Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ walked the earth for three years—teaching, ministering, working miracles, dying on the cross and being Resurrected from the dead. Disciples who believed He was the promised Messiah followed Him and listened to His teachings.
A disciple is a student. An apostle is one who recruits disciples and teaches them to follow after Christ. After the Resurrection, Jesus commissioned His disciples to become apostles. As Christians, the first thing we are called to do is be a disciple, to learn about Christ, to believe and to follow. However, that is not all we are called to do. Like the first disciples, we are also commissioned to be apostles, to go and spread the Christian faith to all nations.
Commissioned to Be Apostles: Love, Worship, Community, Learning Service contains 151 short reflections offering practical instruction on what it means to be an apostle of Christ. It contains practical and easy ways to model and spread the message of Christianity, both in a church community and in our personal lives. It begins with the Great Commission and examines how the early church spread the message of the Gospel. It discusses our personal foundation as Christians that we receive at baptism and gives instruction on how to effectively participate in the life of the Church. Finally, it discusses how to transform the Church from what it is to what Christ intends for it to be, examining the chasm between the two and how to bridge this gulf.
The title of this book reflects not only our commission to be apostles; it reflects five core values—love, worship, community, learning and service—that will help us fulfill this commission.
Father Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is a Greek Orthodox Priest who serves St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. He has also authored the books Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany; The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and Pascha; Blessed Is the Kingdom, Now and Forever: Reflections on the Divine Liturgy; Let Us Be Attentive: Reflections on the Sunday and Feastday Scripture Readings of the Orthodox Church; and Engaged: Called to Be Disciples, Reflections on What It Means to Be a Christian. He writes a daily reflection called “The Prayer Team,” which can be found at www.prayerteam365.com.