“Marks of a Faithful Regional Church” is an important document that all regions have adopted and reaffirmed over the years. These marks are excellent signposts for regional church life. In the coming months we will be lifting these up for own information and edification.
Proclaiming the Gospel is the first of twelve and it asserts and makes clear that “The Region gives spiritual leadership, enables the ministry of evangelization, and calls a Regional Minister who serves as a sign of the unity of the church in sacrament and service.”
The Christian Church in Ohio is a parish, an ecclesia, and is a body with a defined membership and shared mission. As a “congregation” of God’s very own, our work is to proclaim the gospel. We, as a region, are called to share the good news in all of the places we will live, work and play. The very essence of the regional church is to be a church that freely and lovingly embodies and shares the Good News of Jesus Christ! Our very place in the economy of the church is to proclaim the gospel in all that we do and in all that we are.
This is important so that the region is not inadvertently relegated to being (or being viewed and understood as) a program provider or an optional vendor of religious services. We are a people who are united, called to give leadership to the ministry of evangelism. It is not unusual for Ohio Disciples to catch fire for their life of faith because they have been touched by the ministry of this region. We hear the many stories of lives changed and committed at Camp Christian. Our retreats and service opportunities, too, provide holy avenues for our corporate sharing of the Good News and grace of God.
One of the great joys of my life has been the privilege of call to serve as a regional pastor. Serving the servants of the regional church is a calling that is rooted in this first mark. This ministry is a visible reminder of our oneness (Christian Unity is still our Polar Star), and it is great fun connecting members one with another across the congregation that is our region. Together we are better, and we are too important to ever be left alone! Preaching, celebrating Holy Communion, and being present at times of celebration and pain are important ways that the region as one church Proclaims the Gospel. We are called to embody it, everywhere and always. Proclaiming the Gospel, Mark #1, is the currency of the regional church.
To read the other articles in the continuing "Marks of a Faithful Regional Church" series, click the linked titles below. All 12 articles will be posted by the end of 2020.