Documents: What is a Mission Interpreter?What happens in a Council Visit?
What is a Mission Interpreter?
SHORT ANSWER: A mission interpreter is a follower of Jesus Christ whom God calls and equips to draw attention to what God is doing in the world and in the church. A mission interpreter expresses gratitude, tells what is happening, and invites participation in God’s mission.
LONGER ANSWER: A mission interpreter is a follower of Jesus with a lively sense that we have a living God on our hands. He or she speaks of God in the present tense, out of an awareness of God’s activity in daily life. A mission interpreter is someone who regularly stops…looks….listens….and tells about what God is doing. A mission interpreter regularly engages in faith practices—worshipping, praying, reading the Bible, serving, giving, passing on faith, etc.A mission interpreter is aware of some of the key ways the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is serving God’s mission of blessing the whole world and making all things new in Jesus Christ. He or she has a finger on the pulse of this church—in congregations, synods and our whole church body.A mission interpreter assumes that God is always out ahead of us and that God is continually at work in the whole world. So, when visiting a congregation, a mission interpreter will first be on the lookout for signs of God’s saving, healing, forgiving, enlivening presence and activity. A mission interpreter listens/watches/senses God at work….BEFORE he or she speaks.A mission interpreter gets a kick out of saying “thank you” on behalf of the whole Body of Christ. Because God is at work in every gathering of God’s people-large or small, loud or quiet, subdued or active-there are always good things to name, reasons to say “thanks for letting God use you!”A mission interpreter is a story-teller who knows that stories are among the most powerful ways we learn and grow and live into God’s transforming work in our midst. A mission interpreter is on the lookout for fresh ways to tell the stories of mission…..and he/she has a knack for “contextualizing” mission stories in each new situation.A mission interpreter builds up the Body of Christ by asking other disciples to respond to God’s surpassing goodness in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus our Lord. He or she realizes that part of the response God seeks involves the spiritual gift of generosity—and that God trusts us to be faithful and fruitful stewards of all that we have and all that we are. A mission interpreter is humble in spirit but bold to invite other disciples to do what God already wants them to do (1) --to grow in generosity (as individuals and in congregations) for the sake of God’s mission in the world.
(1) The phrase “what God already wants them to do” comes from a comment Dr. Paul Dovre made to a new gift planner on the
advancement team of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.