Category : Evangelism and Church Growth

(LR) 3 Reasons Christians Stay Silent about Their Faith

1. Christians stay silent because of a desire to be friendly
Evangelism is a loving act of telling someone why you have hope in a broken world. It’s talking about something (or someone) important to you. However, for too many, evangelism conjures a negative image; it feels unkind.

We have no problem talking about our kids, grandkids, new cars, or even a television series we’re watching. But when it comes to talking about Jesus and the difference our faith makes in our lives, we freeze. We’ve accepted the idea that evangelism is unfriendly, so we remain silent.

Research shows 51% of Americans say they’re curious and wanted to know why faith is important to others. In other words, the cringe is inside us. Evangelism practiced in love and with a winsome personality would be a welcome part of most conversations and friendships.

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Posted in Evangelism and Church Growth, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(Church Times) Strategic Development Fund opens a route to faith, says study

It is now seven years since a task group led by the finance chair of the Archbishops’ Council, John Spence, published Resourcing the Future (News, 16 January 2015), a report that proposed a “fundamental shift” in the ways money from the Church Commissioners was distributed to dioceses, warning that those currently deployed had “only a superficial link to growth and have failed the poorest communities” and that “a large amount of money is subsidising decline.”

Under the existing approach at the time, most central funds had been provided under the Darlow formula, which calculated the needs of parishes on the basis of financial need and attendance. This was replaced with the two new funding streams (News, 21 October 2016). Half of the total (£24 million per year at the outset) would be earmarked for the dioceses with the greatest concentration of low-income communities through LInC. The other half, SDF, would be made available to dioceses through grants for which they would have to bid, demonstrating that their project would result in “a significant difference to their mission and financial health”.

The new approach was introduced in 2017, to run until 2026.

The Archbishops’ Council has been challenged to conduct and publish an independent review of SDF. While some dioceses have published evaluations of their projects, including Leicester (News, 3 October 2019) and Portsmouth, many others have not. Mr Spence, who also chairs the SIB, told General Synod in 2019 that by the following year there would be enough evidence for an “objective, thor­ough, and independent review” (Features, 15 November 2019).

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

For Their Feast Day–(CH) John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France.

Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring.

Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Here we present two hymns by Charles and a sermon by John.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Church Times) C of E Synod told of successful programme to make laity more evangelistic

The laity are now more confident in expressing their faith, and there is “strong evidence” of a change in culture, according to a progress report on the implementation of recommendations made five years ago.

In a debate in the General Synod on Wednesday afternoon, members told stories of encouraging initiatives from around the country before voting overwhelmingly to take note of the report.

Introducing the progress report, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, said that the implementation of the Setting God’s People Free initiative, commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council and presented to the Synod in February 2017 (News, 27 January 2017), had helped the whole Church to focus on its identity. Every baptised Christian was a unique follower of Christ, irrespective of their background, ability, or age, she said: “It is about who we are.” Nor was it simply about greater social action. “That’s really important, but only part of it.”

After a short film telling stories of what faith meant to a handful of Christians in different contexts around the country, Dr Nick Shepherd, the project director spoke. The aim of Setting God’s People Free was better enabling the whole people of God to live out their faith, he said; and this was becoming “a firmer reality”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity

Church of England Evangelist Rico Tice on what is the gospel

It starts at about 32:15 in and is worth its weight in gold.

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Eschatology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

(Economist) The Church of England needs new members. How to get them?

Now the church is displaying evangelising glints that are, for many, alarming. A briefing paper on “Vision and Strategy”, delivered in July at its general synod, called for a church that is “younger and more diverse”—and much bigger. It aims to develop 3,000 “worshipping hubs” for children and young people, and has linked with a movement called “Myriad” (the word is Greek for 10,000), which aims to create 10,000 new churches and a million new worshippers in Britain within a decade.

Myriad does not mean “churches” in the spinsters-and-stained-glass sense. It is not promising 10,000 more pulpits or transepts or tea urns or vicars. It is not promising buildings at all. Myriad groups might meet in churches and work with priests—or they might meet independently, in houses or offices or parks. Followers talk freely about God. As a promotional video explains, this movement is “not just reserved for Bibles and a building”. These churches will be “predominantly” led by lay people—a Myriad boss referred to buildings and theological training as “key limiting factors” in church expansion.

The response has been bitter. Both the church and Myriad later apologised for the “limiting factors” comment, but the damage was done. The plans have been described as “Stalinist” and a “Great Leap Forward”. This, one vicar wrote, is a Christianity that is “randy for converts”. A Save the Parish group has been formed. Diarmaid MacCulloch, an emeritus professor of ecclesiastical history at Oxford University, sees in the scheme a certain “adolescent self-confidence”. Many are very angry. Mr MacCulloch says he is merely “mildly cross in an Anglican sort of way”. Which in Anglicanese means furious.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(C of E) Emily Emmerson-Finch’–‘My passion is for reaching out to people who don’t come to’ worship

Not catching a bus though: at the age of 22 she took the extraordinary decision to spend her savings buying a double decker bus and transforming it into a youth and community centre.

A church youth worker, Emily drove the bus around the York and later the Scarborough coastal areas. She hosted sessions for young people on board the bus, with the opportunity to pray afterwards, as well as drop-ins for families and youth work training to churches.

When she left to move to Newcastle in 2018, its work had touched the lives of 5,000 young people and the Bus Stop charity had been established. She remains a trustee of the charity and it is still going strong on the North Yorkshire coast.

Now she is embarking on a new journey – of training to become a distinctive deacon in the Church of England.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(EF) Michael Oh–John Stott: The head and heart of the Lausanne Movement

The two leaders with whom the Lausanne Movement is most closely associated are Billy Graham and John Stott.

Billy was the face and voice of the movement. That voice echoed through the halls of the Palais de Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974 on the first night of the First Congress on World Evangelization exclaiming, ‘Let the earth hear his voice!’

John Stott, however, was the head and heart of Lausanne.

I first met Uncle John 25 years ago while I was a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I had the unexpected blessing of lunch with him. It was like meeting a real-life hero. Not the kind that you watch in movies, but the kind that we all truly need. Not a man of fame and fortune, but a godly, wise, and humble servant.

The topic of our conversation was birds—a topic Uncle John was always animated about. After sharing with me some of the fascinating lessons on life and faith to be learned from birds, he expressed his hope to one day write a book on his favorite hobby.

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Posted in Church History, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Theology

Canon J John on the death of Argentinian evangelist Luis Palau

Let me share with you three things about the life of Luis that I celebrate.

First, there was Luis’ energy. He was a man who, astonishingly, preached as an evangelist for nearly seventy years. In 2015, at the age of eighty-one, he held an outdoor service for 60,000 people in New York’s Central Park and lamented that planning laws hadn’t allowed more attendees. Indeed, when he received news that he had lung cancer, one of his main regrets was that he might have to cancel some of his preaching events. In part, that energy came from his own natural strength but I’m sure a lot of it was asked of God and given by him. Theodore Roosevelt once wrote,

There wasn’t much rust on Luis.

Second, there was Luis’ enthusiasm. One reason that Luis was so good as an evangelist was that he was so openly and wonderfully enthusiastic about the gospel. As anyone who heard Luis will testify, there was joy in what he said. With him the good news sounded good news!

Third, Luis was effective in his evangelism.

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Posted in Argentina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(TLC Covenant) Jeremy Bonner+David Goodhew–The Growth of the Anglican Church in North America”

But ACNA has seen significant growth as well as decline. Leaving aside the two Nigerian dioceses that have left ACNA, the number of congregations in the rest of ACNA continues steadily to increase. Its stress on church planting is bearing considerable fruit and is much more vigorous than that of TEC.

What is particularly telling is the success of the non-territorial jurisdictions, particularly the diocese named C4SO (Churches for the Sake of Others), whose membership doubled and principal service attendance tripled over the six years up to 2019. C4SO is now the second-largest diocese in ACNA, eclipsed only by South Carolina, larger than Fort Worth or Pittsburgh. Western dioceses like Cascadia and the Rocky Mountains also report significant increases in membership and attendance.

C4SO 2013 2019

Congregations 26 52

Members 5,325 10,493

Attendance 3,157 9,373

Members of TEC may be tempted to look askance at a diocese whose name sounds like a droid from Star Wars, but humility is in order. The growth of C4SO massively outpaces all TEC dioceses in the same period.

What Is Going On in ACNA?

Now past its first decade, ACNA is declining and growing.

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Posted in ACNA Inaugural Assembly June 2009, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Pressing On: Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 2021 Convention of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

What do I owe the diocese before stepping down?

The Pandemic—what an inspiring video clip put together by our staff and folks from St. Helena’s documenting how our churches have continued to minister during what has seemed like a Kafkaesque dream for some of us. Our churches without exception have found ways to minister with creativity and care. Ordinations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages, funerals have continued often by exercising a remarkable resourcefulness: Zach Miller ordained in his family’s back lawn on Johns Island, Chip Bateson at a drive in style service at Resurrection, Surfside and Bill Clarkson under a tent in the parking lot of St. Matthew’s Fort Motte. The work of the gospel and the ministry of the Church has gone on. We have seen small congregations have a big reach, and local churches minister globally in ways rarely seen before. I showed up recently for visitations at congregations even as small as Advent, Marion and they all have their I-Phones there to broadcast the service and sermon online. Congregations in the Pee Dee have not only reached their members with inspiring and sustaining worship through praise, word, and sacrament, but in many cases, they have a growing “virtual congregation” faithfully viewing their worship from as far away as Virginia, California and the U.K. Those in the Beaufort deanery have told me of viewers in Sweden and Tanzania. Our rectors and vicars have people from across the country who now consider them and even refer to them as their pastor. Just yesterday, I was talking to one of our priests who told me that he has people throughout the southeast joining in on a bible study that he offers virtually. Several are members of other churches but they now call him “my pastor.” I asked him, “What are their churches doing?” He said, “I don’t know.” I told him, “Over and over I hear this story all over the diocese.” Many offer virtual services of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline as part of the rhythm of their lives—the rhythms of grace for their isolated members. Our larger congregations have invested in developing or upgrading their capacity to live stream or professionally record their worship services. In some cases tailoring these services primarily for those who partake only in home worship. While our smallest congregations have found ways to offer high pastoral touch in this low touch world. I want to pause in the midst of this convention to celebrate our clergy—rectors, vicars, assisting priests, and deacons and their lay members for your extraordinary ministry during these extraordinary times! Not only that but for how you have helped and learned from one another building up the body of Christ. I have thought for years that we are a remarkably unique place in the Anglican world. For years, we had visitors coming to Charleston for our Mere Anglican Conferences and various offerings. I pray that we shall have that once again. But for now, we are broadcasting via the internet and social media the vibrancy of the life in Christ among our congregations both great and small through worship and word in ways many of us never imagined. While I am offering kudos, I don’t want to forget what Bob Lawrence and his staff have accomplished in keeping St. Christopher in the game, or the Men’s Ministry with their zoom Summit, and the Anglican Women with their fall retreat. Well done good and faithful servants!

With that said and celebrated, I want to sound a word of concern. Chalk it up, if you must, to the world view of a septuagenarian, a curmudgeon with an Anglican bent, born in the exact middle of the past century, the son of a WWII vet and survivors of the Great Depression, who himself remembers all too well the cold war, and who as a young man took graduate courses in Marx and Soviet Thought. As I said, I feel at times that I am living through a Kafkaesque dream, concerned about things many others are not. We have entered a masked, isolated, atomistic world controlled or at least being shaped by that, which is erasing, deleting, unfriending, or cancelling a culture that once shaped our understanding of self and society. Certainly all the once was was not good; not every handshake, kiss or hug came from heartfelt conviction; and not every Easter or Christmas worship was glorious and resounding; but they were formative, and shaped earlier generations. Now, from what I have seen more of our older members have returned to in-person worship in numbers greater than the young. Generation Z those born after 1998 according to reliable research is the most unchurched generation in American history. These are their formative and perhaps in many ways their defining years. The axiom we have used in the past of “Every Congregation Engaging Every Generation” has never been more challenging nor more critical than it is today. There are few sustaining replacements for family life and lively worship in the midst of the family of God made up of “all sorts and conditions of men.” These need not be in large gatherings; yet as our Lord revealed to his first followers and was (at the risk of their lives) the irrefutable experience of the early church; it does need to be incarnational. There is much that I would like to say about this but now is not the time; I shall save it for my upcoming gatherings with the clergy. Just know I will shortly be assembling a team to consider updated guidance regarding how we chart the course to whatever normalcy may lie ahead.

Stewardship—I mentioned in my last address the need for us to strengthen our practice and teaching on stewardship at every level throughout the diocese—to parishioners, congregations, and diocesan initiatives. I have been encouraged by how many have stepped up. Our parishioners continue their generosity and giving to their congregations, our parishes and missions have to our diocesan work as well—even increasing in several cases. Stewardship, to paraphrase Henri Nouwen, is always a call to conversion. “And this call comes to those who seek funds and to those who have funds.” It is, as Nouwen says, a form of ministry, “…a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are central to life of God’s people … and give us courage when we might want to remain silent.” We in the Church need to overcome our reluctance to ask for the resources to carry out our God given vision and mission for the kingdom of God. Yet if we ourselves are not practicing it, it becomes the place where conscience doth makes cowards of us all.

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

Good Samaritan Church Plant in Summerville, South Carolina

Good Samaritan Church Plant in Summerville from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

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

For Their Feast Day–(CH) John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France.

Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring.

Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Here we present two hymns by Charles and a sermon by John.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Theological Conversations with Kendall Harmon: The Rev. Rico Tice

Listen carefully for a concise summary from a Church of England evangelist as to what the gospel actually *is*.

Posted in England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CT) Pastors Launch Church-Planting Network for ‘Black and Brown Neighborhoods’

A team of pastors including Thabiti Anyabwile and John Onwuchekwa have launched a new network—The Crete Collective—to support church planters focused on black, Hispanic, and Asian American communities.

The network represents a move to bring more people of color into leadership for church-planting initiatives and to focus more missional attention toward poor and underserved urban areas with high concentrations of ethnic minorities.

“The Crete Collective would place at the center of its work the concerns, ideals, aspirations, frustrations, struggles, and realities of black and brown neighborhoods in all of their diversity,” said founding president Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC.

“We would enthusiastically encourage the kind of holistic discipleship that sees gospel preaching and justice as siblings rather than as enemies. We’ve got a whole range of issues that we have to care about in our communities … immigration challenges, prison reform, hunger, homeownership.”


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Posted in Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Bishop Lawrence’s Annual Visitation schedule has just been released. In order to allow time for the Bishop Coadjutor’s selection, election and consecration, the calendar has been extended through the first of March 2022.

Read it all.

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

Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Meets Online for the 2020 Convention

In his address to the convention, Bishop Mark Lawrence reflected on lessons he’d learned from his predecessors, Bishops Temple, Allison and Salmon. With the last 12-15 months of his episcopacy remaining he asked, “What do I need to accomplish for the good of the Diocese? What do I need to give myself to? I’ve come to the conclusion I need to give myself, as much as I can, to the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina….To the rectors, vicars, associates and curates: I want to double down on my prayers for you, your families and ministries and to spend as much time with you as I can fit into my calendar.” He spoke of trimming time spent on committees, boards and speaking engagements “which often draw you away from what your heart wants to do” to allow him to spend time with clergy.

Analyzing the clergy of the Diocese by age, he said 10% of our clergy are between the ages of 25-39; 23% between 40-54 and 67% are age 55+. “We need to fan the flame of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the young men and women of the Diocese that God might call them to offer themselves, if God so calls, to the ordained ministry of the church.” He asked those listening to join him in praying for the work of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, where many young people have heard a call to ministry. “Pray for a spiritual revival on our clergy and lay leaders alike.”

He also said the Diocese needed to put an increasing emphasis on church planting, expressing his thankfulness for the work of the Rev. Todd Simonis, our (very part-time) Canon for Church Planting stating that by 2023 he hoped the Diocese would be able to fund that as a full-time position.

Read it all.

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

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–The end of the road for C of E growth strategies?

At…[a recent] Diocesan Synod in Chelmsford Diocese, a paper was discussed which proposed a radical reduction of stipendiary clergy posts from 275 to 215 within the next 18 months, a reduction of 22%. (Since these papers are in the public domain, you can read it for yourself here.) Despite some of these positions already being vacant, this will almost certainly involve making actual clergy redundant, which I think must be unprecedented in the modern era. With our (appropriate) current pre-occupation with the question of racism in society and the church, this might get overlooked or thought of as a local issue—but in fact this could be a turning point, since its implications point to a radical rejection of a commitment to a strategy of growth for the Church of England.

The introduction to the paper sets out the paradoxical pressures that has faced both dioceses and the national Church for some time:

a. On the one hand, it was widely predicted that 40% of serving clergy would retire in the next ten years, creating a kind of ‘cliff edge’ for stipendiary ministry. In fact, this has not been realised, since dioceses cannot control exactly when clergy retire, and many have been staying on longer than expected.

b. On the other hand, the Church of England nationally has never consistently reached its giving target of 5% of net income of those attending, and dioceses across the country are reporting growing deficits.

c. This paradox has been brought to a head by a very significant change in the way that the Church Commissioners distribute their funding. Prior to 2015, the Commissioners distributed funds according to what was known as the ‘Darlow formula’, which paid attention to needs in the dioceses in different ways, but paid no attention to commitment to or potential for growth. John Spence was the leading voice in the 2015 report Resourcing the Future, which proposed that the Commissioners money was divided into two: the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), which would give grants for church planting and church growth initiatives, each of which would need to become self-sustaining over a five-year period; and the Lowest Income Communities Funding (LInC), continuing support for the poorest communities across the dioceses….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

The Nigerian Guardian does a special interview with Anglican leader the Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba

How do you plan to create more dioceses, during your tenure?

Let me put it this way: I believe that my work, in the main, may have to do with consolidation. Along the line, there might be new things being introduced. But sustaining what is there, building up the structures that will make this Church stronger, funding and financing and being self-sustaining and supporting, and being able to carry out our mission to the world will be our focus. Part of that consolidation will be to help the needy dioceses to stand.

But I have also realised that as you engage in church mission, church planting, training of pastors and nurturing the believers, the church grows and there will be the need for us to expand. As of now, I cannot tell you the number of dioceses that will be created. This is a decision the House of Bishops, the Episcopal Synod and the General Synod will take. So, when the time comes, we will do the needful. But we will see that we consolidate, strengthen what is on the ground and build up the structures of this institution that will help the church to function and face future challenges.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

In lieu of traditional camp sessions, Camp Saint Christopher is offering a Day Camp this summer. The sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday starting on June 22. Campers who have completed 2nd-8th grade have the option to register for the entire week or half a week (Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). Each week will have a different theme with varying activities. Most weeks will include sailing, kayking, crabbing, camp games, a visit to St. Christopher’s Herpetarium, mud pit, chapel, and much, much more! Campers are welcome to register for multiple sessions….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Your Prayers Appreciated for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Convention Later this week

Q. You mentioned the precarious jobs and low wages. An example of that is a much praised film in the UK, titled “Sorry We Missed You”, a story about a man who starts working as a deliveryman in one of the new businesses such as Amazon, Uber… What ‘curses’ come with these new types of jobs linked to mobile phone ‘apps’ and the new ‘needs’ of costumers to have everything as fast and as cheap as possible.

A. Yes, it has been very interesting in the last decade that the combination of the new technologies that developed, especially smartphone apps, and that high unemployment at the beginning of the decade following the financial crisis, created the perfect conditions for what we call the ‘gig economy’ to emerge.

This form of capitalism, if you like, has developed where we have a cultural individualism and a market economy; but the consumer’s choice and freedom are becoming the most important thing of all. So we have 24/7 shopping, and somehow, we accept the ‘curse’ zero-hours contracts. And people who have to deliver this service are people we don’t really see, that are kind of invisible and anonymous. They are working having very anti-social hours and often not given much advance warning, only one day or two before they are told when they can work. This makes the worker in this ‘gig economy’… Well, it is a new kind of oppression, to be honest.

The loss of rights, the loss of freedom, especially for family relationships which came out in the film, is a very high price to pay for this new kind of consumerism – the new way we do buying and selling. So yes, it is something we should look out very critically.

Read it all and follow the links.

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

(VR) Pope Benedict XVI–Saints Cyril and Methodius: evangelizing civilization

The spirit and example of Cyril and Methodius is not only to be praised as a piece of a bygone age.

“For the peoples of Europe,” said Poe Benedict, “these two great saints remind us that their unity” – the unity of Europe – “will be more solid if it is based on common Christian roots.” The Pope identified Christianity as a central and defining element in Europe’s complex history, and discussed how the Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Old Continent, saying that this faith, “is intertwined with its history,” to such a point that the history of Europe is not comprehensible without reference to the events that marked the first great period of evangelization, and the centuries in which Christianity assumed a growing role.

The Pope went on to discuss how, in the present day, Europeans are called to commit themselves to creating the conditions for a deep, cohesive and effective cooperation among peoples – a cooperation that cannot be based on an appeal to purely economic interests, but must rather rely on those authentic human goods​​, which have their foundation in universal moral law written on the heart of every man.

“It is important, therefore,” said Pope Benedict, “that Europe also grow in the spiritual dimension, in keeping with the best angels of the history,” of Europe’s peoples.

Read and or listen to it all.

Posted in Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth

(FT) How the faithful borrow ideas from business to create start-up churches

“We need to learn from industry,” he says. “When I was in marketing at Unilever we tried things out and if they didn’t work we dropped them. It encourages an innovation culture.”

Bishop Ric’s key objective for his ministry is overseeing the creation of new worshipping communities across England. He founded the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication, using St Edmund’s as a training base.

His first “planting” success came in 2005, in the east London parish of Shadwell, where the church was facing imminent closure because of its dwindling congregation.

By adding a more relaxed family service and evening worship aimed at young people, numbers swelled to 200 regular worshippers, and groups quickly formed from among this congregation of new Christians and those who already had a faith that had moved to the area to repeat the exercise in four neighbouring churches.

Attendance across all five churches rose from 55 to 765 in a decade, Bishop Ric tells the planters assembled at St Edmund’s. “Planting is the most effective way to grow the church and if we can focus on that goal, with help, we can create growth,” he says.

“General Synod [the legislative part of the Anglican church] recently passed a motion that a new church should be created in each of the 12,500 Church of England parishes. That could mean one million people coming back to church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Not a Convention Delegate? Come anyway – for the Workshops! Join us on Friday March 13:

Morning Mini Conference on:
Creating a Spiritual Legacy: Your Game Plan from Success to Significance

Afternoon Workshops on:

Church Revitalization • Stewardship • Global Partnerships • Church Planting • The New ACNA Prayerbook • Small Church, Big Heart, Big God • Hispanic Ministry • Prayer

Read it all.

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

The Rev. Canon J. John Ali Lecture at Saint Philip’s, Charleston, SC, Yesterday

There are links for you to listen to it directly or to download it. You can read more about the event there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Natural Evangelism with Canon J. John
January 21, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston

The Anglican Leadership Institute once again invites you to a gathering to hear a gifted global leader speaking on an issue central to our Christian faith and witness. On Tuesday, January 21st. at St. Philip’s Church, 142 Church Street, Charleston, Canon J. John of England will speak on Natural Evangelism: The practice of praying, caring and sharing. Canon John, originally from Greece, has for years been a noted author, speaker, and media personality in the U.K. This is one of his first American visits. His book Ten on the Ten Commandments has been used by many study groups here in Charleston and elsewhere. It is a unique contemporary approach to a classical subject.

Read it all.

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

(CT Pastors) The Peculiar Tale of an Anglican-Baptist Church Plant

Do members feel they are “losing” by planting a church outside their denomination?

Crane: This is a gift for the kingdom. It is not a quid pro quo arrangement. Our denominational systems reward denominational progress. Our resources are poured into the expansion of our own tribe. Imagine what can be accomplished for the kingdom if we move beyond models of denominational competition toward strategic partnerships.

But strictly speaking, one reason an evangelical congregation can plant an Anglican church in the same facility is because there is such a dramatic difference between a contemporary service and a liturgical service. Typically the evangelical congregation will not “lose” many people to the liturgical expression—other than those who are encouraged to assist in the startup. You can plant on top of yourself if you reach a different universe.

What should a typical pastor take away from your uncommon approach?

Crane: The need for church plants. New churches have a much younger age profile than do older churches, and new churches have two to four times the conversion rate of new Christians than older churches do. New churches are required to keep the church species healthy and strong.

Hunter: The power of trust. Stephen Covey wrote about The Speed of Trust. When you have trust, things that would otherwise be really hard become doable.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Baptists, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

An Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Profile Article on the new TEC evangelism Officer Jerusalem Jackson Greer

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(CT) Gerald Sittser–The Early Church Thrived Amid Secularism and Shows How We Can, Too

As long as Christians assume we are still living in Christendom, the church will continue to decline in the West, no matter how ferociously Christians fight to maintain power and privilege. If anything, the harder Christians fight, the more precipitous the decline will be, for cultural power and privilege will come at an increasingly high price. Christians will either accommodate until the faith becomes almost unrecognizable, or they will isolate until their faith becomes virtually invisible.

Nothing short of a change of church culture will suffice—from a culture of entertainment, politics, personality, and program to a culture of discipleship. Such a radical change will require patience, steadiness, and purposefulness.

The good news is, we are not alone, and the story of early Christianity reminds us of this fact. Faithful Christians have gone before us, bearing witness to the truth of Christianity, the power of the gospel, and the high calling of discipleship. Calling out across the centuries, they tell us that it is possible now, as it was then, to live as faithful followers of Jesus the Lord in a culture that does not approve of it or reward it.

Two millennia ago, Jesus Christ—his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension—set in motion a movement that turned the world upside down. He is the same Lord today. It can happen again.

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Posted in Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(CEN) A remarkable ministry–Chris Sugden reviews ‘Michael Green Remembered’

Michael Green was decisive. He made decisions, sometimes impulsive, often intuitive, occasionally spur of the moment. And he encouraged thousands of people, many in their late teens and early 20s, to make the most important decision of their lives, to live for, with, and in the power of Jesus.

It is quite natural, that within nine months of his death in January 2019 at the age of 88, 35 people who had known him at various stages of life should, encouraged by his family and editor Julia Cameron, contribute to a book of remembrances that was formally launched at his memorial service in Coventry Cathedral, where he was a canon theologian, on 7 September.

Some will read this book to discover more about a valued friend and colleague in Christian ministry, and others because his combination of sharp apologetics and winsome evangelism won them to Christian discipleship and they want to find out about other phases of his life.It is not a book to be read end to end, but from which to pick out gems here and there.

And they abound….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry