Potent new concepts unfold for missions
Early goals for the new Office of Mission are striking, centered in the local church yet also envisioned as progressive within the denomination.
Tom Hoffmann’s statement to the Annual Conference about the concept is excerpted in this article. Rev. Hoffmann chairs the Mission & Service Ministry Team, which prayed about and pondered this initiative. Jeremy Basset is appointed to direct the new office.
Hoffmann: "The MSMT exists to connect the local church to God’s mission in the world. Two years ago, many of us started to dream…
"What if the MSMT became more about vision than supervision? Became the chief advocate and resource for local church missions? Could be in partnership with others, break new ground in dynamic ministries of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue and communities?
"What if we fostered an intentional institute of cutting-edge missions and became, for the denomination, the new training ground for the best of missionaries deployed across the world?
"In conjunction with the ACC (Annual Conference Council) and Craig Stinson, its director, we have established the new office, with a detailed plan to come next year. This year we are working on a number of fronts to see what God is asking us to do through this kind of an institution. We are:
(1) working to better connect mission with advocacy by helping local churches learn how to access resources and services from their local, county, and state entities on behalf of those in need in their communities;
(2) becoming more intentional in developing new ways for young adults to be involved in mission; and
(3) convinced we have to learn better ways to align our Christian vocation with our professional vocations, especially in contexts like Wesley Foundations, OCU, and other universities.
"Already in partnership with the Academy of Missional Formation, we are training a resource team to teach and facilitate in our Conference.
"Now, in Tulsa, encouraged by the district superintendent, partnerships with First UMC, Oklahoma Methodist Manor, and Epworth UMC are in the works to establish a number of micro-community houses.
"This happens when you ask the question: WHAT IF?"