Mission - ECGI - Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative

Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative – ECGI Newsletter – Jan 2014

Acts 6.7a – ‘The word of God continued to spread’

The Evangelism & Church Growth Initiative Newsletter

INCARNATION

We pray that Christ will be born again in your hearts this Christmas and that you will find new opportunities to share the ‘Light of the World’ this Epiphany. Celebrating Christ’s incarnation is a reminder that we, as the Body of Christ, need to find ways of living out his incarnation within the world, and specifically within our local communities, so it is appropriate that the first story in this edition explores the ‘incarnational heart of Christianity’. Incarnation is also at the heart of the article entitled ‘Evangelism is a conviction and compulsion of the love of Jesus Christ’.  ‘Mission and Mayhem in Pakistan’ is a reminder of both the challenges and mission opportunities involved when a Christian minority is incarnationally living out its faith within a majority faith community.   The story about the new initiative for church planting in Ireland is an example of a church exploring new ways to share the light and we are reminded by the story from Nigeria that in order to follow Jesus we must also prioritise discipleship, which takes into account every aspect of life.  The final article, from West Malaysia, considers what ‘Essential Ministries’ are.   We hope that these different stories will encourage you in your ministry and also to ask yourself what are the essential ministries that you are involved in?  Why not send a story illustrating these so that we can share your story in a future edition of Witness6.7?  Every blessing for 2014.

The Mission Department, Anglican Communion Office 

Non-Proselytizing Evangelism:

Returning To The Roots Of Anglican-Episcopal Tradition And The Incarnational Heart Of Christianity

Non-Proselytizing Evangelism.... It may sound like a contradiction in terms, but in reality it is a highly effective, authentically Anglican, way to bring all sorts and conditions of people into the embrace of the love of Jesus Christ.

The idea that evangelism could take place without proselytizing began to take root in the minds of our church planting team as we prepared to launch a new mission congregation from the ashes of a previous mission, a somewhat conservative congregation that had disintegrated in conflict over ostensibly theological differences over human sexuality two years earlier, after demonstrating initial rapid growth. Because our core congregation contained some former members – though none of the founders – of the disbanded mission, we decided that we would learn from the failure of that previous effort rather than ignore it, as is so often the case.

We began a several month process of Biblical study and prayer about the basis of Christian unity and community. Unanimously, we reached the conclusion that Jesus had never intended to start a new religion. We also concluded that the Apostle Paul considered religion irrelevant (“neither Jew nor Gentile” – Gal 3:22) to relationship with Christ. Rather, he believed that being in the love of Christ was the key to re-creating humanity and the world. Paul never used the word “convert” to describe new Christ-followers, but instead used terms which, while we mistranslate them as convert, literally mean “new planting” (1 Tim 3:6) or “first fruit” (Rom 16:5).

We came to understand that the early Church was more a movement than an organized religion, and that its approach to evangelism was not proselytizing (convincing people to change religions) but planting the seeds of Christ’s love through radical hospitality. In fact, it would take several centuries and the merger of Church and State (in the form of the Roman Empire) for Paul’s vision of a fellowship founded in faith, hope, and the love of Christ to be displaced by an institutional church which substituted certainty for faith, security for hope, and the power to control its people for the love of Christ. With few exceptions, “convert or die” (or at least “convert or go to hell”) became the predominant evangelistic credo of the Church. One of the exceptions was the Celtic Christian forebears of the Anglican Church, who planted the seeds of radical Christian hospitality and harvested a robust Christian faith in most of Celtic Britain.

We came to realize that faith and hope are essentially the present and future forms of a kind of trust. Faith is trusting that Christ’s love is all-sufficient to us now. Hope is trusting that Christ’s love will be all-sufficient for us forever. Hence, we adopted the following affirmation as part of our parish vision: “We believe that the only sufficient basis for Christian community is Christ’s love for us.”

This understanding of the incarnational power of Christ’s love to create community out of chaos and unity in the midst of diversity has inspired our congregation.  It has enabled us to transcend potentially divisive differences and transform potential US/THEM conflicts into healthy diversity, it has also helped us to become more comfortable and confident in communicating the good news of Christ’s love.  Viewing even theological differences as healthy and conflict as transformable into a more complete understanding of God, we have come not only to tolerate diversity, but to actively welcome it. A parishioner put it this way:  we are learning to trust Christ’s “fierce, transforming love” to both contain our differences and to use them to teach and shape us as individuals and as a congregation.

One way it shapes us is by turning our corporate life within the church walls into a training ground for sharing our individual experiences of the love of Christ to those beyond them. As we learn not to fear that our individual differences may by a sign of something wrong with us, it becomes easier for us to be ourselves with each other, freely sharing with each other what we honestly think and feel about our experience of Christ, which in turn makes it easier for us to share those thoughts and feelings with people outside our church who are important to us.  As we learn that evangelism is not about “selling” people on switching religions, but simply introducing people to the love of Christ and allowing Christ’s love to transform us all, we lose the performance anxiety that comes with conversion-oriented proselytizing. We become natural evangelists, unconsciously sharing the good news of the love of Christ in all that we do, simply by “living Christ’s love out loud,” as one parishioner put it.

‘Non-proselytizing evangelism is not a technique, but a Way of Life. Sharing the love of Christ is not a means of evangelism but the end.’ The gift we offer the world is not the institution of Christianity but the opportunity to experience the love of Christ, which we may not make contingent on a decision to join our church.  Even so, when we share the love of Christ without condition and no pressure to convert, many do make the decision to join with us in our community of faith, and join the larger faith community through baptism. Among our current and former parishioners are skeptics and fundamentalists, Jews and Muslims, Baptists and Buddhists, including one young Buddhist man who for many years proudly proclaimed himself to newcomers as our congregation’s “resident heathen.”

Does it always work this way? No. Are people uniformly drawn in by the love of Christ? Of course not.  Are we perfect examples of how to pass on Christ’s love unconditionally? Far from it.  Still, it is our intention and our heart’s desire. And even when we don’t get it totally right, somehow Christ’s love manages to overlay itself on that intention and desire, and people respond. They find themselves being drawn in, not by us, but by – and into – the love of Christ.

By Ken Howard

The Rev. Ken Howard is the author of Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them (Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010), the founder and director of The Paradoxy Center for Incarnational Christianity at St. Nicholas Church, and the rector of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Germantown, Maryland. St. Nicholas Church was the first successful church plant in its diocese in nearly forty years. Growing steadily since its start in 1995, it is in the top third of diocesan congregations in size and the top 5% in per capita giving. Ken’s blog, Paradoxical Thoughts may be found at PracticingParadoxy.com

EVANGELISM IS A CONVICTION AND COMPULSION OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

In June I was watching my daughter’s sports day, in fact her race, when my phone buzzed incessantly with people getting in touch with me via twitter. I am not a great tweeter – but the news had just come out that I had been appointed by Archbishop Justin to be his Advisor on Evangelism and Witness. My friends expressed surprise. But no one had been quite as surprised as me.

In the months leading up to this announcement, my conversations with Archbishop Justin had been whether I could possibly be the right person to take responsibility for trying to ensure his stated priority of Evangelism took flesh. My immediate background is that for the last 12 years I have been vicar of St Laurence Reading – a town centre church, existing to fulfil the mandate to see young people come to faith and build new forms of church with them. We are clearly a missional church, but adamantly not a youth church – rather a multi-age community who, together, invite young people to become part of the family of God at St Laurence. The last twelve years have been rewarding, stretching, frustrating and wonderful. It has been harder than I thought and more beautiful than I could have imagined. My protests to the Archbishop were that I was not a huge strategist, or manager type, I have never been at the leading edge of initiatives and programmes, I am not a particularly effective networker. But I am a practitioner, who has seen a church grow from 6 young adults, to a church community of 40 children, 60 teenagers, and 80 adults, who see another 200 young people each week. And I do believe.

In these last years I have grown, almost to the stage of being belligerent, in my belief that the local church is God’s primary tool for the transformation of society. And the most effective way of achieving this is for the church to be the church.

Archbishop Justin has set out his three priorities clearly:

  • The renewal of prayer and the Religious life
  • Reconciliation – within and through the church
  • Evangelism and witness

These are not just projects or separate pieces of work, not just new initiatives or fanfare announcements. Rather a commitment to see these three themes permeate the whole of his ministry.   What I love about this is that this is exactly what evangelism is. It is not a thing, a project, a piece of work, a box we tick. It is a commitment to be a particular way. And the driver to be this way – to live, speak, show, hold out, persuade, love, give good news – the reason is clear. It is not primarily a recruitment drive. Not primary fear that the church might die out. Not an attempt to make people the same as us. It is a conviction and compulsion of the love of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism is the setting-forth, the holding-out, the proclaiming, the announcing, the inviting, the declaring of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Whilst this is, of course, done to cause a response – as with every call of God – it is primarily done because of what has taken place.

Evangelism is this act of not keeping it, this news, to ourselves. For God has acted to completely change our lives. In Jesus Christ he has acted for us all. In Jesus Christ God has chosen to be for all people. In His life, his teaching, his death and his resurrection God has chosen to love, call, suffer, die, rise and open the Kingdom of God for each and every person.  God desires each person to live in the knowledge and joy of this grace.  Yet so many people are living with no knowledge of what God has done for them, and the difference it would make to them if they actually knew what God had done to entirely change their situation.

We are those who have had this message proclaimed to us. We ourselves have been those who have wondered at the news of God’s action for us in Jesus Christ. In fact we continue to be the recipients of this, and to allow the Gospel to ‘take’ in us.   And because this message is about the person of Jesus Christ, it is always personal, always loving, always gracious and always particular. It is not some package to simply be delivered, not some formula to be deposited, not some impersonal ‘just add boiling water’ mixture. As it is Jesus Christ we are setting forth the words always are spoken in a specific tongue, at a specific time, with a specific accent and a particular dialect.

The setting forth is essential. For people cannot know the glad tidings without the people of God. The Gospel is not something we already know. It is new knowledge which cannot be known unless it is told and borne witness to. But where the seed will fall and what fruit will grow cannot be predetermined or known by those who sow the seed. But the hearing and receiving of this Good News is good news for everyone. To hear, respond and follow Jesus Christ is the best thing that anyone can do with their lives. This is not ‘the best among a number of possible life options’, but that it is here alone where true life is found – not a better way than other ways – but the only way to life.

The Church exists as the bearer and performer of this Good News. It is the natural response to what these men and women have discovered to be the gift given to them in Jesus Christ. This task is not an option afforded to the Church of Jesus Christ. Rather attesting to the Gospel is the root of the community’s existence. In particular there are those within the Church who are specifically gifted to be heralds and proclaimers of these good news; Evangelists. This is not the gifting of all the people of God. However all of God’s people are called to be witnesses.

Christians are firstly those who are witnesses of Jesus Christ, then they bear witness to Jesus Christ. Becoming a witness begins simply in a meeting with Jesus Christ, we are those who are witnesses firsthand of his love and grace, his forgiveness and mercy, his goodness and light, his welcome and his life. We are those who have heard him address us, we have known him take our guilt away, we have been called by name by him, and set to be witnesses for him to those around us. To be a witness is to simply tell of what we ourselves know. Acts uses the term witness 23 times. It is highly personal – ‘this is what happened to me, or us, as we encountered Christ.….’

The reason that Jesus Christ calls men and women is so they themselves become witness of and to him. Discipleship and witness cannot in this way be separated, for Jesus Christ cannot be known without witnesses who follow him. We are called to be faithful witnesses to him. To tell truthfully of what we know. We can only do this with others. In order to hear a full proclamation of the Gospel I have to witness to others and they have to witness to me.

To witness then is to speak of what we know. But what we say must be lived out – disciples are themselves the exemplification of what they have to say.  We are called to live lives which are unintelligible if the one we follow is not the Son of God. Our very identity is tied up in what we bear witness to. We can deny the very one we bear witness to if we are speaking and acting in inappropriate ways. If the Christian witness is a dull person, something is seriously wrong, since there is no greater adventure than the Christian life.

So, for as long as the Archbishop feels I can serve him, I will do all I can to see this vision take across the Church of England. In all I have found out in the first few months, I am aware of the challenges, obstacles and difficulties. But I am more energized by the possibilities; by what could be. And so I can speak authentically as a witness, I continue to serve at St Laurence Reading as vicar; the two complementing and supplementing each other. It makes for an exciting and stretching life. And meant on that sunny afternoon in June I didn’t actually see what place my daughter came in her race.

Revd Canon Chris Russell, Advisor for Evangelism and Witness at Lambeth Palace

CHURCH PLANTING IN IRELAND

35 people from the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland recently attended an information day about church planting which was run at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute (CTI) in Dublin.  The speaker was the Revd Ric Thorpe, who is the Vicar of St Paul’s, Shadwell, tutor in church planting at St Mellitus College, and the Bishop of London’s advisor for church planting.  The day was split into two halves.  The morning asked the question, ‘what is church planting?’ and explored some models of church planting and some of the practicalities of planting a church.  The afternoon focused on the preparation necessary for planting a church, for both those sending a planting team and those doing the planting.

The participants represented a wide cross section of geographical locations and church backgrounds and found the day to be informative and challenging.  Speaking after the day one participant stated, “The day was very practical, grounded and inspiring.  It was well worth attending,” and another remarked, “There was a good discussion with the other people present.  It was great to attend something with a Gospel vision at the core.”

The Director of the Institute, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott commented about the event, saying, “The matter of church planting is becoming increasingly significant within the Church of Ireland.  This conference has been a great encouragement to all concerned and we trust that a good number of those who attended may be able to commit themselves to the forthcoming Church Planting course.  CITI is delighted to be associated with this aspect of the Church’s wider engagement with fresh thinking about patterns of effective mission and ministry today.’

The Church of Ireland is realising the potential of church planting in bringing growth and re-energising the church, and the Church of Ireland Theological Institute will be running a church planting course next spring, in conjunction with Ric Thorpe and St Mellitus College.  The hope is that up to 10 people will participate in this course.  By the end of the course they should have their plans ready for their church plant, so by summer next year we could have up to 10 new church plants underway in Ireland, which is cause for excitement.  The Church of Ireland is committed to this programme of renewal, which encompasses church planting across the full diversity of traditions in the Church of Ireland.  The acknowledgement of this diversity involves recognizing that while the tradition in which people may be rooted can be very different, the skills that are used for church planting can be contextualized and adapted for individual ministry settings.   The hope is that these new church plants would also be situated in a range of locations, covering both the rural and urban environment.

Revd Jennifer McWhirter(Co-ordinator of Continuing Ministerial Education (CME) for the Church of Ireland)

MAYHEM AND MISSION IN PAKISTAN

Images of carnage in Pakistan are common, but there is more to this enormous country than terrorism and dysfunctional government. The attack on the congregation at the historic All Saints Church in Peshawar left over 80 people dead and many more injured or traumatised; it shocked people of all faiths across the country. All the minority faiths in Pakistan are under pressure of persecution by some group or another and 'faith' is used to justify depriving minorities of rights, property or life. But life's daily needs remain while people cope with the dangers and uncertainties. This is especially true in the South East corner, Sindh, where Muslims of different sects, pirs, Hindus and Christians get along with each other in enough peace to mostly keep the tensions under control.

Christians in Pakistan remain apprehensive but are courageous enough to be witnesses to God's love and they have a reputation for not retaliating violently. Persecution takes many forms, targeting individuals, families or the community. They range from abusing the position of vulnerable people in the minority communities (such as kidnapping young Hindu and Christian girls to marry Muslim men) to attacks on places of worship and trashing Christian homes and settlements. The Christian response needs to be robust to rescue those forcibly snatched, to demand compensation for losses and protection from the state; simply, to receive justice. But Christian leaders recognise that the responses need to be expressed in godly ways.

Persecution of Christians is seen as persecution of the God they represent, so God's representatives understand the need to share His love in the service of others and to seek reconciliation. Individual lives are touched by kindness, and the Christian community stands as testimony to God's love and grace through Jesus Christ. People grow in their faith and show spiritual fruit. Lives are helped and some transformed because the initial acts of kindness demonstrate that that the message Christians offer has good effect.

Individual acts of service can be seen in many places. Increasingly, models of service abound. Across Pakistan, under one such banner or another, small groups of people are taking mission to heart and turning thoughts into practical action. They meet to pray, to be inspired and to identify needs around them. They act to help others. And they are also starting to network with other groups across the country. Collective action can provide more significant help to others and encourage the participants, but it is still for individuals to proclaim 'the hope that is within them'.

The River Indus is a massive lifeline through the country but the fisherfolk have a bad reputation and are shunned; their mortality rates are way below the mean for Pakistan and their grinding poverty debilitates them. Yet, through showing understanding and by helping with some community organisation, changes in people's lives and outlook are taking place. Informal schools have led to education and formal schools. The provision of some medical care is leading to improved hygiene and health. Self-respect and self-worth develop. Engagement with that community is a continuing witness to the love of God shown in Jesus Christ.

Some small groups of Christians are helping the most vulnerable in the wider community – widows. Even though they should be looked after by family, some are abandoned. Gifts of food on a regular basis, and occasionally clothes, are testimony to God’s love and give the opportunity to transform lives. Disabled or sick people are a financial drain on their families; appropriate help or accessing the right treatment can rapidly transform their circumstances. Some ask why anyone should care for them; some individuals and families find the love of God and a new relationship with Him.

Witnessing comes down to individuals acting and being ready to give account for their acts of kindness and their reaction to attacks on their community. As my airport taxi driver acknowledged, “Christians are peaceful despite the attacks on them; they show us a better way.”

John Hayward, Mission and Management Consultant

FOLLOWING JESUS IN JOS, NIGERIA: FAITH2SHARE DEPTH DISCIPLESHIP

Faith2Share held its West African Depth Discipleship Consultation in Jos, Nigeria - from 22-25 November. Faith2Share's international director, Mark Oxbrow, was there with over 50 participants from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Chad, Niger and the Cameroon.  Mark said: "Here in the city of Jos, which has seen so much violence at the hands of both Christians and Muslims, it is vitally important that we discover what following Jesus, 'the Prince of Peace' means in every aspect of our lives, especially as we live amongst those who have very different faith convictions and traditions."

One of the first people to arrive was an Anglican missionary from Togo, Rev. Oliver Ofoegbu, who is from the Diocese on the Niger, Nigeria. Rev Oliver has been working in Togo for several years planting churches there. He was joined at the consultation by Ngozi Nwosu who has also worked in Togo for several years. Both Oliver and Ngozi are missionaries of the Church of Nigeria Missionary Society. During the past month Oliver took his bishop to Togo to visit about 30 of these churches, all of which have the support of village chiefs who in many cases have donated land for church building. Many neighbouring villages are now asking for their own churches. Ngozi has had a particular ministry amongst families who are trapped in traditional belief systems, one of which involves the killing of albino children who are believed to bring evil into the community. By preserving the lives of albino children Ngozi has been able to introduce families to a God who loves everyone and is more powerful than an evil spirit.

On the first evening of the consultation, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, the local Anglican bishop in Jos, led a session on "Character formation for Christian Family Life", a theme which he recently addressed in his diocesan charge. This was followed the next morning by a Bible study led by Mrs. Georgina Imo (also from Jos) in which she stressed the fragility of any Christian discipleship which is not rooted in family life.

The 51 participants in the Depth Discipleship consultation expressed a concern that churches fail to disciple their members for the workplace. Although most Christians spend a major part of their time in work little is taught in our churches about how to be a Christian manager, how to handle business finances (and corruption), how to discipline employees and many other challenges that are faced daily. A panel of mission leaders who also work as an architect, teacher, marine engineer, production manager and accountant addressed challenging questions from the floor as the lively debate continued. Later that day the consultation heard from Nike Ishola, a missionary working in prisons in Niger, of all that God is doing there.

The final day of the consultation focused on Christians as agents of transformation in communities. After an introduction by Dr. Adeolu Adedapo, of the Apostolic Discipleship Movement, groups worked on topics as diverse as Christian discipleship in politics and the media, community action for transformation, encountering Islam, and dealing with witchcraft and polygamy as people become disciples of Christ. Reporting back one of the groups suggested that churches need to develop specific and effective ways to disciple and support young people whom God is calling to a career in politics and in the media.

There was a general agreement that Anglicans need to focus more on whole-life discipleship which can act as a powerful witness in diverse communities. The report is not yet written but if you would like a copy of the report later you can request a copy from f2s@faith2share.net

Mark Oxbrow, Faith2Share

ESSENTIAL MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH

Introduction

Church ministries are often understood or misunderstood as the activities and programmes of the local church. However we do know that church ministries covered more than just activities and programmes.

When one speaks of essential ministries of the church, one therefore speaks of ministries that are fundamental, important and non-negotiable. They are the ministries that the church cannot and should not miss.  They may not be the only ministries of the church, but they are the priority ministries.  Essential ministries are the church’s way of “putting the first things first.”

Church Ministry Defined

The English word ‘ministry’ came from Latin word ‘ministerium’, the translation of New Testament Greek word diakonia[1]. In order to differentiate the essential ministries of the church from the rest, we need to ask, what is the objective and purpose of a church ministry?  This question is related to the two fundamental questions:  What is church all about? And why does the church exist?  I am sure we are familiar with the two biblical mandates given by Jesus; the Great Commandment, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself[2]and the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations[3].  Church ministry can therefore be defined as the activity and responsibility of the church in the fulfillment of its biblically defined mandates.

Essential Ministries of the Church

John Oak[4] listed three main headings for the existence of the Church. The three are “to worship God”, “to save the world” and “to nurture and train believers”. He added that these three areas  are “not independent parts but are closely connected to each other failure in one part will cause the breakdown of the whole”

I would agree with John Oak.  It is evident that Church Ministry should have its priority in the Worship of God, the Proclamation of the Gospel, and the Edification of the God’s people. I would then list the Essential Ministries of the church as: Worship; Mission and Evangelism; Teaching and Equipping.

Worship Ministry  

Worship is a misunderstood word in church.  We often equate it with singing in the church on a Sunday morning. David Watson[5] described the main job of the church as worshipping God.  Dean Kuan Kim

Seng[6]  affirms this.  How true it is! Worship is the Christian life, now and hereafter.  In this aspect, I believe the primary objective of Worship Ministry in church is to equip and train every church member to be a true worshipper in every aspect of his or her life. The church needs to cultivate a correct understanding and attitude towards worship and allocate resources to develop the Worship Ministry. The existence of Worship Ministry is not just for a few individuals but for everyone in church.

Mission and Evangelism Ministry

Emil Brunner[7] described the sole existence of the church as “mission”.    Much has been said about the importance of Mission and Evangelism in the church.  I don’t think that anyone would dispute that Mission and Evangelism is one of the essential ministries of the church.  Mission is the very existence of the church. Nevertheless, I would add that social concern should be added as an integral part of the Mission and Evangelism Ministry[8].Truly, one cannot separate mission and evangelism from social actions.

Teaching and Equipping Ministry

One of the main objectives of church ministries can be found in Eph. 4:12-13 [9].One has only to look at Jesus to understand why Teaching and Equipping is an important ministry in church[10]. Teaching and equipping His disciples was Jesus’ ministry when He was in the world. To be able to teachwas a prerequisite when one takes up leadership in church[11] . Certainly, the church needs to spend resources in developing the teaching and equipping ministry as discipleship training would come under the purview of this ministry.

Conclusion

The basic definition of church is “God’s people called in Christ”[12]. Ultimately, ministries in church are not about programs but about people. Church ministries bring about a living relationship with God and therefore the focus is not on numerical growth but on spiritual growth.  Ministries in church empower people to live Christ-centered lives focusing on the will of God.  When the church focuses on the development of its essential ministries, it would be able to maximize its resources to bring about true growth in church.

Rev Soong Hoe Pin

HELP US HELP YOU!  USE YOUR INITIATIVE...

Anglican Witness: Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative now has 450 registered participants based in at least forty different countries. We also well over 900 friends in our Facebook group.  The majority of the Facebook friends are not yet registered, so we’re pretty sure we’re directly in touch with over 1,200 different participants around the Anglican Communion!

That’s 1,200 people with different stories to tell about how they’re involved in evangelism and church growth in their own contexts; 1,200 people we can all learn from and share with.

Youare the Initiative; the participants. So use the Initiative as a way of keeping in touch, and to support and encourage and pray for each other.  You can do this in the following ways:

Register if you haven’t already done so.  Encourage others to register too! The online form is available on http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/mission/ecgi   — we will inform the core group person responsible for your region about you and make sure you are sent this newsletter;

Share your stories – so that we can include these within the newsletter; stories of how God is working through your church or organisation to grow his church; stories to encourage others; stories so that we can learn from your experience.  Send stories, preferably of between 300 and 700 words, with photos to stuart.buchanan@anglicancommunion.org  Material for the April 2014 newsletter is needed by 1 February; we welcome all relevant material but would particularly like to hear more stories about church planting, as well as material on discipleship and initiatives that involve children and young people;

Explore the website – at www.aco.org/ministry/mission/ecgi you will find back copies of the newsletter, lists of evangelism resources and various resources that others have produced to help with their work;

Become a Facebook friend, we passed the 900 mark in mid December and now have nearly 950  ‘friends’ once you have joined Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/anglicanwitness the Facebook page provides an interactive forum so that you can share stories, prayer requests, resources and questions with each other. Then tell your friends;

Encourage others - who are involved in evangelism and church growth to register, join the Facebook group and explore our website. A first step is to forward copies of this newsletter;

Tell us - about resources: books; websites; courses, good practice; prayers, forthcoming events etc that we can include in future newsletters or on the website;

Translate - this newsletter, and other material, into the languages of those who cannot read in English; at this stage we do not have the resources to do this ourselves; Pray!  For the work featured in the newsletters and Facebook page and give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

The Mission Department
Anglican Communion Office
St Andrew’s House, 16 Tavistock Crescent
Westbourne Park, London W11 1AP, UK

john.kafwanka@anglicancommunion.org
stuart.buchanan@anglicancommunion.org
www.aco.org/ministry/mission/ecgi


Notes:

1. Diakonia which include diakonos, diakonon and diakonein generally means all kind of Christian service. When applied, it would include “the ministry of the word”, “charitable services such as feeding and providing for the poor” and “service as  spiritual gifts”(ISBE Volume 3).

2. Matt 22: 37, 39

3. Matt 28: 19-20

4. John Oak: Called to Awaken the Laity

5. David Watson: I Believe in the Church - The primary task of the church is to worship God. God’s people are called to be a worshipping community...Evangelistic and social activities can never be a substitute for this.”

6. Dean Kuan Kim Seng Our Duty and our Joy – “Our worship of God is the most precise gauge of whether we truly born again…true worship only begins when a Christian leave the Sunday Service

7. Emil Brunner: The Word and the World  “The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church;”

8. Rene Padilla argued “Evangelism and Social Responsibility belongs together …  Social action is a consequence of, a bridge to and a partner of evangelism”.

9. to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

10. John Oak: Called to Awaken the Laity  - According to Oak, Jesus was the most excellent educator and He is referred to as a “rabbi” or “teacher”, more than fifty times in the Gospels

11. 1 Tim 3:2

12. 1Cor 1: 2, Eph. 2:19-20