Spring Mission Trips
by the Rev. Cn. John Macdonal, DMiss
Trinity students from the Evangelism and Church Planting class and two faculty were involved this spring in two successful evangelistic mission trips. The first was to South Carolina under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Peter Walker, Professor of New Testament. Peter arranged for four churches to host a series of Holy Week events in the Diocese of South Carolina. The second was to Toronto under my leadership. In Toronto, we did an evangelism training conference for the members of Christ the King Anglican Church, which is being pastored by two Trinity alumni, the Rev. Jonathan Wong and the Rev. Len Finn.
The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Seven students traveled with Dr. Walker to South Carolina during Holy Week, where Peter had arranged to do a series of teachings and gatherings in four different parishes. Peter preached and gave the presentations at the various gatherings. The students provided their testimonies, led a children’s program, participated in a Men’s Breakfast, and also led the Stations of the Cross. Participating churches were St. James, Sullivan’s Island; St. John’s, John’s Island; Our Saviour, John’s Island; and Christ St. Paul’s, Yonge’s Island.
The highlight and climax of the time there was the sunrise Easter service that was held at a beach on John’s Island. Dozens of holiday vacationers began to appear and were drawn to a large wooden cross that had been central to the Good Friday services. Said Nate Tucker, “I was reminded of the fact that we need to be taking Jesus to the streets (and beaches). We cannot expect everyone to show up to church events. We need to go where they are!”
Added Dr. Walker, “…the highlight was to be able to speak from John 21 to over six hundred people gathered before dawn on Kiawah Beach for an Easter ‘SonRise’ service: what a great setting to remember Jesus’ early morning Resurrection appearance by the lakeside!”
Christ the King Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario
The Toronto weekend had a different focus than the South Carolina Holy Week mission. Instead of leading an evangelistic conference where the focus would have been on reaching out to people in the city, the purpose of the trip was to provide some basic and foundational teaching on the Gospel and the ministry of evangelism. This was actually the first part of a planned two-part strategy. With this first weekend, the congregation was to be equipped for bringing the Gospel to their friends, neighbors, and colleagues. The second part will take place a year from now when an actual parish evangelistic mission will take place with intentional evangelistic activities planned to reach out to the unchurched and to those who have fallen away.
Christ the King is an Anglican Network in Canada church plant that was initiated by the Rev. Ray David Glenn, Rector of St. George’s Anglican Church in Burlington, Ontario. The congregation currently has an active membership of about thirty-five to forty, and it meets on Sunday afternoons in a Baptist Church, which has graciously been providing them with space.
After driving up to Toronto, the conference began with three opening talks. Jonathan Wong talked on the context for evangelism in Toronto. Len Finn gave a presentation on urban church work—not only drawing on his experience in Toronto, but also on his experience of being actively engaged in Christian work and evangelism when he lived in New York City. I then finished up the evening with a presentation on the theological and biblical basis for evangelism in the local church.
The following day, the students were fully responsible for the teaching. Chris Popadich drew on his Coalition for Christian Outreach experience and taught on personal witness and evangelism. Rags Coxe taught on evangelism as a lifestyle, and then Chris Wendel finished this segment of the morning’s teaching focusing on prayer as an integral and important part of evangelistic work.
The second part of the morning was taught by three students: Claire Megles, David Brown, and Ken Brown. Their topic was looking at the various ways in which a local church can be intentionally evangelistic in all areas of its ministry—through preaching, teaching, formation of small groups, communication, and visitor follow-up.
On Sunday morning we traveled to the mother church, St. George’s, in Burlington. The church has been meeting in a Christian television broadcasting building that has its own chapel. The congregation has now grown to the point that they have bought property and are in the midst of getting the necessary permissions to construct their own church buildings. I was invited to preach at the service—and I preached again that afternoon when we returned to Christ the King for their weekly worship in the later afternoon.
Jonathan Wong posted on Facebook that he was very grateful to the Trinity team for the teaching that took place. Student Claire Megles said, “…Christ the King had many members who were anxious to learn and were already thinking of ways to put their new information into practice. I think that God gave us a real blessing in being able to connect with the folks there, and I would be happy to go back if the opportunity arises!”
I was very impressed with the careful, clear and thoughtful way in which the students interacted with the members of Christ the King through their teaching and through the one-on-one conversations that took place during breaks. There was a strong sense of connection with all of them.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Trinity and directing the Stanway Institute for World Mission and Evangelism, John is actively involved with a church plant in the city of Pittsburgh and leads evangelism conferences nationally and internationally.
If your parish is interested in having John and a team of students come to your parish to do similar evangelism training, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-874-8754.
Article taken from the Summer 2013 issue of Seed & Harvest.
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