“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.
Happy Epiphany! Epiphany began last Sunday and will last until the beginning of Lent (Feb 14). This is a great time of the year for congregations to look at the mission opportunities that they enjoy locally and beyond! Some congregations are comfortable with the idea of “strategic Planning”, “visioning”, etc. Others are not. However, there is good reason for every congregation to access where they are and where they are headed. “What are our priorities?” “Are we retaining our baptized and our confirmed?” “Are we a healthy congregation in terms of our preaching, teaching and sustainability?” “What are our outreach – evangelism plans for the coming year?” (We have now re-baptized the concept of intentional outreach and/or evangelism. We did go through a little period of wondering whether or not evangelism was really our mission. We have now re-decided that it is a vital part of our ministry. It is included of course in the Rite of Installation – “Do the work of an evangelist.”)
The truth is that sharing the Good News of the Gospel is vital to a congregation. It is even more important for those who hear and believe! When a congregation understands this it is exciting indeed! When a congregation knows that “in-reach” and “outreach” are two sides of the mission “coin” the members do not need to flip a coin about which to do – we do both of course! Since there was a bit of confusion for a while, it is going to be necessary for the pastor to lead the charge into the mission field. Leading and teaching allows us the privilege of “equipping the saints” for the lively work of ministry!
Let me urge you to make that part of your Epiphany joy in 2018!