During the past year we have all been challenged to consider who we are as EFC-MAYM? Due to the ongoing discussion regarding whether to include an additional statement regarding the ordinances in Faith and Practice, we have been forced to ask ourselves again, “Who are we, as Evangelical Friends?”
Although these types of discussions are never easy, nor necessarily pleasant, they do force us to wrestle with the core of our identity, which can be a good thing. What distinguishes us, as Evangelical Friends, from other groups of Friends? Why have Evangelical Friends at all?
The word “evangelical” comes from the greek word “euangelion” which means “gospel” or “good news”. So, in essence, the heart of our message and ministry as Evangelical Friends must have something to do with proclaiming the good news or gospel to those who have not yet heard.
Several years ago we met for Ministry Conference, and dreamed together about what the future of our movement might look like. In the “We Have A Dream” document we envisioned a church with ethnic diversity. Today we are seeing greater ethnic diversity than ever before in our Yearly Meeting with anglo, hispanic, nepali/bhutanese, congolese and sudanese congregations that are a part of EFC-MAYM.
We envisioned maximizing our resources and using our church buildings 24/7 for Kingdom purposes. We have seen signs of this through ministries like Family Promise, where churches house the homeless while they attempt to get back on their feet, and through other missional ministries across EFC-MAYM.
We dreamed of really loving people…all people…in concrete ways that makes a difference in their lives and in the world around them. I would love to hear at Ministry Conference, this year, how individuals and churches are intentionally, radically loving others in the name of Jesus. Please come with your stories!
We dreamed of loving hurting people and intentional discipleship…and of equipping one another to make a real difference in our churches, communities, cities and our world.
These are ALL things I can get excited about! How about you? Do you know what we didn’t dream about? We didn’t dream about all of our churches practicing the ordinances with physical elements. We didn’t dream about all of our churches practicing the ordinances without physical elements. Why? I’m guessing because that is not really what we want to be known for by the outside world, or when Jesus returns. I’m guessing we want to be known by our love (John 13:34-35), rather than something we all do or all don’t do.
Do we need a clarifying statement in our Faith and Practice regarding the ordinances? I’m not sure it really matters, except that Evangelical Friends Church – North America decided it was important enough to do so, and we are a part of Evangelical Friends. However, the more important question is what we are going to do in the days ahead to pursue the “Dream” and bring God’s Kingdom to earth in greater ways. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” (Romans 12:1 MSG) By God’s grace, our worship will not be marked by what we do or don’t do, but by the way we use our lives and churches to advance His Kingdom here on earth.
Looking forward to pursuing the “Dream” as we gather to worship at Ministry Conference 2019.