“Sent for a Purpose” – What does this mean?

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I have spoken about this a little before, but I received a MA in Congregational Mission and Leadership from Luther Seminary.  Integral to this program is a study and immersion in missional theology which has a major focus on the idea of “being sent.”  It is with this in mind, that I am very excited about how Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, MN is shaping their 2013-2014 worship year around the idea of being “Sent for a Purpose.”  I am looking forward to hearing what they come up with this year.

In thinking briefly about this, I admit I wanted to reflect some on what this may mean.  So, here are my first thoughts on this, and this will very likely lead to more future posts.

I believe that we are all sent for a purpose.  From a Christian theological perspective this may be grounded best in Matthew 28.  The gospel of Matthew ends with the following verses, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV).

In this passage Jesus is commissioning the disciples.  He is affirming their call, and sending them out with a holy calling.  It is this sending which continues the process of sending which we acknowledge today.  In a Lutheran worship service, the last portion of the service is built around the idea of being sent.  This is not a notion of being sent into a Godless world, but rather that what happens in worship is connected with everyday life.  It is a notion that we are sent as God’s children to be about and to join in the work of God’s mission in the world.  It is grounded in the missional belief that we are not sent to “bring God” but rather to acknowledge God’s presence and to speak to it authentically.*  We are sent for a purpose to be about the building up of God’s kingdom, to be participants in God’s work and mission, and to hopefully be bearers of God’s love, peace, and reconciliation.

What this means for each person is as unique as their vocations, identities, families, and experiences.  But, the fact is that there is a belief here that we are all sent for a purpose.  What are you sent for?

I look forward to offering more blogposts on this question and these ideas as the year progresses. I also look forward to seeing what the people of Trinity discover as they explore this.

*Note: This is the case when believing that God is omnipresent (in all places).

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