Mission and spirituality

Posted Sep 26, 2013 | Center for Pastoral Excellence


By Verity A. Jones

Verity JonesHow do pastors manage the interplay between spirituality and mission? How do we engage in the deep spiritual practices of our traditions, like prayer and celebration, in ways that lead our communities into a deepening engagement with the world? How do pastors who are attuned to issues of social justice teach in a way that makes room for our faith communities’ deepest spiritual needs at the same time?

In this blog, we have attempted to explore these types of questions in pastoral ministry. We are inspired by the driving vision of Christian Theological Seminary to imagine theological education as that which can teach and form leaders of all kinds in this dynamic interplay between mission and spirituality.

In a curious partnership between Odyssey Networks (a multi-religion coalition that produces and distributes media),the Huffington Post (a hugely popular blog site that is largely secular), and a few other major outlets like Day1 and TextWeek, the new resource, ON Scripture (Bible and Torah), was born last year.

The idea behind ON Scripture is to create biblically grounded weekly reflections in light of major current events. The creators say, “The biblical text is the point of departure for the column. The current news is the context.” It’s not solely intended to be a weekly preaching prompt for pastors, but rather to engage non-church people who are interested in a religious perspective on current events.

I found the discipline of writing a column for ON Scripture last week to be a useful example of managing the interplay between mission and spirituality. I am concerned for the health and vitality of the world and all of its people, whom I understand to be God’s people. So I wrote on economics and wealth. But as a person of faith, my concern for our nation’s economic recovery is grounded in the Bible. I am constantly moving between the dynamic poles of faith and service, prayer and justice, spirituality and mission, because this is where people live today.

I hope you will let me know what you think about the column. It’s a discipline I want to foster more fully in my own ministry.

Verity A. Jones is the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary.

The Center for Pastoral Excellence at CTS addresses the long arc of ministry from discernment to training to sustaining excellence ministry. To request permission to repost this content, please contact centerforpastoralexcellence@cts.edu.