Doing More vs. Doing Better

Here is a question that I hope everyone cares about: How can we do more mission together as a congregation?

Now, there are two ways to answer the question. The first and more obvious answer is simply to do more stuff. More activities equal more mission. Therefore, if we want more mission, we just need to add events to the calendar. The logic is clear here – but so is the cost. Doing more requires asking more of people. If this method is effective, it is also taxing. A church that is intent to always do more will be a church whose members are often flagging.

Fortunately, there is a second way of answering the question. This is not to do more, but rather to do better. Here the objective is to take what is already happening and to continually improve it. Often, this might mean not adding new missional events to the calendar, but adding a missional element to something already scheduled. For example, a youth event can simply be an in-house event for teenagers already attending HEC, or a banner can be printed and a wider invitation offered so that the scheduled event becomes a missional outreach.

The great benefits of this second method are ease and simplicity. By focusing on doing better (instead of doing more) we conserve the limited time and energy of our members. We ensure that people are not so tied up with church activities that they lose their freedom for the other frontlines that God has given them i.e. work, family, friends, and additional service opportunities.

Keeping the latter model in mind, we will soon be adding a missional element to two regular events that happen in the life of HEC. First, we are going to try having a meal together in the church before the first prayer meeting of each month. This is not a new concept. A lot of churches with thriving ministries among students and young professionals do something like this. Such churches recognise that a meal can be a powerful incentive to showing up to a meeting. A free meal both saves money (something of great appeal not least to students) and saves time (something of great appeal not least to professionals). But, in fact, a meal does more than this. It becomes a regular missional event on the calendar. Think of how much easier it is to invite someone to a meal than to a prayer meeting! The beauty of this model is that, by doing one, you are also doing the other.

Second, we are going to make some changes to our summer picnic. As wonderful as it has been to get away for an afternoon together near West Linton, such distance is a barrier to inviting new people to the event. Not everyone is willing (or able) to travel outside of the city.

The plan this year will be to host the event on Saturday 22nd June both at the church building and at Montgomery Street Park. God willing, this will enable us to add a missional element to the summer picnic. (The Mission Team is diligently working on the details.) After all, if we are going to make the effort of organising a day of food and games, why not be creative to think of ways of inviting the wider community to take part in the fun? We need to remember that much of our salt and light is the shared life that we enjoy together. The more we can get ourselves out of the building and out into the wider community, the more the basket will be lifted and our light seen.

I think most of us at Holyrood long to be able to do more missional events as a congregation. Yet, many of us are aware that resources are limited in terms of people, energy, and time. Let’s be praying that God continues to draw in new church members who have a vision and passion for local outreach. But while we wait for such prayers to be answered, let’s do something more. Let’s also look for ways to improve our shared life so that more outreach can happen – not by doing more – but by doing better.