-authoring a book, "Providing Refuge: A Missional and Political Theology." Mark is called upon to speak on in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. His previous career was as a jazz pianist in Sydney, Australia (Chick Corea and Wynton Kelly are his musical heroes).
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