by Jeff Jeremiah, Stated Clerk
Our EPC mission statement declares, “We exist to carry out the Great Commission of Jesus as Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Missional congregations.” Four characteristics in this statement define us: Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical and Missional. Let’s focus on “evangelical” for a moment.
I’ve often described what we mean by “evangelical” in the EPC this way: “We joyfully, boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ; that salvation is found in the Son of the living God. Jesus Christ can be known, trusted, loved and embraced as personal Savior and Lord. This salvation is found in no one else. As Jesus said in John 14, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.’ To be evangelical reminds me that it’s all about Jesus Christ and the Gospel.”
A recent article that sparked soul-searching as to how we act on our commitment to Christ and the gospel was written by Thom Rainer, our 2015 General Assembly Workshop speaker. On February 23, he posted “Fifteen Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today.” In an attempt to assess where we are in this matter and how we might strengthen this important commitment, I invite you to read this two-page article and respond to the following questions:
- Do you agree with Rainer’s argument that we are less evangelistic than we were ten or twenty years ago?
- If you agree with Rainer’s argument, what are some of the “15 Reasons” that are evident in your church?
- Do you have any suggestions as to how we might address this problem?
If you’re comfortable sending me your responses, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.