New AFR podcast features chair of OCA Department of Evangelization

Lord, Send Me

In the most recent podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, “Lord, Send Me!” Priest John Parker, chair of the Orthodox Church in America’s Department of Evangelization, takes a look at Mormon statistics and missionary efforts, and challenges the Church to recover her biblical, historical, and spiritual mandate to “go and tell” rather than “wait and welcome.”

The podcast may be accessed here.

“Whatever we may accurately say about the Mormon religion, they put us to shame in terms of financial stewardship and missionary zeal,” Father John observes.  “In the year 2010, the Mormons sent out more than 55,000 missionaries, two-by-two, in imitation of the the 70 sent ahead of Jesus according to Luke 10, and in obedience to the Great Commission of Matthew 28.  Those 55,000+ missionaries were mostly 18-22 year old young men, most of whom will describe their mission as ‘the best years of their lives,’ according to Mormon sources.

“Meanwhile, with the greatest inheritance, the Orthodox Church in North America, on the whole, has depended on growth by procreation and baptism,” Father John continues.  “With several noteworthy exceptions, many North American Orthodox Churches have depended on family growth and a ‘wait and welcome’ mentality.  The trouble is, Orthodox families are diminishing, and Orthodox young adults are as likely not to return to church in and after their college years as the ‘average American.’

“Though Mormons are not Christians,” Father John concludes, “we can—and perhaps must—learn from their missionary zeal. We must recover a vigorous and active missionary mindset and the hearts of servants and disciples if we are to be faithful stewards of the boundless inheritance of the Orthodox Tradition.”