Evangelism and the AME churchgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Let me begin my post by saying I love evangelism and the history of evangelism in the Christian church. I am sure that is one of the reasons God sent a Black woman to Montana;-) The church I am starting on Dec. 3 is so much fun for me because many of the people who have expressed an interest have not grown up in the church. And this will be their first church experience. Yesterday I was able to get a wonderful music director for the church. He is 26 years old. African-American and Philipine. His father is African-American. He was born in the philipines. His father was a soldier. He does not know his biological parents and was brought to this country by a white farm family in Montana. They are christians, God Bless them. Any way he has not grown up with African-Americans and he calls me Mom!! Which I love. Being a part of our church is a blessing to him he tells me. I can see already how the AME church can help him and others. Both African-American and white. The AME church is not in Idaho. We use to have churches there.It is not easy to get clergy to come west. But I want to put a plug in for the fifth district and the Pacific Northwest conference in particular. With Bishop John Bryant, Elder Ellis Casson at he helm and Jesus by our side,there is only one outcome. GROWTH!! Is it easy NO!! Most of us clergy out here have to work another full time job. Is it exciting, rewarding? YES! Put the word out, we need prayer, some good women and men who have a heart for evangelism. come west! Isn't God grand! And worthy to be praised. Let's go forth to the people and tell them the good news! What are some of the evangelistic tools or experiences that have worked in your conference?
-- Anonymous, November 11, 2000
Eight years ago, under charge from Bishop Bryant, Pastor Brenda Payne started a church in Clear Lake City, Texas. Some of the tools she used in the process were:
Bible Study. The church actually began by word of mouth, announcement, and phone calls. 13 attended the first Bible Study, including the Presiding Elder, X. L. Williams. Bible Study remained an integral part of the church's life. Newspapers. Not long after "establishment", the church took out small-scale ads in lcoal newspapers. The Public Relations budget was never big, but there were some who heard of it by this method. The Yellow Pages. This is still a firszt resource for many moving to your area. Make sure you get whatever space you can afford. Flyers. There were a number of flyer campaigns in neighborhoods where the church was. These were interesting as we discovered what the real demographic was, as opposed to the studies. Door-to-door canvassing. This can be both interesting and frustrating. You don't want to come across as selling anything, and the personality and spirit of the volunteers are extremely important, as they become the first image of the church represented. Car Washes. The YPD would hold car washes on strategic thoroughfares near the church. They would then use the ontact opportuntity to share the Good News or inform "clients" about the church. Web Site. This was the most recent addition, and provided contact and background information about the church. Having been around for nearly two years now, its pages are showing up in deep searches within databases such as Yahoo!. Fellowship Opportunities. One of the key of these early on was a Singles' Cruise on Clear Lake. People were very excited about it, and called their friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on... Other positive contributions included Prayer Breakfasts.
The key to evangelistic success is getting beyond the four walls. We often forget that the Great Commission begins with the word "Go". The Local Assembly provides a wonderful place of refuge, restoration, and recharge. But it's meant to be God's House, not the House of the Believers. We must get to where the poeple are, the hurting, the needy, the hungry, the lonely, the disconnected, the disenchanted.
As pastor, your mission will be to encourage and equip your evangelistic volunteers. One of the biggest problems to overcome will be the Fear. People fear speaking to others, fear sharing the gospel, fear having doors shut in their faces, fear making cold calls to neighbors and strangers. Keep them encouraged. There may be 100 nays before a yea, but now you and the members can understand why the angels rejoice over one yea.
For resources that may help, consider writing to Dr. G.L. Champion in Florida. he heads the connectional department of worship and evangelism. Also, I beleive he is sponsoring the Connectional meeting in New Orleans the first week of January. Rev. Payne should be there for that, as she is preaching there that week.
-- Anonymous, November 13, 2000
Jerryl thanks for your wonderful suggestions. The only one that will not work now is the car wash. For it is zero degrees ;-). Some of the things I have planned, newspaper ads, radio and television. Monday and friday are slow news days and tv stations are hungry for local news! Fliers, telephone calls, meetings with african-american and native american students on campus. Food! Since we will be meeting at a restraunt we will use food as an evangelistic tool. Economic development is a big issue in our state. As Montana ranks 50 for low wages. So at least twice a month we will do "sack lunch seminars" on such topics as: computer literacy, what is available at the employment office etc. I am very blessed to have an incredible Religious Education Director, she is my daughter and is 23. She will start work on a PH.D in theology next year. So it is great to have a youthful perspective. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful town. A ski resort, so we will have topical bible studies, at ski chalets, hot springs etc. I have already put into place a local mission project. For a church without mission projects dies. There is an organization called "His Soup" which uses the Salvation Army canteen and donations from the food bank to go to transients living by the railroad tracks. We will be working with them as our first local mission project. I am happy, excited for everything is falling into place. I am sorry I will not be able to hear Pastor Brenda but I have to be here. One of my interests is documenting evangelism in rural areas.
-- Anonymous, November 13, 2000
Pastor Rogers, I just want to encourage you in the great work God has placed in heart. While folk are complaining about the declining membership in our chruches many areas need some to just Go and bring in the sheep. There is so much work to be done and African Methodism prepares us for such a work as this. I will will be in pray with you that God will send more folk out West to share the Word and Love of God among the people. May your work continue to be blessed of the Lord.
-- Anonymous, November 14, 2000
Rev. McCallister thank you for your kind and wonderful words. It means a lot to me. I had a wonderful conversation with one of the administrators of my seminary Princeton Seminary. I was telling her about my new church and how some people in the community have thanked me for staying in Montana when I could have a big church in the city with my credentials. We both laughed because at Princeton we were taught to go where the people who had never heard the good news lived. 80 percent of Princeton alums are in small churches. I knew when God called me it would be an adventure. I have dug graves, put bodies in the back of cars and driven 300 miles for burial. I have set with Indian elders and explained there is a God who is not racists. My faith has grown stronger and richer. I am so happy to have Bishop John Bryant and Elder Ellis Casson in my life, for when I talk to them about evangelism in the west they understand! They are excited. My daughter who is our Religious Education Director said "Mom with your enthusiasm the Bishop will send you to Alaska next!" My response to my daughter was "I hope one day he will, what an honor!" My professor for church growth at Princeton was southern baptist. And he challenged us to examine our reasons for being ministers, if it does not include evangelism and feeling uncomfortable then get out now! He explained to us Christianity is not a religion about being comfortable, it is about liberation and freedom. I know God is doing great things out west, people are moving west but most mainline denominations are not doing evangelism in the west. I do pray we will keep our hearts and mind on the great commission. Rev. Bess thanks for your support. Joy with Christ.
-- Anonymous, November 14, 2000