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15 Things to take away from the first day of Evangelism Matters  

15 Things to take away from the first day of Evangelism Matters  

The Evangelism Matters conference, co-sponsored by Forward Movement and the Episcopal Church’s Evangelism Initiatives Team is underway in Cleveland, OH.  You can catch much of it on a livestream here.

Friend of the Café, Lisa Graves is on the spot and shared these takeaways.

The reflections of one priest on the welcome, panel discussions and plenary session Thursday March 15th at Evangelism Matters 2018 hosted at St. Paul’s, Cleveland Heights, OH.  These are short, summary take away statements based on the sessions featuring speakers Carrie Headington, Brother Angel Roque, Brad Hauff, Luisa Van Oss, and Shawn Walmsley, Mary Parmer, Hillary Raining, and Chris Harris.  These do not reflect the full and wonderful content shared by these gifted speakers and evangelists.

  1. Risk failure for the sake of the gospel.
  2. If what happened in your church changes your members, they will share it with their friends.
  3. Sometimes we need to offer programs that don’t fix the church.
  4. All of creation has wisdom and all of creation has something to teach us about God.  If folks aren’t in the pews at your church, think abut the wisdom we’re missing out on.
  5. Perhaps we’re entering into the time of the mystic which is good news for the Episcopal church because we’re at home with mystic, wonder, doubt and questions.
  6. What if we pointed to the pulpit and asked the congregation to come up and tell us about God.
  7. The Episcopal church does a good job of telling people they’re welcome, they’re affirmed, they’re celebrated as the beloved child of God that are.
  8. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people, don’t find reasons to hold yourself back from sharing the love of God.
  9. If we are just about giving water to those who thirst in this world, and not about sharing the living water too then we are not about the business God has given us to do.
  10. We have to know the love of God and name it ourselves before we can share it with others.
  11. Evangelism can simply be being present with someone.  We don’t have to have a faith script ready, a prayer to offer or an invite to a building to be offering someone the love of God.
  12. Perhaps we need to evangelize our own church, our own congregation first.
  13. It takes courage to invite someone to church or to share our faith.  But we just need to do the sharing, what happens after that is up to Jesus.  We can’t be afraid of the “no.”
  14. The liturgy will not do the work of evangelism for us.
  15. God loves you.  Don’t be selfish, share the love.

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John Lanier

Perhaps one of the reasons TEC has lost more baby boomers than any other mainline denomination in recent years is the church’s repeated failure to to lay an important canonical foundation for a restored Adult Catechumenate, parallel to that of the RC Church, which is like a well from which they repeatedly draw from. It has been mainly a patch-work affair, with some Dioceses supporting it and others which do not(depending mainly upon the attitudes of the Diocesan). I am still convinced that this is the starting point, but with many congregations in decline and even fewer financial resources to support such a program, the future looks to be not so bright.

Marshall Scott

I agree. While I haven’t seen that we’re losing more baby boomers than other mainline denominations, I do agree that lack of adult education is an issue. I hope someone else will remember the book title, because I never seem to; but I recall a book based on surveys of growing churches back in the ’80s. The topic was five characteristics of congregations that were growing. One was adult Christian education. Interestingly enough, Christian education for children was not one of the characteristics (as I recall, in addition to good adult education, the others were good preaching; good music (that is, done well, not in a particular style); small group activities; and opportunities for hands-on service ministries).

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