As we continue our journey through Exodus, I have felt the renewed call from God for us all as a community and individually, to grow in the ministry and gifting of Evangelism. We have the most amazing news in the world to share, yet we often struggle to know how or why we should share this for all sorts of reasons. As I have been thinking and praying about this, the Lord led me to some new material produced by the Church of England for the benefit of the whole Church. England, like Canada, is becoming an increasingly secular culture with less and less people even familiar with the Good News about Jesus. So what I want to do is share this with you over the coming weeks and invite you to reflect, discuss, challenge and pray with one another in your groups, families, and friendships with what you are hearing and learning. The goal would be to raise confidence, start a conversation and to provide a framework for developing a culture of evangelism throughout our congregation. Conversations about evangelism are not always easy. Often we disagree about the meaning, the importance the practicalities or something else. This is inevitable, but it might be helpful to start the conversation with this question:
What makes conversation around evangelism difficult?
In this video, Rev'd Canon Chris Russell, explores the shared theological convictions from which this resource arises
In creating a resource that spans the breadth of different church traditions, there will inevitably be some things that sit well and others that don’t.
Talk together for a few minutes about a time when you have benefitted from learning from an unexpected source, perhaps another church tradition, another faith or from another sphere altogether.
We think the following behaviours will help each of us as we progress through the material:
Rootedness: Everything contained within this resource is offered to inspire, challenge and provoke your thinking - but it will be you, rooted in your context that will take it and make the best sense of it. There will be some elements that will be incredibly relevant, others less so. We encourage you to take in the content and rather than critiquing or analysing it, consider what this might mean in your setting - if there is learning, great, if it is not for you, continue on to the next part
Openness: Being open to God, open to others and their ideas, both those in the videos and fellow participants; open to learning. Open to the idea of evangelization or what God might be calling you to
Willingness: Willing to examine ourselves, our thinking, our behaviors and our approach; willing to discern and to learn, willing to determine what we might need to start, continue or even stop doing
How do you feel about these behaviors?
Is there anything you would add to the definitions?
Is there another you would add?
I want to encourage you to spend some time in prayer, individually or with others. The following Evangelism Examen may prove helpful. This is loosely based on the Ignatian Examen and is designed to create a structure for forming a habit of praying intentionally for Evangelism and reflecting on experiences, which could be used daily or weekly, alone or as part of a group. It combines reflection with prayer and the additional spiritual practice of praying for five people to come to know Jesus.
Prayer & Examen