The second word of the “The Great Commission” is “go.” This is a call to action, “go” is a verb. Jesus did not say to his Apostles, stay in your pews and disciples will gather around you. It occurs to me that most if not all of the individuals I know within my United Methodist Congregation are already believing, disciples, somewhere along their path of following Jesus Christ. If we are to “make” (another verb) disciples, clearly that indicates that we must be working with those who are currently non-believers. We are supposed to be working with raw materials. We need cultivate followers from those who currently find no use for religion. We need to be speaking to those who feel the Bible, and Church and religion are antiquated ideas that have no place in our “modern” time.
In spite of the fact that we are located in Northern Virginia, surrounded by an affluent, well-educated population, when I look around I see vast amounts of lonely, hurting people that lack a sense of belonging and who possess no strong religious conviction. Clearly, working within the walls of our church is important. We are to teach, support, exhort, and encourage one another; however, these actions, though crucial, are supplemental to our real mission. Our real mission lies outside of the walls, in the communities most immediately surrounding our church. Just as Jesus showed us we don’t need to travel far geographically to have a global affect. We need become bolder. We need to stand up, go out and stop being so timid about speaking up for the faith we love and believe in.
Mark R. Sullenberger
Member, Dranesville UMC