From the beginning, the spiritual vitality of Quakerism has been strengthened and advanced by those moved to carry "the word of the Lord." Introducing others to Truth as Friends perceive it has been an aid to many in clarifying how God's love is manifest in ourselves and in society, as was first set forth by Jesus and later by George Fox. Concern to share this Truth has led Friends to carry their message by visitation, speech, and writing at home and abroad. The Quaker message has always been portrayed by those whose lives reflect a fulfillment of the fruits of the Spirit, often bringing about a desire in others to become associated with Friends.
What I Have Met With
But some may desire to know what I have met with. I answer, "I have met with the Seed" Understand that word, and thou wilt be satisfied, and inquire no further. I have met with my God, I have met with my Saviour, and he hath not been present with me without his salvation, but I have felt the healings dropped upon my soul from under his wings. I have met with the true knowledge, the knowledge of life, the living knowledge, the knowledge which is life; and this hath the true virtue in it, which my soul hath rejoiced in, in the presence of the Lord.
Isaac Penington: Works, vol. l, p. xlvi, 1784 ed., (written 1658).
Quakers Can Talk to All Comers
Quakers can therefore talk to all comers, in terms of their own experience, and they do not have to couch the expression of that experience in particular symbolic terms. Nor do they feel bound to deny the validity of experience which is expressed in different terms or which is seen against a different religious or cultural background.
Every Quaker defines his position fully and clearly by his life, and particularly by that central part of his life, his participation in Meeting for Worship. And it is here particularly that we can speak to others, of any religion or none. For those who come to our Meetings and sit quietly with us, our message is there. It is a message of hope, because it speaks of the available and continual presence and love of God, in each one of us.
Geoffrey Hubhard: Quaker by convincement, 1974, p. 243.
Ministry to the World
It is the very essence of the Christian Gospel that it proclaims a life and message to be shared with others.
Without imposing their views upon others, Friends need to be unapologetic about sharing their faith. They could well recover a sense of mission in their ministry to the world. It need not take the exact form of the Quakers of an earlier period, but it should be motivated by the same concern to share the good news that there is not only "an ocean of light which overcomes the ocean of darkness," but that "the power of the Lord" can enable man to overcome meaninglessness, frustration, and despair in life.
Wilmer A. Cooper: "The nature of the Friends meeting," in No time but this present, 1965, p. 95.
Meetings for Worship Open to Anyone
Quaker meetings for worship are open to anyone who desires to share in them. This welcome applies equally to members of other churches or religious groups, who may, from time to time, wish to share in Quaker worship. It also applies to people who have, for one reason or another, become disenchanted with the worship they have previously experienced, yet who still feel the need for some kind of religious practice. Quakers also welcome to their meetings people who have great hesitation in saying that there is anything in their experience that could be called religious, yet are seeking for something which will bring a new dimension to their lives, that will enlarge their vision and sustain them.
George H. Gorman: The amazing fact of Quaker worship (Swarthmore lecture), 1973, p. 6.
Our Mandate for Outreach
We seek to share our visions of God, the Truth underlying reality, in the hope that this sharing helps others to approach God and to achieve full stature as God's children. Further, we hope to build up a community where those who share our visions and their consequences can continue on the search, live in conformity with their discoveries, and support each other in the process. In George Fox's formula, we want to bring people to Christ, their living Teacher, and to leave them there in communities of obedience. We cannot make the survival of our particular Quaker organizations the main goal, nor should we operate with the attitude that our message is the only available path to Truth.
But if we are faithful to our leadings and our heritage, we can continue to provide a home for those who are drawn to us.
Johan Maurer, "Our mandate for outreach," 1977
Thou Hast Sown a Precious Seed
O Blessed God! Thou has been graciously pleased to begin a good work, a glorious work of righteousness in our days and times. Blessed God and Father! We humbly pray Thee, carry it on and make it prosper. Prosper the souls of thy people in it, that they may be a growing, thriving and increasing people in thy holy ways and in thy blessed work; and as Thou hast sown a precious seed and planted a noble vine by thine own Almighty hand; and hast given us a root of life, the foundation of our faith, love and obedience, which foundation Thou hast laid in Zion; Lord, keep thy people sensible of it; that they may mind it, and wait upon Thee, and be preserved in that root of life wherein thy blessing is; that thy people may partake of thy blessing, and grow up into the nature of that life, to bring forth fruit to Thee to increase in faith and love, in obedience and humility, and meekness; that the life of true Christianity may be promoted and increased among thine heritage;
Robert Barclay: Scripture truths demonstrated, Part 111, 1824, pp. 44-5.