On Form, we have a Bible reading plan. This plan has three tracks; one starting at Genesis, one at Job, one at Matthew. The idea is that, if we follow all three tracks, we should have finished the Bible by the end of Form. We’ll see how that goes. Back to the present, and I recently finished Matthew. It’s not the first time I’ve read Matthew, and, as on each of the other occasions, God revealed something to me through this read.
When Jesus sent out the twelve for the first time, he told them;
“Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.” – Matthew 10: 5 – 8 (MSG)
So how can we do this? Without going into too much detail, here at Church for Students (and in the wider St. Thomas Crookes community) we have a system of cells and clusters. Just to be clear, a cluster is a missional community, which is exactly as advertised; a small community with a mission-based vision. Each cluster is split further into cell groups. These clusters usually meet up for some form of mission or outreach on a weekly or biweekly basis. This outreach varies from cluster to cluster, and is linked with the cluster’s vision.
I appreciate mission may sound like a terrifying prospect, so I’d like to share two things with you. The first comes from a session we had with Nick Haigh about mission. He gave us two potential definitions, the truth lying, in my opinion, in a mixture of the two. The key words in the two definitions were “response” and “participation”.
Basically, it’s not about us; it’s about God.
When we respond to God’s incredible love and grace through mission, God uses us to do something he’s doing anyway. For more on this, I urge you to read Hannah’s blog, “It’s not about me, it’s about God”. The second thing I’d like to share is from the Bible, again from Matthew 10;
“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t miss out on a thing.” – Matthew 10:42 (MSG)
I used to be (and to a certain extent still am) pretty active in one of the water bottle clusters, RAVE. I remember the first time I went to give out water with them. To start with, I was so far outside my comfort zone it was almost funny. Despite (perhaps even because of) what turned out to be an challenging night, I had an absolute blast. Now, it’s something I look forward to. Of course, sharing God’s love by blessing clubbers with bottles of water is only one form of outreach. If it doesn’t sound like something for you, we have so many different forms of outreach that I’d be amazed if you can’t find something that is.
So, in conclusion, if you’re not involved in a cluster, please get involved in one. I’ve only really written about the “missional” part of “missional community” here, but the community is also really important. Cells and clusters meet up on a regular basis for Bible study, food, worship and to just hang out. Being in community is a great way to meet friends, meet God (“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)) and to live life better as we encourage and build up each other. You might need to shop around to find the one for you, but once you’ve found the right one, you’ll love it. If you’re in a cluster, I really urge you to get involved in your cluster’s outreach. I appreciate not everyone can get involved due to other commitments. If that applies to you, I urge you to get praying for your cluster’s mission. Prayer is an incredibly powerful and underrated tool.
For information on specific clusters and their visions, take a look at the cards available on the wall next to the printer, opposite the reception desk. Alternatively, ask any of the friendly people with badges at one of the gatherings, and they’ll be happy to help.