26 May 2014
Stepping into evangelism
The Church Army has
launched a practical resource to equip
individuals and churches to share their faith through words and action.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, welcomed Stepping into evangelism as "a gift from God, via Church Army, to enable each of us to live out the most freeing, exciting and life-giving of mandates that God offers: to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. Nothing quite brings energy and renewal to a church than seeing people come to faith."
The booklet contains hands-on advice, tips, discussion and exercises to help people engage in day-to-day evangelism. With evangelism being one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's top three priorities, it is hoped the resource will be a blessing to the wider Church.
Speaking of Stepping into evangelism Archbishop Welby added: "When Pharaoh kept the people of God slaves he instructed them to make bricks but didn't give them the straw they needed to make them. Our God is entirely the opposite – God charges us with a task then gives us what we need."
At the March General Synod a motion by Archbishop Sentamu to "re-evangelise" England was approved, and a new evangelism task force was formed to support churches to embrace their calling to be those who proclaim the Gospel.
The chapters address why evangelism is a priority for God and include methods for evangelism for both individuals and whole churches, as well as exploring the role of fresh expressions of church, the church calendar and community events.
Church Army Chief Executive, Mark Russell, said: "Evangelism can be a scary prospect for many people or just another thing to add to life's to-do list. Others may see it as merely a growth strategy for the church.
"Yet, evangelism is so exciting when viewed from God's perspective! It is God's vision to see lives changed, hearts renewed, creation restored and people transformed into followers of Jesus. And the best news about all of this is that he wants us to be involved. We hope Stepping into evangelism will be a real encouragement and blessing to the Church."
Stepping into evangelism also bolsters the Evangelical Alliance Confidence in the Gospel campaign. which asks whether churches in the UK are as confident in the good news message as they should be, and seeks to help them create a more gospel-confident culture.
The Alliance identified that while mission is clearly at the heart of what many churches are doing, talking about our faith as Christians is proving increasingly difficult.
Results of the research carried out into this showed that: "There is a high perception that non-Christians are not interested in talking about spiritual things, despite almost 90 per cent having experience of conversations which turn to spiritual or religious questions. This all indicates a clear lack of confidence".
Points for action included building relationships in the workplace, moving out of the Christian 'ghetto' to befriend people who are not Christians and improving the public image of the Church.