We recently posted the following question on Facebook : “Assuming you had the platform at Provincial Synod, what would you say to the house?”
Our first answer came from Luvuyiso Mxunyelwa : “Lot’s of things have to change in the way the church is conducting itself. People need to be taught Christianity and not preached.”
Linda Makgatlhe says: “In 1988 Lambeth Conference called on Anglicans around the world to prepare for a ‘Decade of Evangelism’ from 1999 to 2000. I have spent a considerable amount of time investigating whether the Church responded to that call. I have since come to the conclusion that there hasn’t been any significant shift in the Church regarding the latter. I have also come to realise that generally, talk of evangelism often makes Anglicans feel uncomfortable. I have heard some people say; “it isn’t part of our style of doing things”, others say; “we don’t want to force our religion on other people” and so on…
We need to start asking ourselves some tough questions; What is evangelism? How does it relate to us? Is evangelism unAnglican? How can we use the rich tradition of the Anglican Church to make Christ known? How can parishes make evangelism part of their life – instead of a special, rear exercise? What do we mean by the ‘good news’? I say all of these things, hoping to inform and challenge all our Church leaders who are gathered here.
There are many tools we could use or introduce in our parishes that can help us as Anglicans to become more evangelistic. One of them is an evangelistic ministry called; the Alpha Course has many other ancillary ministries that can target a range of audiences – Youth Alpha, Parenting Teenagers, Marriage & Marriage Preparation Courses, Prison Alpha, Global Alpha Training, Alpha in the Workplace, etc.
Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith. This course was developed and founded in the early 90’s by Nicky Gumble who is an Anglican priest at Holy Trinity Brompton, London, UK.
Through my own experience, I have found Alpha – especially Youth Alpha to e extraordinarily successful in my own parish – Holy Cross parish, Orlando West, Diocese of Johannesburg. The course is able to bring people to faith; it helped create enthusiasm and excitement among young people of different age groups. The key to running the course has been to build relationships, helping people of grow in their faith and to fulfill the great commission of evangelising to those who are outside the Church – non-church gores or the un-churched. Alpha has the ability to help parishes strive on making people feel welcome. I often hear people say; “when you feel welcome, you feel like you belong.” This is what we want for our parishes in the province (ACSA), and in the entire world wide Anglican Communion.
There could be many other ways or tools that could be used to stir our Church towards an era of ‘All-out Evangelism.’ I am not suggesting in any way that Alpha is the only tool of evangelism. However I am proposing that the course be explored on a wider scale, since there are parishes that have been running the course over many years. I am willing to make myself available if my assistance could be required in bringing Alpha into our parishes.
Thank you for offering me this special opportunity and a platform to address you.
Remember, we are praying for you, as you sit in this conference, we are also praying that you speak your thoughts freely; and that God will not wait until you go back to your respective diocese, before He answers your prayers, but He will answer them while you are still here.”
Thanks, Luvuyiso and Linda, for your contributions. We have included your comments in the Special Edition of our News Letter to Provincial Synod. You can download it by clicking Synod Newsletter. Therefore, your comments will be read at Synod.
Young people are encouraged to speak up and make their voices heard!