Category : Evangelism and Church Growth

(ACNS) Church in Wales sets aside £10 million evangelism fund “to inspire new Welsh revival”

The Church in Wales has announced a new £10 million GBP scheme to help its six dioceses fund new evangelism projects. The Church in Wales’ first ever Evangelism Fund will be launched this weekend with the aim of engaging “Welsh society with the claims of the Christian faith in vibrant and exciting ways.” The fund will provide grants of between £250,000 and £3 million, for diocesan projects that “will focus on people rather than buildings,” the Church in Wales said.

The fund will be managed by a committee with expertise in church growth and business ventures; and is being launched on Pentecost Sunday (20 May). Pentecost is traditionally regarded as the Church’s birthday, when Christians focus on sharing their faith and growth. This year, as in 2016 and 2017, it will come at the end of Thy Kingdom Come – a 10-day global wave of prayer focused on the church’s evangelism and witness.

“We are putting our money where our mouth is,” the Archbishop of Wales John Davies said. “We have long talked about growing the church and now we want to invest in projects across the country to enable that to happen. It is a radical answer to the decline we are experiencing in many places, and £10 million is a transforming amount.

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Posted in Church of Wales, Evangelism and Church Growth, Stewardship

The rector of Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, writes his Parish

From here:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are warned repeatedly in the Scriptures (Psalm 131:1, Romans 11:33-36, etc.) that there are many things our infinite and perfect God is doing that are beyond our comprehension and understanding, yet He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). From time to time by the power of the Holy Spirit, God shows us what I call Kingdom convergence — the ability to glimpse His guiding hand in the midst of things that might not initially be seen as connected. Allow me to give three examples in the life of St. Helena’s today.

  1. “Why the Battle?” Series — Through this teaching series at the Rector’s Forum and the availability of these resources online, many of us are gaining a greater understanding of how important this Gospel struggle is to the greater call of discipleship. We are truly dealing with different worldviews and seeing the necessity of being sharpened in our ability to speak persuasively for our position.
  2. Recent TEC Court Filings — Imagine how important it is for us to be united in this stand for the Gospel when we got word yesterday that TEC has asked the State District Court to begin to distribute the properties of the diocese and the parishes to TEC based on their winner-take-all strategy (read the motion HERE). Never mind the fact that the US Supreme Court is still considering our petition for writ of certiorari, this is a tactic that is designed to deflect our attention and begin to strike doubt in the hearts of our church members. This is why it is so important that we stay focused on our Vision.
  3. Fripp Island Summer Services — Kingdom convergence is so visible here because we are moving out with raising up worshipping communities this summer at Fripp Island. This is not a time to shrink back, but a time to be bold. My encouragement is that God has raised up this outreach through the members who live on Fripp, and we as a Body are being drawn into this fine prayer and planning through the work of servant leaders. The long and the short of it is that St. Helena’s will offer a beach service at 9 am on Fripp Island in front of the beach club beginning Sunday, May 27, and going through July 8. This is an outreach service designed to sow the seeds of the Gospel to the numerous weekly visitors to the island. Kingdom come!

All three of these things and many others are going on in the life of St. Helena’s. We are being guided by the Holy Spirit and our Vision to stand firm and continue to be focused on the least, the last, and the lost. I hope you see the Kingdom convergence that I do. Indeed, “God is working His purposes out …”

With hope,

–(The Rev.) Shay Gaillard

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(MC) Martyn Percy–The Church of England: Mission and Ministry after the Decade of Evangelism

The problem – the legacy of this Decade, in effect – can be simply expressed. The Church of England – or at least its hierarchy – is stuck in broadcast mode. Like the proverbial Englishman abroad, they cannot make themselves understood in a world that increasingly finds the Church incomprehensible, especially in spheres such as sexuality, gender, equality, safeguarding, the
exercise of power, the holding of authority and being open to accountability. But does the Church perceive this? No. It just talks louder, hoping, somehow, it will be heard. It won’t.

In all this, the Church only seeks to make itself more appealing, and attractive to those who might join. Yet it rarely asks the same public why they don’t join. It is like a business doing even more hard selling, with increasing desperation, but unwilling to ask the consumers why they aren’t buying. What is strange about this situation is that the drivers of the agenda are deeply concerned about mission and evangelism. So, they act out of the best of intentions.

But the problem is that the underlying theology of mission and of the Holy Spirit – missiology and pneumatology – is deeply deficient. Expressive evangelistic campaigns tend to achieve very little. Even the Evangelical Alliance admitted in 1994 that the main achievement of the Decade was to establish ‘new levels of co-operation between the Churches’. Hardly a great result but, as other writers in the field of missiology had known for years, what was compelling and credible was an authentic and humble Church. One that listened deeply and lived its faith, faithfully and unassumingly, ratherthan brashly promoting its brand.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CT) Rosaria Butterfield: Christian Hospitality Is Radically Different from ‘Southern Hospitality’

You advocate a kind of hospitality that steers clear of teacups and doilies. How does radically ordinary hospitality differ from what most people think of as “Southern hospitality?

First of all, it is not entertainment. Hospitality is about meeting the stranger and welcoming that stranger to become a neighbor—and then knowing that neighbor well enough that, if by God’s power he allows for this, that neighbor becomes part of the family of God through repentance and belief. It has absolutely nothing to do with entertainment.

Entertainment is about impressing people and keeping them at arm’s length. Hospitality is about opening up your heart and your home, just as you are, and being willing to invite Jesus into the conversation, not to stop the conversation but to deepen it.

Hospitality is fundamentally an act of missional evangelism. And I wouldn’t know what to do with a doily if you gave it to me. I would probably wipe up cat mess with a doily.

 

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Posted in Entertainment, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Diocese of SC) Tyler Prescott–Is Your Church Reaching the Community That Actually Surrounds It?

Tell me if this description fits: You’re a centuries (or maybe only decades) old congregation in a rapidly changing community of the coastal plain or Pee Dee area of South Carolina. For years you’ve been trying to “reach young families” or, more recently, “engage millennials,” but you aren’t really sure where to begin. Does that sound familiar? It could be the constant refrain of many a church in South Carolina and certainly for many in our Diocese! Where is one even to begin?

An important starting place is by asking ourselves a few questions:

Who are we?
Who are our neighbors?
How can we be better neighbors in our community?” (see Romans 15:1-2 for but one Scriptural imperative).
Such questions allow us to thoughtfully consider how our congregations both reflect and diverge from the communities they serve. Further, these questions invite us to consider how our congregations may then bring the Gospel into these communities in a way that showers their particular concerns, particular fears, particular shame, and particular guilt with the all-encompassing love of Christ.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

‘What do we mean when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?’ The Reverend Nicky Gumbel & Archbishop Justin Welby

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Christian Post) Church of England in Decline: What’s Being Done to Combat Shrinking Congregations?

Empty churches. One-person congregations. Ministers “dressed up with no one to listen.” Is this the stark reality facing Church of England parishes?

While to many, the future of the denomination looks bleak, there are major efforts at work aimed at bringing the faithful back to the church.

One is a digital initiative that develops new ideas to enhance outreach and information. Another seeks to showcase the importance of the church community during momentous events in people’s lives, such as weddings and funerals, when they’re seeking answers to critical questions.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, reports on last week’s South Carolina Diocesan Convention

From Rev. Todd Simonis, Senior Associate: I very much appreciated Bishop Lawrence calling local churches to have a mission mindset. It was great to have conversations about the changing demographics of the Lowcountry and how we, as the church, must be ready to reach out to those demographics. As always, it was an encouraging time to be with others from the diocese.
From Rion Salley, Senior Warden and Delegate: Bishop Lawrence shared how a little intentionality can go a long way for the Kingdom of God. First, as sowers of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ we can take more time to familiarize ourselves with the people in our community and build deeper relationships with those God has put in our midst by walking through life together as Jesus did.
From Rev. Chuck Pollak, Priest Associate: For me a highlight was the sermon by Bishop Lowenfield, who described his difficult decision to leave the Episcopal Church, and the joy he now feels as a member of ACNA. His journey is similar to one that many of us have experienced, and we know how wrecking that decision has been to us and to others as well. His message is one of hope.
From Jane Manos, Delegate: It was great to be with the Parish Church of St. Helena at the convention – a true honor! From Bishop Lawrence’s address, what stood out to me: “Uncertainty is WHY we need to sow the seed (of the Gospel).”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(SA) Ruth Lukabyo–Youth Revival: The impact of the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade on young people

Dad was not the only young person whose life was transformed that day. In fact, a statistical analysis of the Sydney Crusade demonstrates that 60% of those who signed the decision card were under the age of 21. The age most highly represented was 12-15 years at 28%, followed by 16-21 years at 19%. Many call the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade a revival, but it was not only a revival, it was a youth revival.

Apart from the work of the Spirit, why did the Crusade have such a marked impact upon youth? Graham’s message was a traditional gospel message of the sinfulness of people and their need for forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This was not new.

What was new was the way it was communicated and Graham’s focus on young people. Youth nights were organised which were full of energy and infectious enthusiasm and were perhaps the most fruitful of the Crusade meetings. Associate evangelists spent hours at secondary schools, speaking at assemblies and lunch hour meetings. Graham spoke at Sydney University outside the Great Hall to a crowd of 4,000 students. Even at the main Crusade meetings, Graham would address young people separately and call them to dedicate themselves to Christ.

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Posted in Australia / NZ, Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

South Carolina Diocese Urged to Go Out to Sow Seeds of the Gospel at 227th Diocesan Convention – A Convention Wrap-Up

Through his refrain, [Bishop] Lawrence seemed to sum up the theme of the Convention urging church members to “go out to sow”– beyond their church walls to engage their communities for Christ.

“So what would it look like for the diocese and our congregations to step out more fully in mission?” he asked. “First, I believe we would seek to engage our local communities in relevant, sensitive witness and evangelism; secondly, that Matthew 25 ministries (those reaching the poor and neglected) would proliferate among us; and thirdly, we would partner with one another to plant churches that plant churches.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Bishop Mark Lawrence Addresses the 227th South Carolina Diocesan Convention

Before I go any further with my purpose, let me get something out of the way. Call it litigation—legal updates—the financial challenges it brings. You may think it is the elephant in the room. I suggest to you it is not. Certainly, the most recent legal volley from The Episcopal Church is an attempt to bring every congregation of the diocese (and even those outside the diocese) into their crosshairs. But, it is not the elephant in the room. An elephant in the room is a metaphor for what many fear is a problem that is not acknowledged openly. Frankly, the legal battle is acknowledged everywhere I go. Whether at Bishop’s forums, coffee hours, vestry meetings, church door handshakes, evening phone calls, or casual dinners. Then there is the related question, such as, “If we should we lose, who will stay with the building and who will not?” All I will say of this for now is what I hear in my quiet moments from the Lord that now is no time to lose my resolve! Therefore, by God’s grace, I shall not. I suggest the same for you. But if your congregation needs a refresher course about the theological issues that led to our dissociation from TEC may I suggest you get a copy of the video that Al Zadig and Kendall Harmon are making at St. Michael’s entitled: “Why the Battle? Different God and Gospel.” Thank you, Al and Kendall.

So that said, I want to address what I believe is the real elephant in the room. I have been your bishop now for ten years. The first five years were in the context of theological and ecclesiastical struggles to remain “intact and in TEC”: the last five in litigation to be “intact and out of TEC”. As I reflect on this decade—just a mere one thirty-fourth of the time Anglicanism has been in Charleston and one twenty-third of the time the Diocese of South Carolina has been in existence, I realize I am sojourner among you. If the years that Anglicanism has been here were measured as one hour my years with you would be considerably less than two minutes. And in that hour there has been wars and rumors of wars. There have been rectors removed from their pulpits in the midst of British occupation and reinstated after the Revolution. There have been Union soldiers housed in our churches and surgeries performed on Southern gravestones. A Confederate submarine sunk in Charleston harbor and German submarines lurked off the Carolina coast. There have been fires and floods, earthquakes and plagues. The ironies abound. One of my predecessors in his Bishop’s Address in the late 19th Century wondered what could be done about the declining churches along the coast, for some of the parishes could hardly stay open—all the growth was inland. Parishes in the Low Country were languishing. Now the Low Country and the coastal regions are so bursting with people moving in from elsewhere one can hardly navigate the roadways. Instead, we ask what we should do about our congregations in the small towns of the Midlands and the Pee Dee. It is they who struggle to keep their church doors open. The hymn writer, Issac Watts might well have had them in mind when he wrote:

“Time like an every rolling stream bears all our years away; /they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day. /O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, /be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.”

Indeed, are we not all sojourners? An ever-changing environment is the normal backdrop to life; change is the real constant. Hence there are always “good reasons” for the sower not to go out. This I believe is the elephant in the room. It is the main theme of this address. Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow.” It did not matter to our Lord that there was uncertainty—he went out to sow. Uncertainty is arguably, why we need to go out to sow. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” so must we go out into the field. I have spoken about this in one way or another at almost every diocesan convention. It seems always to lose out to other pressing concerns. Sadly, I have let it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Prayers requested for the historic diocese of South Carolina Diocesan Convention which meets beginning Friday

You can find an overview of information there, including links for the workshops and a schedule for both days.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BGEA) Billy Graham: A Life Remembered

Watch it all (just over 28 1/2 minutes)

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture