December 29, 2014

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

As we anticipate the coming of 2015, it is natural to assess 2014 and to establish goals for 2015. Like millions of Americans I plan to lose weight in 2015. This is usually done by watching the foods I eat and renewed commitment to exercise. For me the calorie intake is somewhat vague, but I have begun a regimen of exercise that might make a difference.

It is right for our diocese to evaluate the last year and plan ahead. We have had some focus and serious conversation regarding evangelism in 2014. This should intensify in 2015, but what can each member of our respective churches do? Evangelism at its core is caring enough about our faith to share it with someone else. This message is stated so frequently that it has become a part of church jargon. The eyes begin to glaze, and the soul is weary. This is like the need to lose weight. We know the truth of the concept, but how can we convert a goal into reality?

A few years ago I saw a vending machine in an airport from the electronics store, Best Buy. You could insert a credit card and buy a smart phone, ear phones, or an array of computer accessories. This innovation astonished me, and I shared it with many people. I spoke about this because it was new to me. I hadn’t seen it before. Evangelism is sharing something that is worthwhile. We know our faith is valuable, but we won’t be inclined to share it unless we are renewed in it—all the time.

Like a commitment to exercise, I ask that you consider a resolution for 2015. Each time you go to worship on Sunday set as a goal to learn one thing from the experience that you would care to share with someone else. This could be something new from a sermon. It might by a lyric from a hymn. Perhaps a turn of phrase that is overly familiar from the liturgy spoke to you in a new way. If you travel to and from church with others, ask on the trip home what each person learned. An alternate plan would be to talk about this with a friend and resolve each week to speak with each other. The result of this discipline is two fold. First, you are committed to evaluate the worship service to find something new—to grow. Second, once you have learned something, just like an evangelist, you are sharing it. This might be a small part of evangelism, but it is a critical beginning. Give it a try. I wish you a Happy New Year and a blessed 2015. With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,