Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Community

Evangelism

Evangelism

Welcome to the Evangelism page.  Please take a few minutes to look around and familiarize yourself with some of the material available in the sidebar.   Then, come back to this front page, and let’s talk.

Let’s start with the basics.  What is Evangelism?  The Greek term is “euangelion,” which can be roughly translated as “good news.”    As we share the Good News of God made known to us through Jesus Christ, we are practicing evangelism.

There are many ways to share the hope that is in us.   We’ll be talking about some of those approaches.   Considering the vast diversity of God’s creation, it should not surprise us that God is using multiple mediums to proclaim the Good News and offer encounters with Jesus Christ.   This diversity  is a blessing, a gift from God.

Our challenge is to discern the way that God is already moving in someone’s life, and so be able to identify the best way to share the Good News in that situation.   Such discernment means we begin Evangelism by listening; listening to the person with whom we have engaged in a spiritual conversation as well as listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  

It should be a comfort for us to realize that we never engage in evangelism by ourselves.   God is the primary evangelist.   We are the instruments, the channels, of God’s grace.   We plant, another waters, but it is God who gives the growth.  Beyond that, we understand the Church to be the Body of Christ in the world today.   We are part of an “evangelism team.”   We do our part, our faith community does their part, and then we trust the rest to God.  

The integral role of our faith communities is the reason why you will see  “Congregational Vitality” and “Evangelism”  being yoked closely together in some of the material on this site.    Healthy congregations “do” evangelism naturally.   Healthy congregations consist of members who are healthy Christians.    Nurturing the spiritual health of our faith communities  is an integral part of  Evangelism.  

“Church Planting” is also an aspect of Evangelism.  Informed by the examples of the spiritual practices of existing healthy communities, we plant new congregations and worshipping communities.  The location and style of these new congregations is shaped by listening to those outside the Church.    Just as in one-on-one Evangelism we listened to the other person  as well as listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, when growing a new faith community we listen to the voices of those outside the Church with one ear, while listening for God with the other.

Evangelism and Congregational Development will always be dance partners, as both are needed to make disciples of Jesus Christ.   However, the primary focus of the Evangelism component is those who are outside the walls of the Church.    That is our “target group.”   As we develop creative strategies for evangelism, our vision must be cast with an outward focus.

Much good work towards living into The Episcopal Church’s Evangelism Vision has already been initiated.   You can learn more about those efforts by reviewing some of the material regarding the “20/20 Movement,” which is the challenge to double the number of people who are growing in Christ’s transformative love through Episcopal communities of faith by the year 2020.   That may seem like an unrealistic goal.   Maybe it is.  But, with God, all things are possible.  If this challenge is of God, it will come to pass.  Our role is to do all that we can do to be faithful evangelists, and then trust God to do the rest. 

To accomplish this,  a team of people who are passionate about evangelism are being gathered.   

By the fact that, for whatever reason, you have landed on this page, you can consider yourself to be part of that team!  Let’s talk.  (e-mail:tmartin@episcopalchurch.org)

This page will be expanded in the coming months, so please check back frequently.  In the meantime, a new discussion site about evangelism has been created.  Called Father T Listens to the World, it is a place to engage in casual discussions and share best practices. Visit http://fathertlistenstotheworld.blogspot.com/ to join the conversation.

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Events

ECCC Annual Conference
1/22/2012  - 1/27/2012    - Camp McDowell, AL

NAECED Annual Meeting and Tapestries Conference
2/2/2012  - 2/4/2012    - New Orleans, LA

Why Serve 2012
6/6/2012  - 6/10/2012    - Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA

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