All over the world, people have difficulty sharing their faith. They can share about their love for their children, or their excitement about a new movie or restaurant, but sharing about their faith feels much harder. Yet evangelism, at its core is not a rigid set of techniques to be mastered. Rather, it is simply showing and sharing the love of Jesus.
World Methodist Evangelism recently released a new study book titled, Embrace: Showing and Sharing the Love of Jesus. This book is an evangelism resource written by WME Executive Director Dr. Kimberly Reisman through her PhD work. Her book offers a way to think about evangelism that can help people become comfortable showing and sharing the love of Jesus in a way that is authentic and natural. It sets out six essential values that are at the heart of authentic faith-sharing: humility, clarity, prayer, integrity, worship, and urgency. These values remain constant no matter where in the world we live. Our practices may change from place to place and time to time, but no matter where we are or what kind of culture we live in, these values form the foundation for everything we do to show and share the love of Jesus.
“I’ve been teaching this format around the world for quite some time now,” Reisman says. “The response has been fantastic. There is such a need for authentic and holistic approaches to evangelism, it’s been really encouraging.”
She says she’s seen Embrace change the trajectory of faith-sharing on three different levels. “First is the personal level – people become more in touch with their own experience of faith, their own story; and more in touch with the way their story intersects with God’s story.” Embrace is not aimed at doctrine or theology but their personal experience and commitments. “So it’s not about having all the answers,” Kim explains. “It’s about a willingness to walk with others as they explore the possibility of faith.”
The second trajectory she names is communal. “People begin to see that the process of showing and sharing the love of Jesus is intertwined with everything else that happens in their congregation – worship, small groups, outreach, mission, everything. And they recognize that following Jesus can’t be done in a vacuum.” Then she adds, “We need each other on this journey.”
A holistic aspect is the third level she mentions. Kim describes it like this. “People realize that evangelism isn’t a one-off thing. It’s a process that involves not just what we preach or communicate verbally – but what we do – how we live – the activity of our lives.” And, most importantly, there’s the involvement of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit needs space and time to move,” Kim emphasizes. “This third element is probably the thing that has been overlooked the most. Embrace helps people bring all three of those elements together in a fresh and powerful way.”
WME hopes the Embrace training events will be transformational for those who attend. The hope is that people will realize, as the woman at the well did, that no matter where they are coming from, God can work in and through us to share the good news of living water, new life, faith, hope, and love to a suffering world.
Embrace presents humility, clarity, prayer, integrity, worship, and urgency as the essence of authentic evangelism. Reisman concludes, “Such an understanding changes how we share, and I believe moves us closer to being evangelists in the manner of John Wesley.”
Upcoming Embrace Training Event:
Brentwood United Methodist Church
February 21 & 22, 2020
Embrace: Showing and Sharing the Love of Jesus
Presented by Rev. Dr. Kimberly Reisman,
Executive Director, World Methodist Evangelism
Embrace evangelism training is available in several formats. In addition to the study book, there is an Embrace Church Resource Kit available to augment the study book experience. It includes a copy of the study book, Scripture passages, sermon series ideas, slide templates, and other resources to coordinate Sunday worship with the small group curriculum.
Embrace can also be taught in a 1½ to 2 day workshop context in congregational, district, conference or other organizational settings.