Building momentum in Washington DC
Alan Avera is the Executive Director for Christianity Explored USA. His primary task is establishing a base for ministry to support and equip North American churches for evangelism. Alan and his wife live in South Carolina.
“While I have led Christianity Explored two to three times per year for more than three years, I found Rico’s comments about Mark refreshing.”
These were Maryland pastor Bill Sutherland's reflections on the Christianity Explored North American conference, 'Building momentum for evangelism', held on 14 April 2018 in Washington DC.
More than 160 people attended the conference, representing over 30 churches. Participants came from all regions of the United States, plus one from Canada.
We were very pleased with how it went, and 98.5% of those completing a conference survey rated it highly valuable, saying the content was very relevant to their life and ministry.
Some of the most helpful parts of the conference, according to participants, were the plenary sessions by Rico Tice on:
What is the gospel?
How are we to communicate the gospel?
What are the building blocks and blockages?
Randy Newman (author of the book 'Questioning Evangelism') led a breakout session about engaging people with gospel questions, which participants also enjoyed. Rico attended one of Randy’s sessions, and said: “Your session was a product of 30 years' work, which made it so original and valuable.”
Our annual supporter's evening was the night before the conference. One supporter commented on how encouraging it was to see how much the ministry has grown since the last time the supporter's evening was in the Washington DC area in 2014, and how many more supporters were there this year.
The big picture
A 2007 study by The American Church Research Project found that only 17% of Americans are in church on any given Sunday. If you ask how many are in an evangelical church, then it's only 9%. That is true even in those states that are considered 'the Bible Belt'. And the trend over the past several decades has been downward.
Similarly, in Canada only about 10% of Canadians attended weekly religious services of any kind, Christian or non-Christian, according to The Center for Theological Schools in Canada in 2015.
We need to help Christians in North America have clarity about the gospel, and then get the gospel out to people who need to hear it.
The need, and our opportunity, in North America is huge.
At a board meeting earlier in the week, the board affirmed a strategy of building awareness, supporting churches, and raising up supporters through a decentralized, local hub strategy.
To begin, we are starting with hubs in the front range of Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, the Charlotte-Atlanta corridor, Washington, DC area, and Nashville, TN.
To better support the decentralized hub strategy, we are seeking to upgrade our database, and the board also approved hiring a part time administrator to help with database and communications. Related to that, we approved adding a regional director for Alberta, Canada.
We're excited and encouraged by all that God is doing in the US and North America and are thankful for your continued support and prayers.
If you would like to give to the ministry in the US and North America, you can donate online.
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Did you attend the conference? Comment below your best moments