Tag Archives: evangelism

Forward Today: Evangelism for everyone

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Dear friends in Christ,

Last weekend I was in Vancouver, BC to preach at Christ Church Cathedral. While I was there, I also offered a workshop on Saturday called Anglican Evangelism for Everyone. We had much lively conversation together.

I meant the title in two meanings. Evangelism is for everyone in that Jesus told us to make disciples of all nations. That is, there is no one with whom we should fail to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. But there’s the other angle, too. All of us Christians are meant to be evangelists.

To be a disciple of Jesus, we must choose to follow him. Evangelism must never be coercive or manipulative. While it’s true that there are some “bad” evangelists out there, that’s no reason for us to try to hoard our faith but fail to commend the hope that is within us.

The greatest gift we can give someone is to invite them to know Jesus, to know they are loved by him, and to love him back. I hope we’ll all proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ when we are able to do so.

Sometimes I hear people lament that fewer people find their way into our churches. Other times I observe people wishing for a more just, more compassionate world. The solution to both challenges is the same: we can invite others to know God’s gracious love for us and for the whole creation.

If we experience God’s grace and mercy, we simply won’t be able to contain ourselves from sharing that same grace and mercy with those around us. As Jesus commanded us, let us hasten to love others as he first loved us.

Evangelism is for everyone. Let’s get to it.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn's signature

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

More from our ministry:

Share the gift of Forward Day By Day: Order a Share It Forward pack

Foster evangelism in your church community: Invite Welcome Connect

Spiritual growth in individuals and churches: Signs of Life

New Infographics

Forward Movement is excited to release a new series of infographics about Holy Week and Easter. This five-part downloadable graphic series provides a contemporary way for individuals and churches to learn more about the traditions, practices, and history of the Anglican tradition of Christianity.

Downloadable PDFs can be purchased individually, or all at once with either our Discipleship Bundle for printing at your church, or the Evangelism Bundle for both printing and digital distribution across your channels.

The series includes infographics on:
Holy Week
The Way of the Cross
The Triduum

Not sure? Test it out! We’re giving away the Holy Week infographic for FREE through the end of April. Click here and use the promo code ONEGRAPHIC to receive this download for free through April 30 (expires at 9:00 p.m. ET).

Q&A: Acts to Action Editors

Acts to ActionSusan Brown Snook and Adam Trambley are the editors of Acts to Action, a Forward Movement publication focusing on Acts Chapter 8 and evangelism in a changing world. Susan serves as canon to the ordinary for church growth and development in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma and Adam is the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Contributors include Joseph Alsay, Carrie Boren Headington, Frank Logue, Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, Steve Pankey, and Holli Powell, and is framed by reflections from church leaders Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows and Gay Clark Jennings.

How did the idea for this book develop?
Susan: Adam and I, and a number of the authors in the book, have been inspired by the 8th chapter of Acts for quite a while. In fact, we are leaders in a group called the Acts 8 Movement, which is dedicated to mission, prayer, and evangelism in the Episcopal Church. We want to help our church proclaim the gospel in creative, courageous, innovative ways to people who have never heard it in any effective way. As we considered ways to help the church think through innovative ways of proclaiming the gospel in a time when many people have no connection to church or Christian faith at all, we realized that Acts Chapter 8 had some compelling things to say about church mission. The four stories contained within this chapter show the apostles struggling with many of the same issues our church struggles with today. So we gathered a group of people to help us explore those issues for the twenty-first century.

How do you see the book being used?
Adam: Acts to Action is designed to be read both by individuals and by groups, including church leadership groups. Each chapter has two sets of questions. The first are for reflection and discussion, and the second are for action. The action steps are small, concrete ways that implement the Scriptural insights. My hope is that people will read each chapter, spend some time reflecting on it by themselves or in a group, and then take the action steps. These steps can help people and churches live into Acts 8-style evangelism that should bear good fruit.

What is your hope for this book?
Susan: We hope that vestries, small groups, and individual Christians across the church read the book, discuss the discussion questions, and find inspiration for their own ministries. So many churches are working to discover how God is calling them to change, grow, and reach new people in a new era. We hope this book provides ideas and insights that spark new approaches to Christ’s mission in the church.

What inspires you most about Acts Chapter 8?
Adam: The most inspiring piece of Acts Chapter 8 is the assurance that God is bringing new life out of even the most difficult situations. Even if everything seems like an unmitigated disaster to me, I can be assured that God is weaving everything together in amazing ways. God’s imagination is far beyond my own…who knows what beauty God is unfolding?

Susan: Christians in Acts Chapter 8 find themselves in a world where everything has changed and they need to find new ways of practicing their faith – and they go out into the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus. We believe that the Episcopal Church is in a similar situation….For churches to proclaim the gospel in today’s world, we need to find active ways of proclaiming the gospel, going out into our communities and our world and talking to people about Jesus, rather than waiting for the people to come to us. We used Acts 8 as our inspiration in this book, because it leads to many insights about church mission in a time when the church needs to change the way it approaches its mission.

Do you have any stories that you feel deeply embody Acts Chapter 8?
Adam: My current congregation is having an important Acts 8 Moment right now. Over the past year, we have lost about a third of our choir due to graduations, deaths, and job relocations. Instead of limiting ourselves to pleas for more singers in the parish newsletter, we really thought about how we could use this need for more choir voices as an opportunity to reach people beyond our walls. After a number of discussions with people in the community, we are piloting a musical scholars program this year. We have nine high school students who will be receiving scholarships to attend choir rehearsals, sing in worship, and participate in an hour of Christian education and formation each week tailored to their needs. Some of the applications we received have talked about a long-standing desire to be part of a church. Our hope is that their scholarships will allow these young people to break down the barriers to attendance and deepen their life of faith.

Susan: In my diocesan position, I have been working with a vestry of a small Episcopal church in a midsize town to put some of these principles into action. They went out into their community and interviewed a number of the community leaders about the issues facing the town and how their church could help. One leader was the manager of a Boys and Girls Club across the street from the church. The manager suggested that the church could play a role in helping the children develop faith and character. The church is now taking 25-30 children one afternoon a week for a couple of hours, giving them snacks, mentoring, tutoring, fun, and a time of learning about the Bible.