Leaving evangelism to ‘professionals’ is missionary suicide

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury told Premier that any church that leaves evangelism to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide.

Speaking about the need for everyone to invest in sharing their faith, he said:

“Any church that leaves things to the ‘professionals’ is committing missionary suicide basically.  The responsibility of demonstrating in word and works the love of Jesus Christ, in a way that is deeply attractive is the responsibility of every single Christian. Always. Everywhere.”

Archbishop Justin spoke out about how the Church has failed to equip people to share their faith for too long.

He said:

“If you go back to 1944/5 there was a report for the Church of England called Towards the Conversion of England prepared for William Temple.  It said there will never be a conversion of England until every Christian disciple is equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  That has always been one of the greatest weaknesses in many churches – not just Church of England churches. We do not spend enough time equipping people to share their faith.”

 

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Youth ministry as a social enterprise

I was fascinated to read about Mowtown Teen Lawn Care which was set up as a social enterprise part of a church’s youth ministry.

Matt Overton serves full time as associate pastor of youth and family ministries at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, Washington. Mowtown is the business arm of Columbia Teen Enterprises, a new youth ministry and jobs program Overton founded with the help of church members.

The high-school-age crew works on Saturdays, earning fair market wages as part of Mowtown’s business model. But the jobs aren’t separate from the ministry — working for Overton involves much more than earning a few extra bucks raking leaves.

With the blessing of his congregation, Overton hopes to use the landscaping business to reboot the way his church reaches out to Generation Z: youths and young adults born at the turn of the 21st century.

“In youth ministry, we attract kids all the time with Cheetos, couches and games,” he said. “Why not attract them with jobs and work and life skills?”

I think this is a fascinating model for two reasons: firstly intergenerational ministry following the Sticky Faith research is seen to being crucial in the development of a secure faith; but secondly we are seem to be seeing a decline in full-time youth ministry roles, partly due to issues around the long-term financial sustainability of it, this missional entrepreneurship creates an opportunity for a church to develop a model that can help sustain youth ministry.

Global Connections conference: From where I’m sitting

I am excited to be one of the contributors at the Global Connections conference in May.  I find this a fascinating conference in comparison to many others I go to as this is one of the few conferences where I see not just training or abstract research being presented, but instead new agreements and partnerships are developed that impacts mission around the world.

Here’s the blurb for what’s going on at the conference this year, I’d love to see you there:

We are used to hearing mission leaders, typically European and American men in their fifties describing what the most important issues in mission are. But is this the full story? At the GC Conference in May 2016, we will have the opportunity to listen to a variety of voices; under thirties, women in mission, missionaries from the majority world and leaders of international networks sharing from their perspective on mission today. In a diverse world, it is important that we listen to a range of opinions to really understand what is going on. This conference is a start in that process and we hope will be challenging and inspirational.

Our Bible reflections will be given by Steve Timmis from Crowded House, and there will also be times of worship, prayer and reflection led by Luke Hamlyn.

Contributors include: Adam Lowe (WEC), Chris Kidd (All Saints Didben), Harvey Kwiyani (Missio Africanus),  Israel Oluwole Olofinjana (Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World), Lesley Cheesman (Agapé), Lucho Sanchez (Latin Link), Mark Oxbrow who will be bringing videos of leaders from around the world (Faith2Share), Philipa Kalungi (OMF), Ruth Wall (former All Nations), Sarah Brighton (Hope UK).

The programme will include plenary sessions led by the various groups above, opportunity for discussion and workshops as well as times of prayers and reflection to listen to what God might be saying to us.