Liturgy Moves Us Toward Mission

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We are pleased to share this interview with Winfield Bevins, author of Liturgical Mission and Simply Anglican. The interview was edited for clarity and length.


Why were you interested in writing about liturgy and mission?

The book comes out of my own experience. I write and teach about liturgy and mission. The book is also a convergence of my life and ministry. I’ve been involved in planting churches worldwide, working with church leaders from 20 countries. But I am also an Anglican priest passionate about the liturgy and the sacraments. And if you look at the explosive growth of the Anglican Communion, it has happened through liturgical mission.

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Part of my purpose is to show that separating liturgy and mission is a false dichotomy; in fact, liturgy and sacrament are deeply missional and move us toward mission.

What is the meaning of the word liturgy?

The basic meaning of liturgy is “the work of the people,” and in its origins, it comes from the idea of work for the common good of society. In the life of the early church, the term was adopted to refer to our worship. It is what we do together, and it forms us for how we live the other six days of the week. When we leave church on Sunday, we have gathered together, heard the word, fed at the table, and are now being sent out as missionaries, whatever we do.

How does participation in the liturgy shape us for mission?

From the songs that we sing to the prayers that we pray to participating in the Eucharist, everything we do in church shapes the way we live outside of the church. One of the most important chapters in the book is on Trinitarian mission, where we are invited to join into the “Trinitarian Dance” of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Mission, in fact, does not begin with us but rather with God, and we are invited to join that mission.

So we can be missionaries in our own communities?

Absolutely. Mission is in our backyard. Consider the rapid growth of the early church. Every ordinary missionary demonstrated the love of God through hospitality, through meals, through ordinary spaces, where the mission really happens.

And the liturgy can help us to see that. The beauty of the liturgy is that it includes the common, ordinary things and ordinary people who are called to live out God’s mission.

The mission does not belong to professionals; rather, we are all called to join in God’s mission, every man, woman, and child. We can all recover the dinner table as a place of hospitality and evangelism. Every family can use their home as a place to invite others to come and see what it is like to be a Christian family. When we invite people into our homes, we become an icon of the family of God.

Published on

January 18, 2023

Author

Winfield Bevins

Winfield Bevins is the author of Simply Anglican and numerous other books and the Director of CREO Arts. He lives in Kentucky with his wife and daughters.

View more from Winfield Bevins

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