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Somehow the word Evangelism conjures up so many images in our minds, but not all of them positive. Why? Are we afraid that we might look like one of those door knocking groups who wear people out? Are we afraid it might mean we have to get out and do something outside our personalities? Or are we afraid of __________? (fill in the blank) What are we afraid of? Why so much conversation around a word that has been used to define a calling of those who follow Christ? We don’t seem to struggle with the word Disciple. I think we can grasp the idea that a disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who makes disciples. Disciples make disciples. Disciples MAKE disciples. For that to happen someone must meet people, build relationships and present the message about faith in Jesus Christ. Use whatever word you wish but you will not get around the definition. Declare, present, proclaim… the word used in Scripture is to evangelize. It is not that we proselytize, coerce, or manipulate but that we simply share about God’s great love shown to us in Jesus. Evangelism is the work of a disciple. Working to do all that is possible to help people to come to know God. We proclaim the message of Jesus Christ. It involves serving others in various forms of ministry. It calls our attention to the work of seeking justice for those who have no voice or are struggling due to circumstances outside their control. Those who were commissioned by Jesus to go into the world were called apostles. By definition, an apostle is “one who is sent.” As United Methodists, our ministry across the connection is one of apostolic ministry. The bulk of our clergy are itinerant- sent to the work of the mission field. Our laity do ministry where they live, work and function- sent from the worship service to the mission field about them. Apostles are at work sharing Christ, teaching what it means to follow Christ and sending more people out with the same work. This work takes many forms but the bottom line is getting the message of God’s love and hope in Christ Jesus to the world. Apostolic ministry is Evangelism, Disciple making and deploying Christians to do ministry. Sharing, teaching, sending. The framework of the local church, the District and the Conference is this common message: to know God, to proclaim Christ, to serve others and seek justice. We do this together. It is a collaborative work. Pastors working with and helping other pastors. Congregations working with and helping other congregations. People working with and helping other people. The bottom line is the mission field. The common work of ministry is to do all we can to show our world, our communities, our mission fields and everyone we meet God’s love in Christ Jesus. We work together to Evangelize… to share our faith in Christ, that we may be at work to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our world.

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