3 Tasks of the Urban Minister

We all enjoyed Glenn’s talk at this years BICCI conference (Sept 2013) so much, I asked him for his notes to be able to remind you of his key points, so here they are. I hope you find them as inspiring as I did. Glenn Jordan is director of Skainos.

1. Energise the Imagination

Glenn quoted Walter Brueggemann, an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian who is widely considered to be one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades: It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination to keep on conjuring and proposing alternative futures to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.

It is the task of prophetic imagination and ministry to bring people to engage the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God.

What a commission it is to speak a future that none think imaginable!

2. Name the Fallenness

Ezek 33:21, 22  In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!”  22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the LORD was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.

Brueggemannprophets find their voices when the city has fallen. Name the fallenness.

3. Live ‘as if..’

Rediscovering of the ethical power of eschatology.

With this understanding of faith the church is to be a local community of people called together by God, empowered by the Spirit, to start living today as if the kingdom of God has already come.

What would it mean for us to start living today ‘as if’ the kingdom had already come?

What would it mean for our communities if the church started living as if the kingdom had come?

The Great Exchange

Matt 25

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these; you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Only two things to notice here.

1.  the initiative always lies with those who HAVE. We are not told that the poor, hungry, naked and thirsty must do anything.

2.  in the always enormous generosity of God he take our almost insignificant generosities and exchanges them. A cup of cold water receives the kingdom in exchange. The givers were not asked their understanding of atonement theology, their practice of communion or baptism.