“Mission is finding out where the Spirit is at work, and joining in.”
This statement (which has been variously attributed to a range of missiologists — so it must be true!) echoes what I have always felt to be at the very heart of our Quaker mission work. God is already working in the world, changing lives and transforming communities. There is no place on earth that is “unreached” by God. There is no culture that can not offer us a glimpse of the Holy Spirit. There is no person who does not already bear the image of God.
Our job, then, is to discern what God is up to, in each place, among each community, at each moment in time. Stop, look and listen. Find out what’s already going on,before taking any action. Look especially for who is marginalized and silenced, for you will see Jesus in their midst. Find those who are transgressing social boundaries and discrimination for the sake of radical inclusion, and there you will find God. Take note of where joy is bubbling up, healing is taking place, love is spreading and conflicts are being reconciled, as these are signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Discern — and then join in. Put our energies in the service of God’s purpose. Join those already on the journey and walk alongside them.
Perhaps we can say that the task of “making disciples” is simply this; to inspire ourselves and others to put all our energies in the service of God’s purpose, to find out where the Holy Spirit is at work and join in.