The North American House of Bishop met in Bel Air, Maryland just prior to the consecration of Bishop Rob Northwood. A great deal of the meeting centered around our morning time of prayer. Following this time of prayer, the Bishops decided to call for a year of evangelism.
Every year should be a year of evangelism.
The call for a year of evangelism is not suggesting that at the end of the year we stop evangelizing. Rather, that together we are taking a year with every parish, mission, and ministry in the North American Church to pray, listen, reflect, and evaluate the churches evangelist works. Bishops have committed themselves to; teach evangelism at our clergy gatherings, to engage in conversation with every Rector/Vicar and his councils, to develop a diocesan plan of evangelism, and to engage is spirit directed evangelistic efforts. It also is calling for every pastor to engage his congregation in the work of evangelism.
They recognized that every region of North America is different and will call for different types of activity. They recognized that every parish is different with a different demographic. They recognized that every person is unique and yet, they believe that every one of us, every parish, and every region is called to evangelism. 1 Timothy 2.4 informs us that the will of God is that every person is saved and comes to know the truth.
There are many definitions of evangelism, but I think Archbishop William Temple gave the best definition. He said, “Evangelism is to so present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their savior and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the Church.”
Evangelism is fulfilling what our Lord Jesus commanded in Matthew 28.16-20. This is the Church’s mission statement.
I am excited about what God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is going to do within our communion and among us as a people. I am excited because when people set their heart towards the presence of Jesus and His Kingdom, the Holy Spirit moves in miraculous and supernatural ways to fulfill the purposes of God.
Let us pray every day, a simple prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hardwood of the cross that everyone might come within reach of your saving embrace. So, cloth us (me) in your Spirit, that we (I), reaching forth our (my) arms in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your name.”
Under His mercy,
+Craig, Patriarch, Primate