Who invited you into the joy of God’s kingdom? Who are those special people who have influenced and helped you along the twists and turns, mountain tops and valleys of your faith journey? Perhaps the more pertinent question for these times is who’s going to share the love of Christ with your children, your grandchildren, your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and that nice barista at Starbucks? Will it be you?
Evangelism and the growth of the church that results from it can and should come in myriad shapes, sizes and it is the role of the Center for Evangelism and Church Growth (ECG) to help the excellent souls of the Central Texas Conference to identify and capitalize on all the ways that we can bring a the Good News to our communities and the world. Just as Paul wrote to the church in Rome: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith…” (Romans 1:16), The ECG team is eager to get about the business of doing all we can (and then some) to help all of you and yours be “that person/those people” others will remember as being among the ones who helped introduce them to a relationship with our sweet Lord Jesus Christ. While, like the Centers for Leadership and Mission Support, our goals and agendas are still taking shape, I can tell you that we are focused on three areas:
- Starting New Faith Communities: As a center, we continue to identify areas in which the conference can establish new faith communities. We will be looking to start urban and suburban churches, ethnic congregations, traditional and nontraditional starts. Our goal is to partner with established congregations to birth new starts and to build into the DNA of new congregations the desire to multiply by starting a new congregation within 10 years. The “Partners in Growth” or SHARE program will continue to be the primary funding source for new church starts.
- Transformation: The center is ready to assist pastors and laity to move through periods of transformation. One process that will be available in 2012 will be the Healthy Church Initiative. This is a comprehensive process of learning, congregational self-study, prescriptions for transformation and coaching to fulfill the prescriptions. Also, the center is contracting with several different individuals to provide coaching for pastors and congregations alike – all with the goal of energizing and equipping local congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world at the forefront.
- Youth and Young Adult: This is one of our major target populations. Leanne Johnston, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, will be in the field working with districts, cluster groups and local congregations to help them to identify opportunities, understand the culture and to reach youth and young adults. How can churches effectively reach out to youth and young adults with the gospel? How can a local church help to move youth and young adults from membership to discipleship? These are but a couple of the questions that Leanne and our team will work to help answer.
Of course, all of this is being planned in the service of the people of the Central Texas Conference, as such, our success is largely dependent upon you. So just as we’ll be coming to you looking for ideas and feedback, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail or pull me aside at a fellowship dinner and share your ideas and thoughts about how we can bring the Good News of salvation to the people of our communities and unleash the power within the CTC to go out and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Executive Director, Center for Evangelism & Church Growth
Central Texas Conference – United Methodist Church
“Energizing and Equipping Local Churches”
464 Bailey Avenue Fort Worth, Texas 76107
817-877-5222 ext 17