I don’t get the "warm fuzzies" when I hear the word “Evangelism.” In fact, during college, I took a spiritual gifts inventory, which suggested my top gift was Evangelism. To a 20 year old college student, you might as well have said my number one gift was brain surgery. When I thought of a budding evangelist, I thought of a young man that I knew who could quote the Roman Road backwards and forwards. Surely his spiritual gift should have been Evangelist, but not me! I mean, I loved to talk about Jesus, but I would never be pushy or coercive about it. I only wanted to share because I was excited about what God was doing in my life.
Back then, I thought the exercise of the spiritual gifts inventory was a complete waste of my time. Fast forward 30 years and you will find me moving homes because my ministry context was changing. In a box tucked away long ago (like a gift waiting to be opened), there existed all kinds of papers from my college days - papers that included that Spiritual Inventory test. As I prepared to assume the role as Executive Director for the Smith Center for Evangelism, Mission, and Church Growth, I thought to myself, “well played God… well played.”
The spiritual gift of evangelism was not what I thought it was. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are each called to be evangelist and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Not in a systematic way - beating the Bible through the book of Romans - but in a way where the joy of loving God just bubbles out of us; in a way where our hearts explode in thanksgiving for redemptive work Christ has done on our behalf; in a way where we submit obediently to God in order to experience a transformed life for all the world to see.
Today, we will begin preparing for the 2022 Evangelism Summit. We will be crowd-sourcing best practices from laity and clergy around the Central Texas Conference for Evangelism. There will be teachings, devotionals, blogs, and videos leading up to the event of the Evangelism Summit being held on Feb. 19 at First Methodist Waco.
For more information about the Summit, please click on the links below or click here to download the Evangelism Summit 2022 brochure. Registration is open and waiting for you at ctcumc.org/ES22-registration.
There is no cost for the event and you will even get a free lunch. I hope you will make plans to attend and bring as many people from your church as you can. At the end of the Evangelism Summit, your congregation can even apply for a $1000 grant to help you put some of the ideas you learn into practice.
If you are like my younger self and the notion of being an Evangelist scares you a bit, I encourage you to go on this 30 day journey. On the other side, you will have learned from incredible Christians around our conference and will have been equipped with tools for doing the work of evangelism in your local church.