Sharing the Good News: Evangelism that Works

01.24.24 | Homepage

    Evangelism, the sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ, must address the cultural, economic, and political context of the community if it is to be relevant and effective. This is the thrust of a new course – Good News to Share – that kicked off in January in Dallas and Mumias, Kenya.

    The course, jointly developed by Carrie Boren Headington, Canon for Evangelism at the Dallas Diocese, and Rt. Rev. Joseph Wandera, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Mumias, seeks to prepare and equip its students to motivate their congregations to share the Gospel of Jesus throughout their community and to develop an evangelistic action plan for their parish.

    At the first class, January 20 at the Stanton Institute, the importance of sharing the Good News in a community’s context was stressed.  Bishop Wandera related that in Mumias, a center of Islam in Western Kenya, a majority of people have never heard of Jesus, many believe in superstitious spirits and practice forms of witchcraft, most are economically deprived, and that Christians as a minority live in fear. In Dallas, the students pointed out that most are affluent by world-standards, crave position and power, and, if Christian, consider it irrelevant to their daily lives.

    The challenge of evangelism, Canon Headington, said is to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ – The Good News – relevant to the context and conditions in which the people live. “The Gospel speaks to every person no matter their circumstances,” she said.  “Reaching out with Jesus’ message of love and redemption is an act of joy, a privilege, and an opportunity to bring healing in our broken world.”

    The course, which meets one Saturday a month through May, will explore: (1) What is the Gospel and How to share it; (2) Personal Evangelism: sharing faith in daily life; (3) How Jesus engaged in evangelism, applying his practices; (4) Being an evangelistic church; and (5) Your parish on mission – developing an evangelistic action plan. In addition to the three hour Saturday classes, there are suggested readings and related assignments to reinforce evangelistic development.

    At the end of the day, both Bishop Wandera and Canon Headington agreed the goal is to equip lay people for ministry, show the Good News through real life actions, and to invite people – whatever their circumstances – to join in living and spreading the Gospel of Christ. “We must communicate in a language they can understand and that meets them at the point of their needs,” Bishop Wandera said.

    At the conclusion of the class the students in Mumias will be commissioned evangelists in their parishes and the Dallas Students will be eligible for nomination to the Order of Evangelists, a lay order in the Episcopal church. Canon Headington emphasized that anyone is welcome to join the class and to contact her for details.