• Governance models of leadership must give priority to evangelism.

    Evangelism must have a seat at the table at every Vestry meeting. Too often the governance models of leadership in Anglican parishes drawn from secular sources (not necessarily a bad thing) but tend to neglect biblical priorities and diocesan regulations, which identify evangelism as an important priority for vestries .
  • Promote staff appointments for a Pastor of Evangelism.

More full-time or part-time, paid or voluntary, appointments need to be made of Pastors for Evangelism. New and broader portfolios for holistic evangelism need to be developed to secure ongoing and long term commitment to parish evangelism.

  • Promote more clergy in-service and lay training to focus on evangelistic, mission functions of the local parish.

    Clergy training is still dominated by an emphasis on chaplaincy concepts of church. There is an urgent place for EFAC to fill a void and provide regular courses or (Sunday) conferences for training and support of both clergy and lay leaders.
  • Training in evangelism for laypeople must move beyond training in personal evangelism to focus on holistic parish evangelism.

    Most training in evangelism offered in many parishes focuses on personal evangelism – which of course is important. However, training in promoting new strategies to `foster the fringe of the church’ – newcomers, baptism enquirers, past contacts, seekers, community welfare recipients and counselees, also needs to be developed in a coordinated and organized way.
  • More emphasis needs to be devoted to adult Christian education, where church members can gain confidence in discussing the relevance of their Christian perspective on social and moral issues.

    Pre-evangelistic opportunities often arise through discussion of community social and moral issues. To take advantage of such opportunities we need a well-developed Christian worldview taught through adult Christian education courses in our churches.
  • Greater emphasis needs to be devoted to teaching on apologetics, so that church members can be more confident to engage with those who offer objections to the Christian faith.

    Although some doubt the effectiveness of apologetics (by itself) in our post-modern world, yet training in apologetics is still an important aspect to pre-evangelism, especially to assist genuine seekers, and also our own members who become aware of objections to the Christian faith of which they were previously unaware.

  • More attention needs to be given to the cultural concerns of non-believers, so that our public church services and sermons can more effectively relate God’s Word to human need.

    Although we acknowledge that the centre of our discipleship and worship is Jesus, our Christian worldview demands that the circumference of our discipleship touches the whole world of human experience. When our sermons begin and end with the biblical text without application and relevance to human living and experience we lose opportunities for sincere seekers to see the relevance of the Scriptures to them. Opportunities for church members to be taught how to relate the biblical worldview to human concerns are also lost.

  • Adult commitment as an outcome of evangelism, needs to be re-discovered in our Anglican churches.

    In contrast to `believer’s baptism’ churches, where a strong emphasis is placed on adult commitment, followed by public profession of faith, Anglican churches rarely, if ever, promote public profession of faith for adults. From one year to the next, the concept of baptism seems to be displayed in our church, as something for children. What is needed to promote the visibility of adult commitment is to introduce a `welcome into church membership’ service (linked with becoming an adult member on the electoral or membership roll), where new adults are seen to be professing their faith in Christ on a regular basis.

  • We must separate religious celebration for the birth of a child – which is a cultural rite of initiation, from baptism which is a mark of faith in response to effective evangelism.

    In the chaplaincy (or Christendom) model of ministry we have inherited, infant baptism is more often seen as a `rite of passage’, and not as an honest profession of faith. Our Prayer books now include a `Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child’ as a Christian `rite of passage’ which should, in appropriate cases, be promoted both as an alternative to baptism. An evangelistic initiative is then provided for the parents to undertake some further course of preparation, prior to their children being baptized.

  • We must recognize the sociological nature and evangelistic opportunities of promoting responsible church membership. best online casino Slot ReviewRoulette FunGame Craps

    Initiating a concept of adult responsible church membership, linkedwith a `welcome into church membership’ service and enrolment on the church members roll can provide unique opportunities to encourage reflection of a person’s spiritual status before God. These can create evangelistic opportunities.

  • Our parish system limits the possibility of church planting as an important method of evangelism.

    One of the global church growth principles for effective evangelism, is to multiply congregations or church planting. Our focus on parish boundaries limits the potential to create new congregations which might cover a geographical area larger than a single parish, and target a specific population demographic
  • We must move beyond friendship evangelism as the main evangelistic method promoted in our churches

    Our individualistic approach to evangelism is often expressed through our strategy of depending on individual members of our congregations to engage in friendship evangelism. But National Church Life Surveys have indicated that most church members have a small group of friends who are already Christians, which severely limits the effectiveness of this kind of strategy for the local church.

  • We must develop long-term coordinated multiple methods of evangelistic outreach in our communities.

    A mission –shaped church will need to set long-term goals for reaching their community with the gospel, and persevere over time with a number of complementary methods: from local media promotion of existing and specific church activities, to involvement in the local community, to creating opportunities for fringe people to attend home or church-based activities, to offering regular evangelistic courses such as Alpha or Introducing God, to training lay leaders in evangelistic counseling, to integration of new converts into church membership and into a discipleship programme of adult Christian education.

  • We often focus more on conversion rather than on making disciples.

    Our individualistic approach to ministry tends to focus on the making of converts, rather than integration into a community of faith in which God has provided gifts of the Holy Spirit for ministry of support and growth in Christ-likeness. Here again the importance of adult profession of faith, welcome into church membership and integration into small home group and adult Christian education, moves the convert beyond an individualistic concept of following Christ, to a more biblical concept of a mutually supportive communal expression of discipleship.
  • We often find it difficult to trust God the Holy Spirit to actually gift some of our church members with the gift of evangelism.

    We acknowledge that all are called to witness, but are reluctant to think that God is blessing our congregation with gifts of evangelism. Thus we do not seek to discover who have been given such gifts, how to train them further in developing appropriate skills, or set them apart with job descriptions, support and authority to engage in parish evangelism.
  • We often ignore the significance of our church budget as an expression of intent to engage in evangelism, and so little of our physical or financial resources are allocated to evangelism.

    We often neglect to explore a faith budget which promotes a significant allocation of our resources to initiate new concepts of ministry – especially the level of resources to promote effective parish evangelism – staff, promotion, training facilities, resource materials lay involvement.
  • We need to seize the opportunities to encourage young adults to take seriously their responsibilities as disciples of Jesus to engage in parish evangelism.

    Although great emphasis and resource allocation is given to youth ministry, we often ignore responsible church membership structures, such as welcome into adult church membership for those turning 18 years. Many cultures have some significant ritual or celebration for `coming of age’. Perhaps we need to make more of `coming of age’ as adult church members for our young adults, to offer a significant Christian celebration, as an alternative to other expressions of reaching mature years in our culture.
  • We have often been intimidated by the religious relativism of our dominant popular culture, to actively engage in evangelism.

    Too often we lack the confidence in our Christian faith, regard for the uniqueness of Christ and the plight of those who have not been reconciled to their Creator through Christ, to actively engage in evangelistic activities.

Phillip Saunders is a retired and active Melbourne vicar.

Editor’s note: Views in articles do not necessarily represent EFAC Australia – and we do encourage lively discussion and feedback!