Worship and Mission After Christendom
Although worship and missions have often been separated, Eleanor Kreider explains that they are “absolutely intertwined.” During this November’s conference, Worship and Mission After Christendom, Alan and Elanor Kreider expounded upon this relationship. Alan Kreider, retired professor of Church History at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and his wife Eleanor, a musician, are both ordained Pastors and were missionaries in England for 30 years. The conference explored the facets of worship and mission through worship, lectures, and group discussions.
Alan explains that when we worship, we are “ascribing worth” to God and claiming that Jesus is Lord. As such, the idols of our hearts are dethroned and we are formed to become people of mission. This process is meant to be a dynamic cycle within the community. Alan remarked that all people have a longing for God that often surfaces when something unsettling happens, such as natural disaster or war. He challenged those in attendance to consider how their Church can be present in the community in times of need.
Rose, MDiv Pastoral student, was moved by the call of the conference in contrast to our materialistic society, “I’m struck by how to use my resources,” she continues, “mission is not out there somewhere, [it’s] right where you are. When you confess you’re a Christian, mission begins with that confession.”
The conference emphasized the role of the Church in the post-Christendom era, a time of opposition to Christianity but also of opportunities for the Church. Alan notes that, in this context, gathering for worship is crucial as it gives clarity in a confusing world and calls Christians to be involved in God’s projects.
Joel, MDiv Pastoral student, was moved by the description of the post-Christian culture in the U.K. As an Indian, Joel acknowledges that British missionaries played a crucial role in bringing the Gospel to his country. Now, he is compelled to pray for the U.K. as they have lost the knowledge of Christ.
Eleanor calls Tyndale a “multicultural milieu,” and she and Alan call on Tyndale to continue growing in their role within God’s kingdom. Their desire is that, as Christians worship, we would be a “foretaste of the world made whole as we gather,” bringing hope to a disoriented and hopeless world.