Invitation aims to bring about ‘radical and fearless discipleship’
April 1, 2019
While the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Matthew 25 invitation officially rolls out April 1, it has already been underway informally and organically in a number of Presbyterian churches.
The Matthew 25 invitation is designed to bring about what a brochure calls “radical and fearless discipleship” among congregations and mid councils by engaging in three targeted missions: building congregational vitality, dismantling systemic poverty and eradicating structural racism.
“When I’m asked to preach, I try to spread the news of what we are asking congregations to do,” the PMA’s president and executive director, the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, told the Coordinating Committee of the PMA’s Board of Directors during a conference. “The goal is for the (Presbyterian Church [U.S.A.]) to become excited about dismantling poverty and structural racism and building congregational vitality.”
“We are moving and sharing the vision,” she said.
The Matthew 25 account of the Son of Humanity placing sheep on the right and goats on the left “calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities,” the invitation states. It notes that both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies, in 2016 and 2018, “exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve the hungry, the oppressed, the imprisoned and the poor.”
The invitation is designed in part to help make the denomination more relevant. “We rejoice,” the invitation states, “how our re-energized faith can unite all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose.”
The invitation aims to multiply the number of churches already engaged in Matthew 25 work around the three focus areas in these ways:
- Building congregational vitality by challenging people and congregations to deepen their faith and get actively and joyfully engaged with their community and the world.
- Dismantling systemic poverty by working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
- Eradicating structural racism by advocating and acting to break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
The goal for the national church is “to be a clearinghouse of resources, training materials, devotional and preaching aids, success stories, curricula and more,” the invitation states, “everything to help you strengthen relationships, transform your church, and bring alive your commitment to ‘serve the least of these’ in your community and around the world.”
Individual congregations can do their part “as you live out your commitment” by telling their stories “so we can share them with the wider church and continue to fan the flame of our common mission.”
The first step to becoming a Matthew 25 church is to visit pcusa.org/matthew25 and sign up.
Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service
Today’s Focus: Become a Matthew 25 Church
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
God, let us come together to serve your people, spreading love, justice and kindness. Amen.