Devotional Subject: Evangelism

Devotional Subject: Evangelism

Anti-Racist Church

UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST CALLED TO BE AN ANTI-RACIST CHURCH

 

ADOPTED 2003 GENERAL SYNOD MULTIRACIAL/MULTICULTURAL ADDENDUM TO 1993 PRONOUNCEMENT AND PROPOSAL FOR ACTION

 

WHEREAS, racism is rooted in a belief of the

superiority of whiteness and bestows benefits,

unearned rights, rewards, opportunities,

advantages, access, and privilege on Europeans

and European descendants; and

 

WHEREAS, the reactions of people of color to

racism are internalized through destructive

patterns of feelings and behaviors impacting

their physical, emotional, and mental health and

their spiritual and familial relationships; and

 

WHEREAS, through institutionalized racism,

laws, customs, traditions, and practices

systemically foster inequalities; and

 

WHEREAS, the United Nations World

Conference against Racism, Racial

Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related

Intolerance affirmed that racism has historically

through imperialism and colonization created an

unequal world order and power balance with

present global implications impacting

governments, systems, and institutions; and

 

WHEREAS, the denomination has shown

leadership among many UnitedChurch of Christ

conferences, associations, and local

congregations by initiating innovative antiracism

programs, by developing anti-racism

facilitators, and in general have made

dismantling racism a priority, there is still much

to be done. As we continue in this effort, the

work we do must reflect the historical and

present experiences and stories of all peoples

impacted by racism. We must work from a

paradigm reflective of the historical

relationships of racial and ethnic groups and

racial oppression within the UnitedChurch of

Christ and society; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States finds itself in

increased racial unrest during this period after

the tragedy of September 11, 2001. New studies

show that hate crimes and blatant acts of racial

violence doubled in number during the last half

of 2002 and are continuing to rise. These

outward acts, combined with continued

institutional racism, emphasize the need for antiracism

mobilization within church and society as

we seek to do justice; and

 

WHEREAS, there are growing movements of

peace that have people of all races, backgrounds,

and ages involved, urging us to expand our

knowledge of what racism is and study its

ramifications on all people; and

 

WHEREAS, General Synods of the United

Church of Christ have, since 1963, voted eleven

resolutions, statements, and pronouncements

denouncing racism, and it is time to honor

mandates and expectations of this body and of

the church.

 

THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the

United Church of Christ is called to be an antiracist

church and that we encourage all

Conferences and Associations and local

churches of the UnitedChurch of Christ to adopt

anti-racism mandates, including policy that

encourages anti-racism programs for all United

Church of Christ staff and volunteers; and

 

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that

Conferences and Associations and local

churches facilitate programs within their

churches that would examine both historic and

contemporary forms of racism and its effects and

that the programs be made available to the

churches; and

 

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that

Justice and Witness Ministries provides

leadership in the development and

implementation of programs to dismantle

racism, working in partnership with the

Collegium, Covenanted Ministries, Affiliated

Ministries, Associated Ministries, Conferences,

Associations and local churches in developing

appropriately trained anti-racism facilitators; and

 

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the

Covenanted Ministries of the United Church of

Christ work in concert to dismantle racism in

church and in society and partner with

Conferences and Associations in sharing

resources and costs associated with doing antiracism

work.

 

LET IT BE FINALLY RESOLVED, that the

Justice and Witness Ministries will report the

progress of the development and implementation

of these programs at the Twenty-fifth General

Synod.

 

Funding for the implementation of this

resolution will be made in accordance with the

overall mandates of the affected agencies and

the funds available.

 


Getting to know your neighbors

Where are we? Who is in our neighborhood?

To begin, you need to spend 30 minutes exploring the neighborhood by foot or by car. Divide into small teams of two or three. Observe as much as you can. Take notes about what stands out to you.

Mapping. Post a piece of newsprint on the wall and begin to map your neighborhood or ministry target area. indicate significant landmarks, neighborhood boundaries, land divisions, land use, churches, schools, businesses, residences, services. Use demographic material to study and understand the people, economics, lifestyles and changes in your neighborhood.

Next, walk around several blocks in the city together, in groups of four people or less. Pray silently as you go. Ask the Holy Spirit to provide opportunities to meet people and for insights about what may be happening spiritually in the area. When you return, update your map and discuss what you learned. What did you notice most on your walk?

Learning about your city and neighborhood

Imagine a city expert in your meeting/ this person knows everything about this your city's economy, history, people and neighborhoods. What do you want to know? Develop three questions for this expert. Share your questions with each other. In your study time, develop a plan for learning about your city. Begin by brainstorming places and people to visit. Identify the questions you could pursue at each place. Review the list that you brainstormed. Draw a star by the people and places that seem most important and most feasible for your group to visit. Volunteer as individuals, pairs, or small groups to explore one of the identified people or places. Set a meeting time when you will debrief your experiences and tell the others what you have learned.

What is God's call for us in this place?

Discuss together the following questions in light of God's care for Jerusalem (Psalm 122, Isaiah 62:1-7,12). What does God's care for Jerusalem show about God's love for this city? What might God's realm look like in this city? What might be God's vision for this city?

Based on your interviews and experience of your neighborhood and city discuss and chart the following questions. Where have you seen hopelessness in this city? Where have you seen signs of hope? What's working? Which people, agencies, places, or policies are making positive contributions in this area? What's not working? Which people, places, buildings, behaviors, policies, or other issues are problems in the area? How can we be part of the solution? How can we connect with healthy people and institutions to make a positive difference?

How do we share the gospel?

Brainstorm together a list of ways to share the gospel, God's good news in your neighborhood. Use the e.word article "Eleven Commandments for Ordinary, Everyday Evangelists" to prepare and rehearse sharing your faith and invitation in your community with others.

Suggestions from Urban Disciples: A Beginner's Guide to Serving God in the City, Jenell Paris and Margot Eyring, Judson Press, 2000

Connecting with Your Neighbors and Community

"Congregations focused on ministry beyond current membership understand their neighborhoods. Virtually all congregations that focus on current members are not involved in the local neighborhood."* How well do you know the people around your congregation? This workshop will offer inspiration and examples for reaching out and meeting your neighbors.

*In Search of the Unchurched by Alan Klaas

Evangelism Workshop
Saturday, October 4th
Pittsburgh Area Churches
David Schoen

1. How well do you know your community and neighbors? Why care?

2. Evangelism—a Core Mission to Meet, Know and Reach Out to Others

Evangelism—Being and Sharing Good News (Evangel)
A Celtic Way of Evangelism

3. Congregations connecting with their Neighbors and Community

"It's All about Evangelism" Video
"Go Forth and Knock"
And more

4. Preparing yourself and your congregation to be evangelists.

"Eleven Commandments for Everyday, Ordinary Evangelists"

5. Preparing your congregation to reach out to your community.

6. Resources, Responses, Questions

Demographic information
UCC Research Office http://ext.nazarene.org/m3/scr/ucc.exe
U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov
Percept Demographic PerceptNet.com

Community Outreach
http://www.servantevangelism.com/questions/Questions.htm

1. How well do you know your community and neighbors? Why care?

Welcome, good to be back, appreciate commitment and attentiveness glad for this chance to address churches connecting with comm. and neighbors

I know that Congregations focused on ministry beyond current membership understand their neighborhoods. Virtually all congregations that focus on current members are not involved in the local neighborhood."* How well do you know the people around your congregation? This workshop will offer inspiration and examples for reaching out and meeting your neighbors.

How well do you know your communities

Percept data test

Good to take test.

Many churches lost touch with community and neighbors
Communities have changed, members live other places
Pastor doesn't live in community
Communities have changed—unchurched
Churches out of touch with culture and people

Why care, Safe haven from world
The world that God's loves and Christ came and died for
Christ calls us to love God and neighbor
The church called to go forth into the world
Mission of outreach is at center of churches life

We have narrowed the focus of church to serving the existing congregation......But Christ calls us to look beyond the congregation to the world

Today's world for evangelism and outreach starts at front door and neighborhood

it is not some special function but it is the central to all we do and all our life together and all of us

So let's talk about evangelism and outreach, connecting to your community and neighbors

2. Evangelism—a Core Mission to Meet, Know and Reach Out

Evangelism—Being and Sharing Good News (Evangel)

So let's talk about evangelism.... What is it?

evangel is — good news
evangelism—of the good news, furtherance of the good news,Embodiment of the evangel
notice — Angel, messengers of good news

4. OK, what do you think of when you hear the word evangelism

what do you think of when you hear the word evangelism

What is your experience of evangelism

why has evangelism become the unspoken, feared, e.word

why the barriers to mainline churches to engaging in evangelism in 21st century

1. Fear of being obnoxious, becoming something we don't want to be
2. Fear of embarassment, being rejuected
3. Loss of enthusiasm for faith, Taking faith for granted
4. History of church being mainline, now sideline
5. Assuming everybody knows about faith
5. Church hasn't taught, encouraged, or spoken evangelism (Church growth, but not evangelism)

5. So what keeps you from being the evangelist you want to be

turn to one or two different people and tell each other why

(Break)

6. Celtic christianity, how the UCC can reclaim evangelism

Roman and celtic

The book is The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . . Again by George Hunter III. In his book, George Hunter describes the difference between what he describes as the evangelism approach in Roman and Celtic Christianity. Celtic Christianity is the tradition of mission and ministry that was first developed by St. Patrick in Ireland and then journeyed into Scotland. Roman Christianity is the tradition of mission and ministry that was practiced by missionaries from Rome that sought to 'Christianize' the people of England.

"Bluntly stated, the Roman model for reaching people (who are "civilized" enough) is: (1) Present the Christian message; (2) Invite them to decide to believe in Christ and become Christians: and (3) If they decide positively, welcome them into the church and its fellowship. The Roman model seems very logical to us because most American evangelicals are scripted by it! We explain the gospel, they accept Christ, we welcome them into the church! Presentation, Decision, Assimilation. "

In contrast, this is the Celtic model for outreach: (1) you first establish community with people, or bring them into the fellowship of your community of faith. (2) within the embrace of community, you engage in conversation, ministry, prayer and worship. (3) As people discover their gifts and faith, you invite them to commit to discipleship.

The two models can be simply charted as such:

Roman Model

Presentation
Decision
Fellowship

Celtic Model

Fellowship
Ministry and Conversation
Belief, Invitation to Commitment

The Celtic model reflects the adage that for most people, 'Christianity is more caught than taught!' As Professor Robin Gill observes 'belonging comes before believing'. For this reason, evangelism is now about "helping people to belong so that they can believe."

Celtic christianity, it was community/relationally based
It relied on holy spirit, not coercion
put faith passionately not only in word but in deeds
It was culturally sensitive

Go to the people
live among them
learn from them
love them
Start with what they know
build on what they have

3. Congregations connecting with their Neighbors and Community

Video
Grace/First "walking the dog"
Knock, Knock —Susan Leo, Indianapolis
Dave Loar
Eric Elnes
Art Outreach
Rock Concerts, Bikers, Truck/Car stops,

4. Preparing yourself and your congregation to be evangelists.

"Eleven Commandments for Everyday, Ordinary Evangelists"

Walter B. Three constituencies for evangelism

1. Outsiders, Unchurched, Never churched, disaffected

2. Jaded insiders, Those who are in church and faith, but have loss their enthusiasm

3. New generations, Children becoming adults, insider and outside of faith communitythink about the how range, Relationship web

be intentional, Keep names before you, pray for them find opportunity to talk about faith, invite to community of faith

be ready for the unexpected, place yourself in world of spiritual seekers learn to do public witness, prayer, worship (Perhaps our own worlds are so churched, we are aware of unchurched, etc)

note: Be patient, but persistent, Gladys .....prayers, witness

people have the right to say no, or not respond remember it's just our work to plant the seed,

8. What do I say, I don't know, I'm not ready, let's practise

hand out 11 commandments

read through

list questions about faith

think about everything you know about the basics of christian faith —like the statement of faith, the apostles creed, the bible, whatever. What is the most important thing about the christian faith? Turn to a neighbor and take just two minutes to tell that person what you think is the most important aspect of the christian faith and why.

Now let's talk about experience. What you know because of what you've experienced.

some some respond to the thinking/rational, others about the experiential/feeling it takes both

tell my own story, Nicaragua

practise

take a minute to reflect on any one of these four questions, share with neighbor

1. What is it about your experience with jesus that the rest of the world can't live without?

2. Why do you need Jesus? ( what difference does knowing Jesus (God/holy spirit) make in your life

3. Tell about when you have experienced the presence or action of god in your life

4. What is an important bible passage or story for you?

(If there is time, do some role playing)

9. so now where are you on sharing your faith, how has this been Can you picture yourself, work of evangelist requires spiritual strength, work of heart take time to listen and prayer and studytakes intentional personal/community workdo a workshop in your own church, build community of evangelist

5. Preparing your congregation to reach out to your community.

You have to build community of evangelists, Also build understanding of community that you are reaching out to

not only word, but program that addresses needs, not only program, but word connect spirituality and service, Deed and word

Congregations with food bank

Pastor reaching out to trailer park

how do we get to know needs of community that we can address programatically and spiritually

6. Resources, Responses, Questions

Demographic information UCC Research Office http://ext.nazarene.org/m3/scr/ucc.exe

 


Planting

UCC New Church Development Basic Planting Check List

A Guidebook for Planting New Congregations

 A Guidebook for Planting New Congregations in the United Church of Christ.
God is Still Speaking through new churches in the United Church of Christ today.

The Guidebook may be downloaded here - 

  Complete Guidebook [PDF]     
64 pages (301k)

  Table of Contents/Introduction [PDF]

  Part 1 - Seeking Leaders [PDF]
We need leaders who seek to be empowered by the Holy Spirit

  Part 2 - Stirring [PDF]
Are you utterly convinced the Holy Spirit has called you to develop a new church?

  Part 3 - Equipping [PDF]
God speaks to church planters

  Part 4 - Financing [PDF]
Building trust around money issues is important pastoral work in new church development

  Part 5 - Launching [PDF]
To claim covenantal partnership with the United Church of Christ requires an understanding of the denomination's policies and polity.

  Part 6 - Challenging [PDF]
The Body of Christ is strengthened as new churches are born in our midst

  Bibliography [PDF]

  Guidebook Bible Study Scriptures [PDF] 

  United Church of Christ Resources [PDF]

The Guidebook is a tool for:

United Church of Christ Conferences and Associations.
Committees on New Church Development.
New Church Pastors.
Potential New Church Planters
Core Group Members of a New Church Initiative.
Seminaries teaching about Evangelism and New Church Development.
Ecumenical Partners planting churches with the United Church of Christ.
And more . . .

We celebrate this new resource in the United Church of Christ! It is so timely to the The Stillspeaking Initiative. In December 2004 and January 2005, the Evangelism Ministry Team responded to the more than 320 email questions that came from the Find a Church Website.

41% of the emails came from people who could not find a church or had a question about a church in their neighborhood.

50% of those emails turned into "there is no church" in this community (21% of the total emails)

3% of the emails expressed interest in starting a new church!

The Stillspeaking Initiative has not only given great witness to a message of hope and extravagant welcome in the name of Jesus. It has given an invaluable visibility to the United Church of Christ, and it is also giving us invaluable information about the location and demand for new church development. The challenge before us is to begin communities of the still speaking God where there are none. What perfect timing for this resource and guidebook in that journey!

Use it! Order more copies for your people at United Church Press
Look for additional updates as new chapters are written.

Also Coming Soon ... Church Renewal Workbook!


Evangelism Resources

WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? MATTERS TO US
Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith

CONTENT

What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith provides essential reflections on core themes of the United Church of Christ, while inviting new and long-standing members alike to   consider their own identity and faith formation.

What Matters to You? Matters to Us - Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith in both its online and print versions is adaptable to various congregational settings. View deas for Teaching and Learning for examples on how use this resource.

You can order the entire printed resource by calling 800-537-3394 or from UCPress.com.

Order Yours Today!

E-Word

E-Word: packet of evangelism resources

God is Still Speaking, .... Ready, Set, Grow! The Evangelism Ministry Team is glad to present these e.word resources for congregations and disciples to grow in the vitality of their witness to the still speaking God. This resource contains a new e.word Volume 4.1 and all the articles found in all six volumes.

New vision churches

Nearly 100 new and renewing congregations of the United Church of Christ have requested information and assistance from the Evangelism Ministries Team. The Evangelism Team is actively involved with many of these congregations. Click  here to find a new or renewing congregation near you.

Evangelism Connections

is a website designed for anyone, clergy or lay interested in evangelism and looking for resources that will help them understand more fully what the Bible requires of us.  The information will assist you in sharing the grace of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ with others and encourage you as individuals and as churches to awaken to the many opportunities  you encounter each day to be an evangelist. Here you will find stories about evangelism, religious humor, some of the more popular trends, recommended resources, and links to many of the other Christian evangelism sites on the internet as well as links to the evangelism Web sites of the Evangelism Connections partners.

Evangelism Connections is a partnership of evangelism staff persons from the following denominations: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, American Baptist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Presbyterian Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church of America, the United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church and Net Results.

Youth Resources

Item Number: ECE102

Title: "In Our Own Words: Youth Speak Out About Living the Life"

12 for $8 or $.75 per copy

For assistance, please phone customer service at 1-800-537-3394
or email orders@unitedchurchpress.com

In Our Own Words: A Mothers Story    

Other Vital Resources