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Director’s Message

 

Ray Jones portraitKeep an “Open House”

Since officially being named director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism (TFE), I’ve been thinking a lot about the vision I have for this ministry area within the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Last month I talked about how important it is for our church to live into God’s loving, redemptive mission in the gospel. Increasingly I believe this gospel mission is connected to our Matthew 25 invitation to churches and mid councils — which calls us to build congregational vitality, dismantle structural racism and eradicate systemic poverty. As we do this for the sake of our culture, this gospel will hold us together!

What I envision happening as we work together on these three priorities is this: that we Presbyterians will become known as people and churches who keep an “open house” and are generous with our lives.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson uses the phrase “Keep open house; be generous with your lives” in Matthew 5:13–16, where Jesus is encouraging his disciples to be salt and light to those around them.

Translating this well-known passage from Jesus’ most famous sermon, Peterson tells us why we are here: to be the “salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors” and the light that brings out “the God-colors” in our world. Then he drills down to why this matters, with this poignant question — “If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?” —and this observation — “Now that [you’re] on a light stand — shine. Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

If we as Presbyterians “keep open house” and are “generous with our lives” as individuals and in our churches, people will “open up with God” and together we will experience renewed energy of our generous God, together.

This is my vision and hope — and why I feel such excitement to lead TFE — in helping equip our people, through our churches and presbyteries, in keeping an open house, so that people can see and experience God’s generosity through ours.

Grace,

Ray Jones
Theology, Formation & Evangelism