Evangelism. I have spent much of the summer preaching on this topic. For nearly my entire life, I didn’t know what it meant. It wasn’t something we spoke about, growing up in the United Church. Even as I transitioned into the Youth Group, we didn’t talk about it. We had always had enough people, the church was strong, and it wasn’t a concern. People showing up wasn’t a concern. When I first went to seminary, was when I heard about the ‘dying church.’ Some days it was depressing, I didn’t fully realize what I had gotten myself into. What would my call look like twenty years down the road? Forty years?
After spending a year abroad as a missionary in Korea, I had the blessed opportunity to learn what Evangelism looked like in the church. Our church, which was the largest in the PROK denomination of South Korea, had an entire department that worked on Evangelism. We did a four week build up to a celebratory Sunday, which chanting, praying, a concert, and a huge lunch. There were Evangelism teams out in the streets inviting people to church. Everyone was encouraged to bring someone, and the church kept track of which new people were brought by whom, and if they remained members. It was astounding, and very foreign to me. But it was also joyous. People bought into it, and I studied it, and learned.
I’m very blessed and humbled that we had the chance to put some of these ideas into practice. The fear within the word ‘Evangelism’ is very prevalent in our denomination, but I am happy we talked about it as a congregation and moved forward with reclaiming it. Our Evangelism Sunday this year was amazing; with lots of new people, fun service, great food, and lively concert. Thank you to everyone who invited someone out to church. This will be a yearly event for our church, and I hope it continues to get the unique story of Jesus that we have out into the community.
Amen, and Thank You.