Why is it that the concept of personal evangelism, that is, person-to-person sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and how this is good news in our lives, makes so many people feel so uncomfortable? One of many reasons is that we Episcopalians know that some people somewhere shove four spiritual laws down people’s throats, and we don’t want to be like them. Another reason is that we are simply out of practice. We don’t (think we) know how to share because we haven’t done it, lately, or ever!
Nothing like overcoming a fear by plunging head-first into it. So we, the diocesan Evangelism Committee, proposed sharing. And then put it to the test, by video recording one another sharing our stories of faith. We discovered it was easier to tell a genuine, brief account of life in Christ if we pictured someone, not yet a Christian. Thinking of that person (my neighbor), I could also imagine a context for conversation (we usually chat about how we’ve spent our days). Is there a way to talk about God’s grace and love when I talk about my day? Yes! As we suspected, this is true for many people in our diocese.
We gave everyone at the Diocesan Convention the opportunity to engage in this exercise with hopes that it would instill confidence to evangelize. We rewarded everyone who participated with a button that says, “I Shared,” which could be an evangelisic tool. Imagine the grocer, teacher, neighbor asking you, “What did you share?” They might expect to hear your money or your things, but they might be curious when you respond, “My life in Christ.”
We posted the videos on the diocesan youtube channel: youtube.com/sandiegoepiscopal. This step was meant to inspire others to repeat the exercise. Also, it is a gift to hear the personal testimonies of people throughout the diocese. We hope that the exercise is repeated over and over and that we continue in this diocese to unabashedly proclaim Christ’s boundless love and mercy to a world parched for good news, person-by-person. +
Shortly after the resurrection, Jesus was walking down a long road when he ran into two strangers. These strangers did not recognize Jesus. How could they? Jesus had died, been buried, and, just hours earlier, risen from the dead. The stunning story of Christ’s death had spread, and these two travelers did not yet believe […]
For five days in late May of this year, I had the privilege of gathering with other seminarians at the annual Preaching in Excellence conference hosted by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF). For 35 years, the EPF has been educating Episcopal seminarians and clergy on the benefits of great preaching. Four of my fellow Sewanee […]
One of the interesting aspects of working in a diocesan office is an awareness of the trends across congregations in various locales. Of course, each congregation is unique in many ways, but we are each part of the same tradition, in the same diocese. Because of that, trends become quickly apparent. One of those emerges […]