The introduction of Go and Make Disciples (GMD) presents the idea of faith as connected to stories. This countercultural premise goes against the secular world’s perception of fiction as something childish, and the embrace of news and commentary (note the triumph of so-called reality tv over scripted fiction). And even when the modern world does present a story, it is all too often done in a juvenile way. (The sit-com has reigned supreme among television stories for the past six decades.)
That said, the bishops urge a examination of a believer’s personal story, and the sharing of that story as essential to the fiery spreading of faith as well as a continuation of the Christian tradition. The introduction proper (GMD 4-9) lists these premises:
- Christ’s story is still alive today and our stories are part of a faith tradition.
- The bishops endorse and give witness to this twofold experience.
- Every baptized believer has a story of faith
- The Word and the sacraments help to fire and focus this story
Which lead up to the big one: evangelization is the mission of the Church. It is not one of many. It is not a program. It is not for a select few to conduct. The purpose of GMD is to explore this premise and to lay out strategies–practical methods–to work toward this goal.
The bishops are very explicit in citing Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi 14:
(E)vangelization is what we are all about! Being involved in the story of salvation is what faith is all about! Evangelization is the essential mission of the Church. (GMD 8)
And they are optimistic about it:
As we begin this plan and strategy, we turn in prayer to the Holy Spirit, that we may receive the guidance we need to set the hearts of Catholics in the United States on fire with a desire to bring the Gospel of Jesus, in its fullness, to all the people of our land. (GMD 9)