C.S. Lewis once wrote, “In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.” Lewis was talking about friendship, but he could have been talking about mission work. In this course, the Rev. Dr. Titus Presler argues that mission work has the potential to bring out valuable and unique aspects of our spiritual lives — to the benefit of ourselves, our missional partners, and the world.
Titus defines mission work as “ministry in the dimension of difference.” Just as there are sides of ourselves that only particular other friends can bring out, there are sides of our spiritual lives and of our world that only the “sending out” of mission work can bring out — encountering unfamiliar cultures and worship communities and experiencing worship brings out new sides of both the companion who journeys forth and the companion who offers hospitality. In this companionship, Titus argues, lies reconciliation that can heal the sin at the heart of of human divisiveness.
Humanity tends to be hostile to the “other.” Titus argues that we reconcile ourselves to one another across the lines of hostility and division every time we mindfully walk together in worship with people who differ from us. In mission work, we reach out to other groups of people precisely because they are different from us. When we worship with them, walk in companionship with them, let new aspects of ourselves and our communities emerge because of our interaction with them, we develop the sides of ourselves as individuals and as communities that Jesus asks from his disciples.
Jesus asks us to open our hearts to strangers and treat others as we wish to be treated. Our history has shown us that we have the capacity for both. In mission work, Titus argues, we reconcile ourselves and our cultures, across time and suspicion and sin, with one another and with God.
This course is ideal for anyone interested in mission work or missional theology. For a preview of the course, please click here.