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On Easter Sunday, and the Second Sunday of Easter, in addition to the theme that Christ is risen from the dead and the tomb is empty, there is the additional theme or challenge that we go tell people this wonderfully good news.  On Easter, Jesus told Mary to go tell his brothers that he is ascending to the Father, and on the Second Sunday of Easter we read how the disciples told Thomas “We have seen the Lord,” and then Jesus saying “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”  From the beginning, evangelism has been a part of a Christian’s life and focus.  We have heard the good news and it is such good news that we can’t help but share it.  At least, that’s the hope.  The reality is most of us are a bit more private with our faith and our evangelism efforts. If you doubt the truth of that last statement, ask “When was the last time I shared my faith with someone, or invited them to come with me to church?”  What was your answer?  Most will answer that question with a single word – “Never!”
 
I understand how hard evangelism and sharing the good news can be.  We’re always worried that if we share our faith, we might be asked a question we can’t answer.  Or, someone might think we are religious fanatics.  (If only we were religious fanatics with our invitations!  How great that would be.) The truth is that we are cautious with sharing our faith, hesitant to make ourselves vulnerable to others or possibly experience criticism. So, we simply attend church while remaining quiet about the importance of our faith and what it means to know that our Savior walks with us through life. But somebody, somewhere, is involved in sharing the gospel about God’s love and our Lord’s resurrection.  There’s the old saying (which is quite true) that the church and the Christian faith are only one generation from extinction.  If we do not share the gospel with the next generation, then they will not know the gospel, and not knowing it, they cannot share it either.

Yet, if the gift God gives us of a Savior is important and meaningful to us, the question becomes “Why don’t we share it?” We share news and information about other things that are important to us, and we do it very easily. We talk about cars, boats, jobs, children, and grandchildren.  What would happen in our family, our community, and our world, if we talked about Jesus as the way to salvation and eternal life? I reread this past week that the mission of the church is not feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, or social justice.  We do that as the Church, and we do it very well, but it is not the mission. The mission of the Church is to introduce Jesus Christ and salvation. And that happens when we share the gospel about Jesus Christ – when we evangelize.

Elizabeth Marchant is our Evangelism Committee Chair.  Our Committee is a bit thin at the moment and we are asking for volunteers. The Committee does many things but they, too, have as an essential focus the sharing of the good news about Jesus Christ. 

We do this as we increase our visibility in the community, as we advertise we are an active and welcoming church, when we share the awesome nature of God through worship, and yes, when we invite people to come and see what St. John’s is about. Give some thought to calling Elizabeth to see how you can help share this wonderful Christian community with other people.

I recently heard about a church that had disbanded their Evangelism Committee as we would normally define such a committee.  As I heard the story, it went something like this: during the announcements before worship, the pastor said their church didn’t need an Evangelism Committee anymore, because every member of the church was a member of that committee simply because they were a member of the church and Christian.  Every member is asked and challenged to invite people to church.  They didn’t need a Committee to do that, not if everyone took their role as followers of Jesus seriously.

How about us?  Do you think we can be serious enough about our faith that all of us become members of the Evangelism Committee?  I hope so!  My challenge to you is this: share the good news of Jesus Christ with others and invite them to join you at St. John’s as together not only do we know Christ, but we make Christ known.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Pastor Butler +