I did it. I went to the Program, Budget, and Finance (PB&F) meeting and I testified. I engaged in the very system I hate, so that I might call the Church outward and upward toward evangelism.
As I finished my brief testimony, there were shouts of “Amen!” and applause. It is the mind of this Church to move beyond the either/or mentality that says if we talk about Jesus we can’t talk about social justice and instead embrace the reality that talking about Jesus brings with it changed hearts and minds and moves us toward a more just society.
Today in the House of Deputies, we have a chance to turn the mind of the Church into concrete action. We are scheduled to take on four resolutions, B009 – Digital Evangelism; D005 – Church Planting; D009 – Revitalization of Congregations; and A012 – Mission Enterprise Zones which combined, call the Church to put its money and energy into spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. These resolutions come with a big price tag, $11.7m over three years, but the reality is that even at nearly 10% of the triennial budget, this is just a drop in the bucket. We must embrace evangelism, not in order to save the Church, but in order to fulfill the commandment of Jesus to “Go!” and to live more fully into our identity as his followers, disciples, and apostles.
In the Gospel lesson for Sunday, Jesus sends the 12 out two-by-two. Mark tells that they followed his directions and “went out and proclaimed that all should repent.” Those who had been disciples became apostles, that is “one who is sent,” by following the command of Jesus to go into the neighborhood, traveling lightly, to share the Good News. The Episcopal Church has a similar opportunity. We are being called to go, to share the Good News, and to change the world to the honor and glory of God. It is time for the Church to stand up and re-commit itself to evangelism, not just by passing resolutions that make us feel good and not merely by throwing money at it, but by each member becoming an Apostle: taking seriously Jesus’ call to “Go and make disciples.”