By: The Rev. Susan B. Haynes
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Everyone likes to talk about the Mission of the church. We all want to be more missional. We are in fact commanded, as in the Scripture above, to find ways to preach the Gospel everywhere we go. Many of us feel ill equipped to do so. Where do we find the wherewithal to become evangelists?
We come to church on Sunday morning and sometimes during the week too, because we desire renewal and strength. Our life of worship at St. Paul's is something we do out of a commitment to stability and a desire to be obedient. In this weekly observance, we are renewed then to go out again into the world to exercise our various ministries.
Our life in the world is not and should not be compartmentalized from our life in the Church. The way we exercise our Baptismal vows in the world is actually an extension of the ministry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. And so it's a cycle, renewal in the church leading to ministry in the world. This ministry in the world is called our apostolate. Each of us is called to exercise an apostolate and for each of us, that apostolate looks different. For some it is a call to the ministry of companionship through volunteering at places like Hannah's House, St. Margaret's House or Hospice. For others it is working with the homeless or the illiterate.
Sometimes the apostolate looks like this: a young mother staying home to mother a child who will grow in God's love. Or it is the line worker who gives his very best in the factory to build a part or a product on which many will come to depend. Some are teachers, some healers...the list goes on and on. The lines of hope and healing which extend from St. Paul's are as many and varied as the members who gather on Sunday to make up her body.
What is your apostolate? How are you called to express and fulfill the promises you made at your Baptism? During the months of October and November, we will be hearing during worship from various parishioners who express their apostolates or ministries in different ways. All of these disciples of Jesus depend on St. Paul's to be the place where they can come to be fed and renewed so as to venture out again to bring the Word and Hope of God to others. In a way St. Paul's is a haven of renewal. Many depend on it as the source of strength and nurture for their own ministries.
As you think about your own ministry or apostolate, know that I am giving thanks for you and praying for your renewal.