— Age In Grace (@ageingrace22) November 19, 2019
Category : Evangelism and Church Growth
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.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) January 11, 2020
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.
A Baptist congregation in Washington decided the best way to reach the unchurched in their community was to plant a church … of a different denomination https://t.co/JDXgLv5fNv
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) November 12, 2019
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.
The early church’s survival and growth against all odds should encourage and challenge us Christians today https://t.co/vTgW2icWbp
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) October 16, 2019
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….
Read it all (subscription).
Did you see Tim Green’s blog post about his father, Michael, drawn from our new book ‘Michael Green: by his friends’?
— IVP UK (@IVPbookcentre) September 21, 2019
— St Pauls Summerville (@StPaulsSVille) August 29, 2019
O Lord Jesus Christ, thou good Shepherd of the sheep, we beseech thee to be present in thy power with the missions of thy Church in this our land. Show forth thy compassion to all who are out of the way, and bring them home in safety to thy fold; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
In this key role, Stephen will be responsible for working with dioceses, churches and other organisations to equip the Church’s million regular worshippers to be a confident witness in every part of their lives and enable a growing Church.
Stephen will also be responsible for a national project to identify, equip and release 1,000 new evangelists in the Church of England by 2025. His appointment emphasises the importance the Church attaches to our commitment to ‘motivate the million.’
Stephen is currently the Dean of Derby, a position he has held since 2017. He was previously the Canon Missioner of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Mission and Evangelism for the Diocese of Southwark from 2013 to 2017. Stephen is founder and convener of the Cathedrals and Growth Network and is a former member of the General Synod.
— Stephen Hance (@StephenHance1) July 8, 2019
The Latest Edition of the Diocese of #SouthCarolina Enewsletter https://t.co/y36ntoXjUg#parishministry #lowcountrylife #anglican #churchgrowth #theology #lowcountrylife #anglican #media pic.twitter.com/EhqZ0oeFso
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 5, 2019
The three biggest UK denominations—Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians—are all declining quite quickly. Overall, their numbers have gone down 16 percent in just the last five years, Presbyterians the fastest (down 19%). Two other major groups are also declining, Baptists and Methodists, but they are much smaller in size.
The three major denominations form 60 percent of church members, and the smaller two another 16 percent. The remaining members often belong to the types of churches that are seeing the most growth right now—many of which have a Pentecostal bent, ranging from immigrant-founded denominations to Hillsong campuses.
Their increase, although significant, is unfortunately not enough to compensate for the drop among the bigger churches, but has moderated the overall decline. I’ll share below which kinds of churches are growing the fastest amid demographic shifts in the UK.
London is the epicenter for growing churches. Between 2005 and 2012, overall church attendance (not membership) in London went from 620,000 people to 720,000, a 16 percent increase. The number of churches increased by two a week, from 4,100 to 4,800. During this time, the city welcomed immigrants both from Europe and the rest of the world, its population growing from 7 million to 8 million in 10 years.
Many of those newcomers were Christians and sought a church that spoke their language.
A type of church that’s taking off in the UK:
“Messy churches,” which offer food, fun, and fellowship, especially for families. There are over 3,000 messy churches in the UK attended by some 103,000 people in 2019. https://t.co/DErEzTyBds
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) May 29, 2019
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 21, 2019
The Spring issue of the Jubilate Duo has just published! A front page article salutes our church plant – St. Timothy's – https://t.co/0lrrUV6tRM
To subscribe tothe Jubilate Deo, go here: https://t.co/tiTmvbIx3O pic.twitter.com/889A11PtE8
— St Pauls Summerville (@StPaulsSVille) May 20, 2019
A Suffolk bishop will be at one of two ‘Grill a Christian’ evenings being held in a Sudbury pub for people to ask questions about life and faith.
The two evenings are being hosted in the White Horse pub in North Street from 7pm to 9pm on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 when a local mission team and ministers will get quizzed.
Grill a Christian events to be hosted in pub https://t.co/yaPFwR7d8w
— East Anglian Daily Times (@EADT24) May 12, 2019
Bishop Thorpe said: “The Church of England is a church that can grow and so we want to be encouraging churches to think about how they can grow.
“This whole program is about taking a step back, working with church leaders to see how can we be part of a strategy in the Diocese to begin to invest in growth, rather than in some of the decline that we’ve seen, and that’s a challenge. But there are churches that are good at growing and we want to get right behind that and see it happen more and more.”
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 25, 2019
In July of 2018, a summons ordered me to report to Charleston Municipal Court for jury duty in early August. After reading the very limited exemptions from duty, I realized that resistance was futile and reported on the required Monday morning to fulfill my civic duty.
As it turned out, a priest named Ryan Streett and 40-some other Charlestonians had been summoned for this same jury duty, and we all sat in the courtroom that Monday waiting to see if we would be selected. Later, those of us who were not chosen for the first case lined the walls of the hallway outside the courtroom waiting for the next case to be called. The week progressed this way and with a great deal of waiting outside the courtroom in the hallway.
During a particularly long recess, I spotted Father Ryan and I nervously approached him, introduced myself, and asked if he ever performed baptisms for people other than those in his congregation….
Roseanne Gudzan–How a Jury Summons led to a very unexpected Outcome https://t.co/DOClpaZw2k … #parishministry #baptism #evangelism #law #southcarolina #lowcountrylife (photo: St. Philip’s #CharlestonSC) pic.twitter.com/ZGoknUzHF8
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 10, 2019
She was completely trapped, locked ina life of immorality and shame with no apparent way out.No way forward. No way back. Living an almost invisible existence until he, under God’s providence, crossed several boundaries—both geographical and cultural; established a personal contact with her in spite of her desire to be invisible; courted her curiosity; touched her deepest pain and need and brought her into the grace of his reckless and redeeming love….
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 18, 2018
“The harvest is plentiful; the time is now,” those are words Bishop Mark Lawrence used to kick off his address to the 228th Diocesan Convention, held at Saint James Church in Charleston, March 15-16, 2019, but the words also summed up the theme for the entire convention.
From the opening mini-conference led by Dave Runyon, author of The Art of Neighboring, through the workshops and sermon during the service of Holy Eucharist, through the welcoming of a new parish and the announcement of new church planting initiatives, and culminating in the Bishop’s address, the diocese focused on looking outward toward the harvest of “unseen neighbors in unseen neighborhoods.”
More than 450 people from 52 churches across the eastern and coastal portions of the state gathered to be inspired and challenged through teachings, conduct the business of the Diocese, adopt a budget, and elect committee members.
Read it all and note all the links (including those to a lot of pictures).
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 17, 2019
Repost from @dioceseofsc Please keep the Diocese of South Carolina in your prayers as today, March 15, we gather for the first day of our 228th annual convention at Saint James Church in Charleston. pic.twitter.com/eD0WTT2PXA
— St. John’s Church (Anglican) (@STJOHNSFLORENCE) March 15, 2019
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 12, 2019
A new study from Exponential by LifeWay Research found 6 in 10 Protestant churches are plateaued or declining in attendance and more than half saw fewer than 10 people become new Christians in the past 12 months.
“Growth is not absent from American churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But rapid growth through conversions is uncommon.”
The research gives a clear picture of the state of Protestant churches in America today. Most have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57%), including 21 percent who average fewer than 50. Around 1 in 10 churches (11%) average 250 or more for their worship services.
Three in five (61%) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance or growth of 5 percent or less in the last three years. Almost half (46%) say their giving decreased or stayed the same from 2017 to 2018.
The state of Protestant churches in America today:
Most have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57%), including 21 percent who average fewer than 50
Around 1 in 10 churches (11%) average 250 or more for their worship serviceshttps://t.co/awgk1LTJBe
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) March 9, 2019
In one large city in the UK, numbers of Muslim asylum-seekers have become Christians in recent years. There was no improper pressure to convert at the cathedral they went to for advice, friendship, and other essentials. Local Christians, who wanted only to help and serve, did so with grace and charity.
Curious questions were asked — “Why do you do this? Why would you help strangers?” — and feet were shuffled in a typically English fashion as slightly embarrassed volunteers explained why they were called to act like Christ.
Those asylum-seekers now make up 40 per cent of the volunteers at the cathedral’s foodbank, as they seek to pass on the love and generosity which they themselves were so freely given.
Our evangelism must be deeply rooted in Christian ethics: above all, the call of Matthew 7.12 to “do to others as you would have them do to you”. We must start by putting ourselves in the shoes of others, understanding and respecting that other traditions offer people community, solace, and even deep wells of spirituality. In our conversations, we must seek to speak of our faith without belittling or ridiculing the faith of others. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has said, “If you value faith, then you value the faith of others.”
Monologuing, manipulation, and marketing can be smelt a mile off. Engagement with others needs to meet them as, when, and where they are, like the volunteers at the cathedral whose witness was rooted in care and concern for those whom they helped.
Indeed, we can be born afresh in our faith, and gain a deeper understanding of our own tradition, when we converse with the religious other.
“When you communicate joyfully the glory of the Gospel story, therefore, be prepared to listen deeply to people of other faiths, and learn something yourself — perhaps even encounter something of God that you had not found before.” – @JustinWelbyhttps://t.co/lis9Hg69IX
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) March 8, 2019
Many churches in the United States are not seeing new faces in the pews, a new study reveals.
Six in 10 Protestant churches are plateaued or declining in attendance, and more than half saw fewer than 10 people become new Christians in the past 12 months, the study shows.
LifeWay Research conducted the study for Exponential, a Virginia-based organization focusing on resources for church planting and multiplication.
“Growth is not absent from American churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “But rapid growth through conversions is uncommon.”
Officially, the chief focus of the week is evangelism. But, as ever, there are other, unofficial currents flowing through the week, and so the other prominent thread will be human sexuality – both the work under the title ‘Living in Love and Faith‘ (long-term, official) and the ongoing rows about liturgy to be used with people who have undergone a gender change (current campaigning, unofficial).
We’ll get to the transgender row in a minute. But first of all, note the time being given to evangelism-related debates this week:
- On Wednesday, three contributions from Anglican leaders from elsewhere – North India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya.
- Thursday is an evangelism-free day. But on Friday we have three major items – Evangelism and Discipleship, evangelism on estates, and the Growing Faith debate on ministry among children and young people.
- On Friday we return to the subject with a Private Members Motion from Church Army’s Mark Russell about encouraging youth evangelism.
Over 400 people assembled in the Vatican over three weeks. The initial work of the Synod was to listen to five-minute contributions from every part of the world. There was widespread agreement that we live in a time when the passing on of Christian faith is challenging and difficult everywhere.
There was widespread agreement around two further themes. The first is that the Church therefore needs to reflect more, not less, on the reasons for this and our response. The second is that as a Church we need to begin not with techniques or methods but with Christ: dwelling deeply, seeing the face of Christ afresh, exploring again the joy of the gospel.
There have been very significant shifts in our culture and the place of the church within our culture. We understand them only in part. But I believe more and more of the Church of England recognises now that technical solutions are not the answer. I have found more and more over the last three years that when I speak about church growth and how to do evangelism the energy leaves the room.
If I show even a hint of a downward sloping graph, I lose my audience completely. But when I speak of Christ and the wonder and character of Christ and the need to begin from a place of hope and love and nurture the Church as the Body of Christ in very simple ways, the energy levels rise and there is fresh hope and vision.
This is not because people are unwilling to face reality. I think our congregations and communities understand the reality of our situation very well indeed. I think we recognise together that technique or finance or strategies cannot of themselves “solve” the problem. We need as a Church to gather again around Jesus Christ and his gospel and find there renewal and healing and life for us and for the world. These convictions undergird the vision and call we are exploring in the Diocese of Oxford, to be a more Christ like Church for the sake of God’s world: more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous.
In an unusual move, this month’s General Synod will take the subject of evangelism as its theme.
In particular, Synod members will be asked to urge every diocese to launch new missions and ministries to housing estates up and down the country.
The ‘Estates Evangelism task group’is working on plans to extend the reach of each parish to ‘hard-to-reach’places. The Rev Helen Shannon, who sits on the task group, said that there needed to be changes made to clergy selection, deployment and training to implement a change in thinking.
She said the task group wanted estates ministry to be ‘part of every diocese’s budget’.
She pointed out that while most such parishes were made up of 500 dwellings, they constituted one-fifth of all parishes. “Fifty per cent of the population of England live in these areas,”she said.
A motion on Friday 22 February will hear the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev Philip North, ask the Synod to ‘give thanks’to the Christian leadership offered from such communities. His motion calls for the establishment of a ‘serving, loving and worshipping community in every significant social housing estate in the country.’
But despite declining church numbers nationally, the secretary-general of the Archbishops’Council, William Nye, said the focus on evangelism emerged from a sense of urgency.