“Man the ship, and bring her to life”

The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan off the coast of California

The commissioning of a ship is one of the most important days in its life. After years of construction, she’s ready to be put into service. Such was the case with the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, one of the United States’ nuclear powered aircraft carriers. It’s motto is “Peace through Strength.”

Nancy Reagan delivering the orders to “Man the ship, and bring her to life”

The ship cost over $4B to construct, and over $1M per day to operate. This kind of aircraft carrier is in essence a floating city. At the commissioning ceremony, a sponsor delivers the orders, among other things, that officially commission the vessel. The sponsor is typically someone related to the person for whom the vessel is named. In this case, Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan’s wife, was the sponsor.

Mrs. Reagan’s words at the commissioning service included a phrase spoken at all commissioning services: “Man the ship, and bring her to life.” When she said these words, the 4500 crew members scrambled to their stations and the ship literally came to life. The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan had begun its service to our country.

Sunday School and evangelism 

Jesus gave you and I instructions for what we were to do after He ascended back into heaven. In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus spoke the words that we have come to know as The Great Commission. By speaking these words, Jesus told us to “man the ship, and bring her to life.” Jesus told us to “go and make disciples” in these verses. We are to teach them to obey His commands. Embedded in that process of making disciples is the task of evangelism. We share what we know to be true about His life, death, and resurrection with others. We ask them to consider making a commitment to Him.

030712-N-8148A-503 Norfolk, Va. (Jul. 12, 2003) -- Sailors stationed aboard the NavyÕs newest aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Òman the railsÓ during the commissioning ceremony. Ronald Reagan is named after the 40th President of the United States, and is the ninth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The shipÕs motto is ÒPeace Through StrengthÓ a phrase coined by President Reagan who is widely credited for bringing an end to the Cold War, and rebuilding the U.S. military. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 3rd Class Kittipogse Amaritnant. (RELEASED)
Sailors manning the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan

Evangelism is truly the most important task that any Sunday School or Sunday School group could be about. Would you say that your Sunday School, or your own Bible study group, has “manned the evangelism ship and brought her to life”? The cost of that ship was Jesus’ own life. The crew numbers untold millions.

How might you encourage the sharing of the gospel by your Sunday School? By your Bible study group? By you?

One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing Ken. Evangelism is the great work missing in our Sunday Schools today. We must return to our historic and strategic work of evangelism!

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