About Us - Evangelism and Growth

Evangelism and Growth Initiative

Summary: New Day Conversation and Roadmap Forward

During the 2017 Episcopal Diocese of Florida Annual Convention, the "Day of Conversation" was an opportunity for devoted Lay and Clergy members to gather and begin to discuss their vision of what life in the New Diocese looks like in our time, on this New Day. Nearly 400 people addressed what can be summarized as a Culture for Evangelism and Growth.

With all of the various voices that contributed to our conversation, the following themes echoed about what it means to be a community of people who are actively planning to create a culture of Evangelism for all.

Summary of Day of Conversation

We must be:

  1. Real. This means being authentic and true, truth-telling people who offer safety for those who are struggling with issues of this world. We are to be communities of vulnerability and healing, made up of different opinions, shapes, and types, and yet all remain willing to see beyond ourselves.  If we look in the pews we share, the question we should ask ourselves is, "Are these people I will call at 3 am if I've really messed up?" Or, perhaps more importantly, "Am I?"
  2. Rooted. We are people rooted in living prayerful, biblical, historical, faithful, and liturgical lives. There is much hope that if we prioritize and rally around these common denominators, our disagreements will dwindle, and our conflicts will heal. We are not anything if we do not start with these like-minded points.
  3. Relational. The hope of the Gospel is fundamentally shared through relationship, and, at its heart, the church is relational. We need to de-clutter those things that do not lead to or build relationships in our communities. This includes offering laity more opportunities for leadership.
  4. Radical. To live out our faith in the modern world is a Radical idea. It's countercultural, and yet bringing the church to the world with courage and conviction is what we are called to do.

We are thankful for all of those who participated, and presented their ideas on the "Day of Conversation." To be clear, this culture is not the same as the work of Evangelism itself, but is at the core of becoming the communities from which we are able to evangelize.

As we move forward with this work of Evangelism, our first step is to begin to assess where our parishes, our groups and our clergy and lay people are in terms of this culture.

Regional Evangelism Groups

We will soon have gatherings where we will plan future actions for the work of Evangelism within our Regions. Look for announcements from your clergy about these upcoming gatherings, or connect with our Evangelism Initiative to follow the announcement of upcoming gathering dates and locations. These will be ongoing groups for those who are interested in the work of Evangelism in their parishes and communities.

Prayer for Evangelism

We ask that parishes make the Prayer for Evangelism a regular prayer in their corporate worship and Prayers of the People, and individuals to pray in their private prayer.

Appoint a Liaison for Evangelism

And finally, we encourage parishes to appoint either an individual or a small team to the work of assessing Evangelism in each parish. This individual can liaison with the vestry, clergy, and me to begin developing parish-level Evangelism opportunities. Please have that point person contact me as soon as that person has been chosen.

Continue to Connect with the Initiative

We plan to do more, including training days for creating a culture of evangelism, Alpha and outreach emphasis, small-group development, sharing resources, planting churches, and even a Diocesan Revival. To communicate with me, or to follow our work on Evangelism, please subscribe to Connect,  where we will provide regular updates, thoughts, and announcements as to where this initiative is taking us. You can find regular updates through our Diocesan Facebook page. To contact me directly, email me at  asmith@diocesefl.org or call (904) 356-1328.

The heart of Evangelism is the Spirit working in a local setting, and I encourage each of us to begin to take the initiative towards this. It is our shared mission, and I ask your prayers for us all as we undergo this important work. We ask you to use the prayer below or use your own prayer for Evangelism and Growth.

In Christ,

Aaron Smith

 

Prayer for Evangelism and Growth

Gracious and loving God, you have called us in this Diocese to a goodly community of faith. You have called us also to bring others to know and love you. Give us, heavenly Father, a special measure of your grace, that we may be obedient to your Great Commission. Assist us, O Lord, and help us, that we may do your will in all things; and especially in our efforts to bring others to the knowledge and love of you. We ask all of these things through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Biblical Journeys Tour to The Holy Land - The Fifth Gospel

There are a few defining moments in my life that have given great depth to the reality of the Gospel and God's great hand of love on our lives:  My moment of conversion, my mariage to my bride, the birth of my two children, and standing on the Mount of the Beatitudes on the side of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus delivered his famous sermon to his disciples.  Most of us take great delight in deepening our faith by sitting in God's Living Scripture, but to acually stand in the physical places where the events took place, bring context and life to them like nothing else.  This is why we refer to the Holy Land as the Fifth Gospel, the one that brings the extra dimension to both faith and text.  This February, I invite you to join us in this journey as a way to illuminate and deepen your faith, and to be better equipped to share it with others, and also as a way to connect with other peoplefrom across the Diocese.  I pray it bless you, and us in our common mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we'll see you in our Holy Land.

The Rev. Canon Aaron Smith, Canon for Evangelism and Growth

 

For more information see brochure, reservation form and itinerary below.

visit web page  |  Engaging with Evangelism article
download document  |  Biblical Journeys Brochure
download document  |  Reservation Form
download document  |  Biblical Journeys Itinerary