The Board of Trustees of The Foundation for Evangelism gathered in late April on the beautiful campus of Claremont School of Theology in southern California. Claremont, a United Methodist affiliated seminary, receives funds from the Foundation to support an E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, the only professorship funded in the Western Jurisdiction. As the new Episcopal Director, I found myself enthused anew as I contemplated the many ministries made possible by this wonderful mission of promoting, encouraging, and providing resources for responsible evangelism that will enable The United Methodist Church to bring persons into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and help them grow as His disciples.
I shared with the Board of Trustees from the story of Joshua and the occupation of the land of promise. After there had been many conquests in the new land and Joshua was growing old and weary, there appears this marvelous passage. “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, ‘You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to be possessed.’” (Joshua 13:1 RSV) And then the author of Joshua lists out many territories yet to be conquered!
So it is with the work of the Foundation. When all is reported and our accomplishments are celebrated, we can sit back in our chairs of ease and proclaim, “Haven’t we been productive and haven’t our accomplishments been extensive!” Or, we can hear the Lord say, “Yes, your accomplishments are many. You can even take some sense of pride in them. Yet… there remains much land to be possessed.” May we be faithful to the task given us to promote, encourage and provide the resources for responsible occupation of the hearts of the people of God.