As the new Transitional Director of the Institute of Evangelism, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and explain why I’m excited to be stepping into this role. Having spent nearly 25 years in pastoral ministry, mostly in new church plants, I’m keenly aware of the challenges and opportunities facing us as we share the gospel in today’s world. My experience planting and pastoring an outward-focused church in Huntsville, Ontario, provided a number of lessons—positive, negative, and downright confusing—that caused me to rethink my approach to reaching people outside the church.
This sparked a personal curiosity about how and why people become Christians and led to an ongoing academic interest in the topic. While pursuing my MA, an independent study (with former Institute director Michael Knowles) became a major thesis exploring a wholistic framework for conversion and evangelism in today’s world. This eventually led me to partner with John Bowen (another former director of the Institute) to conduct empirical research on how people become Christians in Canada—the results of which I look forward to sharing in the coming months. While my recently defended PhD dissertation dealt with preaching to Christians, I remain passionate about learning how churches and individuals can more effectively share the good news of Jesus.
My role as the Transitional Director of the Institute is twofold: 1) to continue its work supporting churches and individuals in their evangelistic efforts and 2) to take a step back to consider how it can most effectively do so in the future. This second aspect explains the word “transitional” in my job title: much has changed since the Institute was founded in 1991, and this change in leadership is an opportunity to take stock of our resources, evaluate our strategies, and make plans to “transition” thoughtfully into what is next. Naturally, this will involve gathering as much information as possible about the Institute’s work and impact so far, as well as the current needs of churches in Canada.
I will be relying heavily on outgoing director Judy Paulsen’s help to get my bearings, but I could use your help, as well. First, if you have a story of how the Institute of Evangelism has made a difference in your life or in your church, could you email me a brief summary? Maybe it was an article, web resource, or in-person training that helped you think about evangelism differently, improved your church’s outreach, or even contributed to someone’s journey toward becoming Christian. These kinds of anecdotes, no matter how seemingly small or mundane, will help me better understand the ways God has used the Institute in the past. Second, if you have any thoughts or ideas about how the Institute can be better poised to support evangelism in the future, I’d love to hear them. My job is not to do this work alone, but in collaboration with others who are passionate about sharing the hope that we have with the world around us.
I’m honoured to be a part of what God is doing at Wycliffe College. Please feel free to respond to this email or schedule a conversation to introduce yourself, share stories, and offer observations and ideas.
In gratitude and hope,
Jeremy McClung, firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute of Evangelism