Chaplaincy in a church shaped for Mission
(Adapted from an address given by Rev Leo Osborn, President of the Methodist Conference at the South East District Synod on Saturday 21st April 2012)
Reading: Luke 24 vv 13-35
Chaplaincy shines the spotlight on both the Mission of God and the Mission of the Church.
ENCOUNTER - "Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them" (v15)
• - In some translations "Jesus drew near". A reminder of prologue to John's Gospel.
• - "He came to dwell among us". An Incarnational "Down to Earth" God.
• - God meets people where they are - on the road, at the meal table etc.
So chaplaincy reminds us:-
• - These are still the places where God is found.
• - That Jesus never said "Come to church" but "Go and make disciples".
• - That questions about mission must always take priority over questions about maintenance (look at your Church Council/Circuit Meeting agendas!)
• - That the church is just as much the church when it is scattered on Monday as when it is gathered on Sunday.
ENGAGEMENT - "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" (v17)
So chaplaincy speaks to us:-
• - Of a willingness for others to lead the conversation not knowing where it might go.
• - Of a genuine interest, love and concern for people. What are our motives?
• - Of an intense listening.
• - Of the power of the "what things" question. (See v19) Try it!
EPHEMERAL MOMENTS - "He disappeared from their sight" (v31)
• - Whatever else the Resurrection appearances were they were fleeting.
• - When Jesus spoke it was to the point for neither He nor they might have this opportunity again.
So chaplaincy is about:-
• - Building bridges. Jesus "joins up the dots" in their minds.
• - Proclamation and prayer as well as presence.
• - Taking the opportunities that are presented and taking the risk of rejection.
• - Being unashamed of the Good News of The Gospel.
• - A church shaped for mission will be about these things too!
EVANGELISM - "Then the two told what had happened on the way" (v35)
• - But notice where the two went first - to the other disciples!
• - There was a mutual sharing of news.
Chaplains are not:-
• - Ministers or Lay People who can't hack "the real thing" - whatever that is! (Watch Angels of Mersey on Mondays 8pm BBC2 to see examples of this)
• - Bit-part players in the unfolding kingdom drama but central characters in helping us understand and implement our mission.
• - Available to talk to your church or Circuit about how you can help and affirm them and about how they can support you in the commission that Jesus gives to us all. "As The Father has sent me so I am sending you".