128 | VISION 2015 | VocationNetwork.org
T THE HEART OF THE CHURCH IS VOCATION. The earli-
Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom, or reign, of God, and it
est idea of what is today called “church” starts with the Greek
word ekklesia, which is only found twice in the gospels, both
times in Matthew, and means those who have been “called out.” Jesus
“calls out” all who follow him to share in his ministry in different ways.
Before Jesus even preached, healed someone, or performed a
miracle, he called people to follow him. At the beginning of Jesus’ min-
istry, after his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, the first thing
he did was to call two sets of brothers. He asks Simon and Andrew and
then James and John to follow him (Mark 1: 16-20). And that is the
church in its simplest terms: the followers of Jesus Christ.
What’s the purpose of the church, and does it
change with the times?
Called to follow Christ
BY JOHN W. MARTENS
John W. Mar-
tens is associ-
ate professor of
theology at the
University of St.
Thomas in St.
and director of
the master’s in
gram at the St.
School of Divin-
ity. He writes
“The Word” col-
umn for America
or performs a
miracle, he calls
people to follow
THE CALLING OF THE APOSTLES PETER AND ANDRE W (1308-1311), DUCCIO DI BUONINSEGNA