We know, by the very definition of the word “Evangelical”, that we at Saint Thomas’ are in the communication business — more so than any other stream of Christianity.
“Evangelical” literally means “Gospeller” or “One who proclaims the Good News of the Gospel”. This proclamation is our mission to Southwest Houston. To be Gospellers, we must understand what the Gospel is (and the bad news that makes the good news so good), we must know the context of the hearers, and we must learn how to communicate all of this coherently. We must also be self-aware.
When the St. Thomas’ Vestry met this January, we focused on four areas in which we could either begin something new or improve our efforts. Over the last few weeks, I have shared with you our plans in three areas: focusing intently on going out in mission and evangelism to Southwest Houston, focusing on stewardship of all the resources God has given us, and building on the success of our Christian Formation programs. Our fourth and final area of focus is improving communication.
Who are we? What are we doing here?
Many people seem to understand what our school is about. But, do they understand who we are as a church and what we value? What it means to be an Episcopal/Anglican Evangelical? What distinguishes us from our Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic brethren? What distinguishes us from other Episcopal churches? And, why is all this important?
If I were considering St. Thomas’ as a church home, I would want to know these things.
Improving our Messaging
In addition to communicating the essence of St. Thomas’ to our community, we recognize a need to improve our internal communications. We have come some way in that regard — but there are so many ways we can improve! You have seen some changes and we hope you will continue to see us improve. The Gospel is just as much for believers as for those to whom the mission is directed.
When I was in Wittenberg, Germany in 2008, I saw the church where the first consciously Evangelical service took place in the early 16th Century. The message of that service caught like wildfire on the European continent and made its way to England where our forebears made it their own. From there, the English Reformation took off and seldom looked back.
The message we preach at St. Thomas’ is the very same message that revolutionized the world in that time. It is the very Gospel — the gracious Word of God in Christ shouted from the rooftops to a crushed, wounded, anxiety-ridden, and lonely world. It deserves the utmost care in communication. Would you like to help in this area? We would love to have your help. What a feeling to know you will be amplifying good news — real Good News — to people who desperately need it!