Flexible Adjustments in Mission
By Rev KT Pun
July 10, 2022
Flexibly adjust to resolve difficulties: “Emergency preparedness” has become the talk of the town recently when the power supply problem erupted. The public is concerned about the capability and attitude of the departments concerned in response to infrastructural incidents. A storm may emerge out of the clear blue sky and not everything can be predicted by us. Nevertheless, “flexible adjustments” are indispensable. We must put in place reasonable measures to prepare for crucial matters. Flexibility and ability to cope are management qualities sought after by many organizations, which are also necessary for our daily lives. We need to be able to adjust our usual practices when obstacles or difficulties arise so as to attain the original goals and significance.
It is just like churches’ moving meetings to online platforms when the pandemic strikes. This has kept the operation of the church going. Such flexible management really stems from our insistence and zeal for faith life. It is also a flexible expression of our faith so that we can remain connected to Christ whether we gather in one location or are scattered.
Flexibly adjust to adapt: In a constantly changing world and environment, flexible adjustments of the church do not merely mean coping with emergencies or stocking up contingency resources (like preparing “first aid kits” for certain ministries). It is also to provide appropriate responses to the needs for the gospel as well as the growth of brothers and sisters. Therefore, everything from evangelism strategies to the organization of ministries, or from the culture of religious expression to modes of pastoring, we need to continually adjust to suit the new contexts.
Indeed, the church down the ages has always sought the most suitable ways to respond to various challenges. This was how a lot of sound doctrines, moving missional commitments and all sorts of spiritual pursuits have come about. The fourfold gospel of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) was also developed in response to contemporary missional needs. Under the banner of the four core aspects in the content of the gospel, C&MA recruited missionaries to flexibly respond to the gospel needs of different places together according to the key principles of faith.
Flexibly adjust to renew: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) We do not conform to the pattern of the world when we adapt. On the contrary, we insist on magnifying the all-surpassing power of the same gospel with different means of expression in changing contexts. We insist on providing appropriate and timely pastoring to brothers and sisters in a changing world.
We need the spirit of the C&MA to let the gospel come through more fluently through contemporary culture so the gospel will be spread far and wide. Then the next generation of believers will be able to develop new-generation faith expression in accordance with their culture. Then, the gospel will not only live but it will also be lived out.
Regardless of how, the times keep changing. Therefore, we must take heed of the environment. And from resolving difficulties to adaptation, from adaptation to renewal, let us show clearly the treasure (the gospel) in us so it will be magnified in different times as always.