by Wayne Schwab
Evangelism is the call to join the church. That is only half of Jesus’ story – and the smaller half, at that. The big part of Jesus’s story is calling the hearer to join his mission. We seldom get around to that. No wonder Christians are so mute and invisible on solving the issuers of the day – of adequate health care for all, a living wage, and care for “this fragile earth, our island home.”
When you talk of God, Jesus, and the church, go on to talk about joining the mission.
I have been working on evangelism for a long time. From the start, there was something missing. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s talk of the Jesus movement has been part of finding what is missing. Calling to join Jesus’ mission to make the world more loving and more just is the missing piece.
Mark’s Gospel has helped me the most. From the start, this first-written of the four Gospels tells of Jesus’ good news that God’s kingdom or reign is at hand (Mark 1:15). Eugene H. Petersen puts it this way in a present-day wording: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”
Now comes the “eye-opener,” perhaps for you as well as for me. Jesus’ first act is to call Simon (to be called Peter) and Andrew to join him, to live the good news of God’s reign. “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” Do not take “fishing for people” as fishing for believers and church members. Jesus is calling them – and us – to be part of his work, his mission to make the world more loving and more just.
Yes, evangelize and call to join the mission.
God loves you; God calls you to love others!