by Rev. Laura Barclay
Preaching for the Missional Journey is a resource published by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and compiled by Charles B. Bugg who has served as a pastor, homiletics professor, and dean of Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity. This book of sermons by various preachers from around the country can be used in bible study, Wednesday night studies, planning teams, and retreats. The hope is that these resources might help your faith community to live into a missional existence. As Bugg says in the introduction, “The church is on mission not because a few persons in the church have a ‘thing’ for missions but because the Spirit is the creative and energizing force for the whole community of faith” (4). In this way, the church may follow God out into the world instead of clinging to long-running programs that may not be working anymore.
The first sermon is written by Rev. Darryl Aaron of First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue in Winston-Salem. He discusses the idea of facing a time, like Esther, when we “have to live out our private purpose for the public good” (11). He sites Rosa Parks and others who are tired of injustice and must take a stand for what is right, encouraging you and me to be ready to be called by God to “risk something big for something good” (13). Rev. Robert Baker, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Kentucky, encourages us to stop “playing church” like children going through the motions and “be the body of Christ” (19). Rev. Amy Butler of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, shares that letting the Spirit move in our congregations may be chaotic and change the way we operate, “blowing everything out of order, turning things on their heads, creating a situation that breaks every conventional idea of what God and church and faith are supposed to be” (33). We must be open to this as those on the Day of Pentecost, and look for new possibilities. Rev. Emily Hull McGee, Minister of Young Adults at Highland Baptist Church encourages us in a dual sermon with her father, Rev. David Hull, to see ourselves as the innkeeper in the story of the Good Samaritan and view ourselves as “entrusted with the job of tending wounds, creating hospitable space, bringing about healing, and supporting the recovery process” (65). Rev. Carlos Dario Peralta of Encuentro Ministries asks us to focus on impact over church attendance, and view God as “alive and active, transforming people and communities around the world” (81). In doing so, we can learn to “build bridges that bring us closer rather than walls that separate us” (81). These preachers and many others help to point toward a vision of the church as a living entity where members branch out into the community, with every member being a minister to people of all backgrounds. We do this not to gain church membership numbers. Instead, we do this because we are called by God to serve one another for the sake of the Kingdom, not the institution.
This resource is hope-filled and energizing, and could be used in a variety of settings. There are questions for reflection at the end of every chapter, as well appendices in the back with examples and further resources. To learn more or purchase this resource, check out this link to the CBF store: http://shop.1asecure.com/prod.cfm?ProdID=374301&StID=10604.