September is a time of both winding down and gearing up. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we are enjoying the last vestiges of summer, school has begun, and many churches are launching new or renewed ministries. For those of us in the southern hemisphere, we are anticipating spring, the school year is in full stride, and churches are in the thick of their ministries. All of these experiences make it a good time to reflect on the work of World Methodist Evangelism around the globe.
India ~ Collaborating with the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, we were able to provide training for over 100 leaders who gathered in New Delhi in January. This gathering was the first time many of these leaders had ever met! Religious pluralism is one of the main aspects of Indian culture and feedback from participants emphasized how important WME’s Embrace evangelism material is in providing tools necessary to share the Gospel in that type of context. We are especially encouraged by the young adult leaders who recently took the initiative to launch a youth camp to reach young adults using the principles they learned through WME. This is indeed multiplication of the gospel in action!
Ukraine ~ Eurasia is a vast geographical area and WME has partnered with the leadership there to provide comprehensive instruction over the last three years. Beginning with training in Vladivostok, Russia in 2016 and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2017, we continued this coordinated effort in April through an evangelism training event in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Christians in these areas face significant religious oppression and overt evangelism is prohibited. Therefore, our emphasis on developing relationships of trust and providing tools for personal sharing was crucial to equip Christ followers to share in contexts where their freedom is extremely limited and sharing can be dangerous.
Costa Rica – Metanoia ~ WME has a long history of empowering young adults to follow Jesus with integrity and grace. In early June, over 100 young adults from over 20 countries experienced transformation with over 30 people responding to a call to pursue full time ministry. Many also made commitments to WME Movement groups to effect change on behalf of Jesus Christ after Metanoia concluded, and all returned to their homes renewed and revitalized.
Argentina ~ Collaboration with the World Methodist Evangelism Institute continued in August when we gathered for an evangelism seminar in Argentina. We were expecting 80 but over 140 attended! One of the remarkable aspects of our work is our ability to bring people together around the task of making the good news of Jesus Christ known throughout the world. That “coming together” was dramatically apparent during our seminar, when those who have exclusively emphasized social holiness (justice) came together with those who have emphasized personal holiness (individual salvation). Through our teaching on Embrace and teaching from other leaders in South America, we were able to experience a holistic understanding of the gospel and evangelism that highlights the inseparable nature of personal and social holiness, and individual and communal salvation. It was remarkable to witness a church galvanized to share the good news of Jesus Christ not only ways that reflect a commitment to God’s justice in our current world, but in ways that attend to the spiritual health of new believers.
God has richly blessed our work thus far, but the year is not over and 2019 holds a great deal of promise!
Here are a few things we are looking forward to:
November 9-11, 2018 ~ Roundtable for Peace on the Korean Peninsula – Atlanta, Georgia
January 4-8, 2019 ~ International Evangelism Seminar – Porto, Portugal
March 11-15, 2019 ~ Order of the FLAME – St. Simons Island, Georgia