St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
(864) 638-6363 stjohnsluther@gmail.com
Preschool
(864) 638-8099 stjohnspreschool@bellsouth.com

Sunday Worship Services
Sunday School: 9:00 am
Fellowship: 10:00 am
Announcements: 10:25 am
Worship Service: 10:30 am
 
St. John's Evangelism Committee

Committee Members
Susan Holcombe
Ann Brackett
Julie Corbett
Amy Klaren
Marcia Lyle
Libby McLean
Church council liaison: Allen Harding


Committee Description
There shall be a committee on evangelism. This committee shall stimulate and lead all members of the congregation in continuous, and from time to time, concerted endeavors to reawaken the spiritually indifferent, to reach others, who are as yet unknown, with the Gospel and attach them to Christ's church. To this end, the committee shall devote itself to deepening spiritual life and shall periodically study the congregation in the context of its surrounding community. Article X, Section 5.

Evangelism is the church's witness to God's love in Jesus Christ. It is that activity of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament by which he brings the lost to Christ, attaches them to Christ's church and helps them live as Christ's disciples and witnesses. Thus, evangelism is indefinitely more than a few specialized or sporadic activities. It is more than the efforts of one congregation or of a special committee within a congregation. Evangelism includes the witness of each Christian as expressed in all the encounters of daily life. It is the witness of the total life of the church. It is the witness born through the programs by which congregations reach people and communities with the Gospel. This committee helps to organize this witness and bring it into proper focus.


Organization
The numbers of members on the committee should be appropriate to the size of the congregation, considering especially its opportunities and the number of people who are potential members.

Responsibilities
The committee is not to assume all evangelism responsibilities for the congregation. Ideally, each member of the congregation is an evangelist. The committee is to stimulate and lead; to educate, motivate and promote; to inform and inspire; to rely upon and to be obedient to the Holy Spirit who alone can make evangelists; to study, plan and administer; to set the direction, the example and the pace; to select, enlist, train and guide workers.

The evangelism committee will seek to help members of the congregation function as witnesses in daily life and to contribute to the congregation's planned program of evangelism. That program, as the Approved Constitution for Congregations makes clear, is concerned with:
 a. Re-awakening the spiritually indifferent,
 b. Reaching others, who are as yet unknown, with the Gospel and relating them to Christ's church,
 c. Deepening spiritual life, and
 d. Periodically studying the congregation in the context of its surrounding community.

Endeavors along these lines are to be "continuous and, from time and time, concerted." That is some elements of the program require regularity, patient persistence and follow-through. Others add impetus to the continuous program by being intensive though brief, and by involving as many members and groups as possible. Both are necessary as they support one another.

Detailed suggestion from the experience of congregations fill the Evangelism Committee section of "A Resource Book for Evangelism." On the basis of prevailing needs and responsibilities, the committee on evangelism can, from time to time, make selections and adapt them to serve the situation.

1. Re-awakening the spiritually indifferent:
Re-awakening the spiritually indifferent is part of the conservation of membership. It begins with careful assimilation and nurture of new members. It requires constant effort to discern and eliminate signs and causes of indifference. It involves the reawakening and restoration of inactive members. It includes the transfer of nonresident members.

The following suggestions are guides for the committee as it develops a program for the conservation of membership:

 a. Together with the stewardship committee, the committee on Christian education, the church council, the auxiliaries and others concerned, plan for the assimilation of new members. This plan might include:
  1. arranging for evangelism committee members to be present at the adult catechetical classes to meet prospective members;
  2. holding informal congregational receptions for persons becoming members;
  3. planning a system of sponsors for new members;
  4. arranging visits with individuals and families to welcome them and tell them about activities of the congregation in which they may want to take part.

 b. Identify and restore members becoming inactive:
  1. work closely with the person responsible for tabulating worship attendance to discover persons becoming indifferent in attendance at worship;
  2. discover the causes of inactivity and develop approaches by personal visits, mail and telephone;
  3. maintain liaison with the auxiliaries of the congregation in extending invitations for their members to participate in fellowship, learning and service opportunities.

 c. Cooperate with the pastor, church council and others concerned in shepherding all members by means such as:
  1. pre-Lenten or pre-Pentecost visits;
  2. a zone or shepherding plan to provide continuing contacts;
  3. registration of worshipers, and follow-through;
  4. contact with temporarily nonresident members in military service, school and elsewhere.

 d. Help non-resident members to understand the need to transfer their memberships to congregations where they live, and to refer them to congregations where they can more fully serve and be served.
  1. Reaching those as yet unwon:

 a. The congregation must take the initial approach to non members and continue to befriend and invite the unchurched while the Holy Spirit inspires commitment. Reaching non members with the Gospel and seeking to relate them to Christ's church requires procedures for:
  1. identifying all who need the church's message and witness;
  2. developing an up-to-date and inclusive "responsibility list" of the unchurched which reveals who they are, where they live and what they need in relationship to Jesus Christ; and
  3. maintaining relationship with and a vibrant witness to the unchurched by planned lay visits.

 b. The development of the responsibility list could include:
  1. maintaining an on-going census of the immediate community;
  2. securing current list of newcomers, then providing them with letters of welcome and folders or pamphlets descriptive of the congregation, making telephone calls or personal visits to renew the welcome and to ascertain religious affiliation or preference as well as to help them into the church;
  3. welcoming and identifying visitors at worship, sending a note of welcome to each visitor and arranging for a personal visit;
  4. discovering prospective members through the church schools, pastoral acts and other phases of the congregation's ministry;
  5. receiving from members the names of persons who ought to be part of the congregation's responsibility.

 c. The church's ministry to non-members should include visitation evangelism and, in some instances, neighborhood or apartment group meetings to which the unchurched can be invited to become acquainted with the Gospel and the church. The plan for each, such visitation or group meeting should be specific, designating the workers needed, the training sessions, meeting dates, periods of visitation, schedule of reporting and follow-through. See "A Resource Book for Evangelism" for suggested plans and guides for the selection and enlistment of workers and training sessions for witnessing.

2. Deepening Spiritual Life:
Outreach depends greatly upon the vitality of the congregation and its members' will to evangelize. Faithful witnessing is the overflow of a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and a meaningful relationship with his people, and is nurtured by the Holy Spirit through the means of grace. Worship (including both the preaching of the Word and the administration of Holy Communion, Bible study, prayer and Christian fellowship that confronts members with God's redemptive act in Christ equip the church to evangelize. Commitment to Christ and his church is more basic than a grasp of techniques, although the latter is not to be dismissed as unimportant.

The encouragement of spiritual life provides both a concern and a climate for witnessing. It prepares the members of a congregation not only for the work of evangelism but also for its fruits: The reception of new members into the life, fellowship and mission of the body of Christ.

Here are some possibilities:
 a. Consult with the pastor and with the church council concerning efforts that will lead and prepare members to witness spontaneously and to participate in the congregation's organized evangelism effort, consider:
  1. distribution of printed materials concerning each member's opportunities for daily witness;
  2. sponsorship of a study series concerning every-member evangelism,
  3. occasional "temple talks" at worship and paragraphs in the parish paper asking members to be on the lookout for new residents and the unchurched;
  4. liaison with the auxiliaries of the congregation to help their members better understand and interpret evangelism.

 b. Upon the request of the church council and in cooperation with the pastor, the committee on Christian education and the committee on worship, direct projects designed to strengthen congregational, individual and family devotional practices, for example:
  1. Bible study and prayer fellowship groups meeting simultaneously in homes with selected leaders who have been trained by the pastor and using a common study guide (the Board of Parish education provides many useful and effective helps). Series may be arranged on a weekly basis for such periods as January 1 to Ash Wednesday, Easter to Pentecost, the Advent season, prior to all evangelism mission or special event,
  2. Bible teaching missions and evangelism missions;
  3. distribution of aids for home and private devotional life and for the services of worship;
  4. calls to prayer through the Sunday bulletin and parish paper;
  5. prayer days in preparation for special seasons or observances,

 c. Cooperate with the pastor, church council, other standing committees and auxiliaries in encouraging throughout the congregation a climate that is favorable for drawing un churched persons to Christ and into the worship, study and service fellowship of his church.
  1. Studying the congregation in the context of its community:

A first step toward faithful evangelism is a study of the congregation in the context of its community. Gathering facts and figures about the composition of the congregation and of the community (in cooperation with the committee on social ministry) will prove helpful in:
 a. identifying the people and groups who need the church's ministry (the unchurched, the aged and the lonely);
 b. pointing out the congregation's unique mission in its community;
 c. indicating ways by which and the degree to which the congregation is grasping that opportunity
 d. exposing steps that call and should be taken toward a more relevant witness.

3. Congregational evangelism targets:
Targets are marks at which to shoot. These targets are to encourage;
 a. carefully designed policies consistent with scripture;
 b. trained leadership for evangelism;
 c. dynamic spiritual life;
 d. planned conservation of membership;
 e. up-to-date and inclusive responsibility list;
 f. lay participation in evangelism visits;
 g. a witnessing in which each member and each activity shares in making Christ known.

4. Continuous year-round efforts:
Examples of continuous efforts which the committee should promote are:
 a. a continuing census to search out the un churched of the area;
 b. monthly visits to selected persons on the responsibility list;
 c. immediate referral to other congregations of persons who have moved away;
 d. guidance and assistance to the spiritually indifferent;
 e. "witnessing in daily life" groups.

5. Concerned efforts:
The evangelism committee will from time to time assist in focusing the congregation's resources, attention and prayers on concerted efforts including:
 a. special series of preaching services or face-to-face groups;
 b. a week of visits to the unchurched, extending invitations to the worship service and to the adult catechetical class.

6. March emphasis on evangelism:
In the calendar of emphasis for church causes the month of March has been set aside to stress that the word of the cross highlighted during Lent is to be brought to persons near and far, in season and out of season. Suggestions for the emphasis provided by synod committees and LCA's commission on evangelism.

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