The Vision of the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism is “every church an evangelizing community.”
But what exactly is an evangelizing community?
If “Evangelism is co-operating with the Holy Spirit to help people take steps towards faith in Christ”, then an evangelizing community is one which allows for, encourages, and nurtures that process of people taking steps towards Christian faith, recognizing that this is what the Holy Spirit asks of them.
In practice, this means a church where:
1. The community is enthusiastic about helping evangelism happen: evangelism is preached about, discussed among leaders, incorporated into the church’s mission statement, prayed about, and enthusiastically embraced by the membership.
2. There are deliberate attempts to publicize the activities of the church in the neighbourhood, so that those who are exploring their spirituality and moving towards Christian faith know that this church can help them.
3. Activities are planned to provide “easy access” for new people—on Sundays (the Blessing of the Animals, a Mother’s Day service) or at other times (a wine and cheese evening, a popular guest speaker, or whatever is appropriate for the context).
4. Newcomers are welcomed and made to feel at home from the moment they approach the door to the moment they leave.
5. Those leading Sunday services are aware of newcomers who may not know the liturgy or Christian language, and make allowances accordingly.
6. Programs such as Alpha or Christianity 101 are regularly advertised and run for those who want to explore Christian faith.
A church that takes these lessons seriously will find itself engaged in evangelism. It will grow and experience joy!
To take a simple survey to discover whether your church is an evangelizing community, click HERE.
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