Thoughts on Evangelism


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This presentation was made to the Gathering of Leaders [GOL]. The GOL is a group of young leaders who get together to share study, pray, and share best practices about their ministry and vocation within the Episcopal Church.

Published in: Spiritual

Thoughts on Evangelism

  1. 1. ThoughtsOn Evangelism<br />
  2. 2. You are Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in, so long as you emphasize the need of conversion both for yourself and for the world, so long as you in no way let yourself become established in the situation of the world, so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come. You are Christian only when you believe you have a role to play in the realization of the new kingdom, and when you urge everyone you meet with holy unrest to make haste so that the promise might soon be fulfilled. So long as you live as a Christian you keep looking for a new order, a new structure, a new life.<br />A New World Is Yet to Come<br />Henri Nouwen<br />Our Context:On The Edge of A New Missionary Age again for the first time<br />
  3. 3. A new world is yet to come and so we gather<br />You and I are here because together…<br />We envision the renewal of the dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church<br />We are transformational leaders dedicated to the missionary call of Christ <br />We believe growing the Church in spiritual depth and in numbers is part of Christian discipleship.<br />Our Context this week<br />
  4. 4. You and I are here because together…<br />We believe a healthy and vibrant church more effectively serves all of people through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.<br />We are here because we know that both the church and the world can be different.<br />Our Context this week<br />
  5. 5. We need to map where we are with clarity so that we know and understand the work we have to undertake so pause for a moment…<br />Let us honestly ask ourselves:<br />Where are we and where is our congregation and where is our church?<br />What are our assumptions?<br />Are we spending our time as evangelists in a secular postmodern world? Are we missionaries in a foreign land and a flattening world?<br />Are we somewhere in transition? Making our way from one to the other?<br />Is our Ministry (congregation, diocese, emerging community) Growing – Number, Depth, Breadth?<br />Our Context: Findng ourselves on the Map<br />
  6. 6. In these days we will :<br />To Showcase Islands of Health & Hope <br />To share and discover and strengthen Models of the Missionary Church <br />And to reflect on the nature of Effective Evangelism<br />Our time together will be time of mutual learning strengthening our position for greater movement through our transition (in the words of Kevin Martin dean of the Cathedral in Dallas) from “chaplains to the believing world to missionaries in a secular world.”<br />Our GOL Goals<br />
  7. 7. Evangelism is not a Program but an Integral Component of Christian Life Just Like Worship, Prayer, Pastoral Care, Education, Stewardship & Service<br />Evangelism is most clearly defined as the proclamation of the good news of salvation in the unique story of Jesus Christ. <br />Evangelism is an intentional and prayer-soaked undertaking by which we share our belief that God has become fully human in the person of Jesus Christ to free us from sin and death so that we might be reconciled to Himself for the glory of God.<br />EFFECTIVE EVANGELISM<br />
  8. 8. The goal of evangelism is for us to preach the gospel in word and action so that all people in this world have the opportunity to confess with their mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and to believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead. <br />God’s desire is for every “tongue, tribe, people and nation” to join us as reconciled reconcilers as we partner with Jesus Christ in his resurrection work to “make all things new.” <br />The Goal of Effective evangelism<br />
  9. 9. 1. We reorient our life-focus from self to God<br />2. We re-think and re-learn how to live in this world based on the wisdom of our Living Lord<br />3. We grow in holiness and joy as we seek to glorify God <br />4 . We “do the work of an evangelist” (II Tim 4:5)<br />The Internal Fruit of Evangelism<br />
  10. 10. The fruit of evangelism is seen externally when the world around us is changed, numbers are added to our community, and our newly incorporated members begin to embody the internal fruits of believing the good news of salvation (1-4 above). <br />The External Fruit of evangelism<br />
  11. 11. Our desire exceeds merely making disciples of Jesus Christ. <br />We wish to form uniquely Anglican and unabashedly Episcopalian disciples of Jesus Christ who are baptized, confirmed and that worship regularly in an Episcopal church giving generously of their time, talent and treasure, and who in turn share the Gospel. <br />Clarity of purpose<br />
  12. 12. We are at work building the kingdom of God – the work of salvation and the restoration of God’s creation.<br />We might begin by answering the question what is an Anglican/Episcopal understanding of Salvation? <br />Evangelism is the proclamation of the good news of salvation in the unique story of Jesus Christ. <br />Our understanding of salvation, therefore, will impact how we do evangelism. <br />Salvation is from sin and death, but where do Anglicans believe we “grow up into salvation” (1 Pet 2:2) and how does our Anglican soteriology impact our evangelical strategy? In other words, what are we saved to? <br />Evangelism is more than branding<br />
  13. 13. God saves the Church. <br />Jesus Christ does not have many brides. There is only One Bride – the body of Christ – and Jesus’ desire is to “present the Church to himself in splendor” on the day appointed by His Father (Eph 5:27). <br />As Richard Hays (Dean and the George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School) puts it: <br />“God transforms and saves a people, not atomized individuals. Consequently, the faithful find their identity and vocation in the world as the body of Christ.” <br />Anglicans & Episcopalians believeSalvation is Corporate<br />
  14. 14. It will always be true that God justifies and redeems individuals, and inclusion in the Body of Christ presupposes that we “turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as our Savior” (BCP, 302). <br />However, the goal of evangelism is to bring people into a Mystical Catholic and Apostolic Body that has been reconciled to Jesus Chris so that we can build for the Kingdom of God together. <br />Our distinctly Anglican understanding of salvation will impact how we measure which congregations are finding success in their evangelistic efforts. <br />The Purpose is that we build the kingdom together as a community<br />
  15. 15. Episcopal congregations will grow as new or renewed believers are incorporated into their corporate, worshipping Body. <br />Individuals and families who have been successfully evangelized by Episcopal communities will be able to articulate how their experience of Jesus Christ is enriched, deepened and “given flesh” in and through the Episcopal community that left the ninety-nine behind to seek them out. <br />All will see their faith in Christ as personal but by no means as something that remains private. Members of Christ’s Body are not afforded such rights. <br />Growth is a sign of successful evangelism &transformation<br />
  16. 16. The Church’s mission is to grow up into “the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4:13). <br />Not only are all Christians called to evangelism, but all Christians must see themselves as the recipients of evangelism. <br />We are all still being sought by the Good Shepherd in some area of our corporate and individual life. <br />We all believe and at the same time confess some level of unbelief (Mk 9:24). No one grows into the full stature of Christ alone. <br />Who is God Trying to Reach?<br />
  17. 17. The word Jesus spoke to his first disciples He still speaks to the Church. “Go. Make disciples.” Jesus wants to use us to evangelize others and others to evangelize us. <br />The Church is to make and be made into disciples of Jesus Christ until the whole Body grows up into the full stature of Christ. <br />Our salvation is intertwined with the salvation of others<br />
  18. 18. “Evangelism is to so present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that men might come to trust Him as Savior and serve Him as Lord in the fellowship of His church.”<br />Archbishop William Templethe 98th archbishop of Canterbury<br />
  19. 19. There is a tension the Church must live into as we work for the renewal of evangelism in our church. <br />On the one hand, we must identify, equip, and commission specific individuals and congregations for evangelism. In our tradition evangelism is a particular charism of the Holy Spirit.<br />On the other hand, evangelism is the joy and duty of all baptized Christians. <br />Who Should Do this work?<br />
  20. 20. Evangelism is a spiritual gift. <br />Not all baptized believers receive the same gifts for building up the Body of Christ, nor are spiritual gifts allotted in equal measure. <br /> “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7). “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists” (Eph 4:11). <br />Evangelism & Individual Leadership<br />
  21. 21. The Spirit gives gifts according to His will and some individuals and congregations have particular gifts for evangelism. <br />These individuals and congregations are our leaders in carrying the banner to renew evangelism in our church. <br />Lay persons with gifts for leadership in the area of evangelism must be identified, invested in, approached and commissioned. <br />Evangelism & Individual leadership<br />
  22. 22. There are parts to play within the whole as communities become missionary. <br />While not everyone is an evangelist, yet everyone can help the corporate body of the church do the work of mission and evangelism. <br />Therefore, it is important to put the mind of the whole body of Christ to the task of mission.<br />Evangelism & Corporate Leadership<br />
  23. 23. Therefore we proclaim that Evangelism is the work of all the baptized. <br />Jesus’ Great Commission was not entrusted to selected individuals with a particular skill set but to the Church. <br />Individuals and congregations with gifts for evangelism are given such gifts “to equip (form) the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph 4:12). <br />Therefore, all Christians must be formed to do the work of an evangelist and must be prepared to “give an accounting for [their] hope” (II Pet 3:15). <br />Evangelism & corporate leadership<br />
  24. 24. All baptized believers make a vow before God and the Church to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ” (BCP, 293). <br />The ministry of all Christians is to represent Christ in the world and “bear witness to him wherever they may be” (BCP, 855). <br />Therefore every Christian must be formed to be evangelists in our various ministries, our homes, our lives, our friendship circles.<br />Evangelism & corporate leadership<br />
  25. 25. As we work for the renewal of evangelism creative paths must be sought to connect individuals and congregations with each other, as well as with resources and information, so that we might faithfully live into this tension. <br />Christians lacking clear gifts for evangelism must be connected to the evangelical efforts of our congregations. <br />We must connect our leaders with all the baptized and we must connect our church with the world. <br />Evangelism is making connections<br />
  26. 26. As leaders <br />1. We must spend our time with the healthiest voices<br />2. Support the missionary leaders<br />3. And, connect them with others multiplying the energy, and excitement for the work of the Gospel<br />Evangelism is making the leadershipconnections<br />
  27. 27. A Holy Community (God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit )<br />The proclamation history of an ancient church who follows Jesus Christ<br />Scripture, Creeds, Sacraments, Liturgy<br />Great Commandment & Great Commission<br />WE have what is needed<br />
  28. 28. We will be moving and living more in the missionary age than the modern industrial age?<br />Spiritual strength: recruited & trained Lay Leaders are able to articulate their faith rooted in Jesus Christ<br />Growth in depth: multiplication of leaders beyond 20%, who “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” and who “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.”<br />How do/will we know we are making the shift?<br />
  29. 29. We will have worship that highlights spiritual transformatoin – Sermons, Sharing – people will be energized, catch, and perpetuate missionary vision and action<br />Congregations will cease to be islands in their neighborhoods and cities, but will become missionary resource centers for the culture around them, caring and engaging in the issues that most affect their local missionary context.<br />How do/will we know we are making the shift?<br />
  30. 30. The Christian obligation of spoken witness does not require from all the duty of addressing public audiences: still less of button-holing comparative strangers. It does demand being able to give a reason for the faith that is in us, when asked by a friend; and of praying that such openings shall be given and used by us<br />We believe that ordinary Christians may be helped to talk naturally and openly about Christ if they do not regard themselves as isolated prophets, but as representatives of the evangelising Church, and as the tongue of the Body of Christ.<br />Quotefrom 1943 paper on evangelism<br />
  31. 31. The chief obstacle (as we have seen) is that so many church people are only half-converted. But, clearly, it is impossible to wait till the whole of the Church shall be wholly converted. On the contrary, it is by engaging in evangelism that the whole Church will be revived and its ardour fanned into flame.<br />A quote from a paper given entitled: Towards the Conversion of England: The Report of a Commission on Evangelism appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. (1943)<br />Evangelism Quote<br />
  32. 32. We are interested in working with leaders who build and, multiply disciples<br />We are interested in leaders who are committed to making Christians who are Anglican and unabashedly Episcopalian<br />We are interested in people committed to changing the world, making it a better tomorrow than it is today because there are Episcopalians in it.<br />We are interested in working and talking with people who understand the importance of growing missionary <br />communities that are healthy and vibrant parts of the wider context in which they find themselves.<br />Gol:A few daysa few hoursto engage<br />
  33. 33. In the next few hours and days I hope you will engage with one another and talk about how you discover, raise up, train, and send out leaders<br />I hope during your time together you will share how you are changing and forming a culture of evangelism to meet this new missionary age.<br />We are glad you are here.<br />We are on the edge of a missionary age and we are given both a sacred and holy mission to undertake.<br />Gol:A few daysa few hoursto engage<br />