It began with just a converted camper trailer, three storage units, and a passion for reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ. In the oil boom area of Watford City, North Dakota, much of the population works in the oil or services industry. Yet because of the volatility of the industry and transient lifestyle of some of the workers, there is often a need for support – both for physical needs like clothing, food, and household items, as well as spiritual support for those who live apart from family and support networks for months or even years at a time.

Through the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church’s “Bakken Oil Rush Ministry,” one couple has made it their mission to share the Good News of Jesus with those individuals in the wake of these oil “booms and busts.” Jim and Kathie Konsor see their work providing the needed goods and support as a way to build relationship with individuals who are in need of not only the physical items to make their lives a bit better, but also a prayer, hug or laughter to encourage their spirits.

The Bakken Oil Rush Ministry has impacted the lives of thousands of people, thanks to the leadership of Jim and Kathie who have moved the program from an extension ministry of the conference to a self-supporting 501(c)3 organization. The ministry has moved from its humble beginnings and now includes a new retail center as well as a sorting and storage warehouse. Having gained region-wide support and endorsement, the ministry now has the capability of responding to local emergencies and assisting the community where needed – always with the intention of showing the love of Jesus.

Recently, the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church honored Jim and Kathie Konsor with the 2019 Harry Denman Evangelism Award for their unwavering call to share the Love of Jesus with all they meet. We celebrate their devoted ministry, which, in the spirit of Harry Denman, makes personal connections to help bring all people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Board and staff leadership of The Foundation for Evangelism (FFE) will engage a select group of innovative Christian leaders in Atlanta, Ga. on January 30-31, 2017 to determine how the FFE may best support evangelistic efforts in the spirit of John Wesley.

“The Evangelism Summit is designed to help The Foundation for Evangelism effectively engage with our key constituencies, which include laity, local church pastors and younger generations, and to determine best practices for evaluating the impact of those partnerships,” said Dr. Larry Klemann, board chair.

The group of 11 United Methodist leaders and Christian innovators, experts who have effective evangelism ministries, were specifically selected for their areas of impact that match the FFE grant focus areas. The FFE identified ministries across the United States where metrics exist to document that lives are being transformed–places where the ideas leaders read about are no longer ideas, but ministry reality.

“We recognize that we are not the practitioners who can answer the key questions. These exceptional leaders can help FFE more clearly understand how evangelism succeeds today, what are needed improvements for the future, and where FFE can invest our grant funds to have the greatest possible impact,” Mrs. Mary Brooke Casad, task force leader and immediate past board chair, said.

“We spent a great deal of time locating ‘next generation leaders.’ We specifically invited folks who are catching the attention of today’s leaders, who in turn say to us, ‘you better keep your eye on that one –God is at work in that ministry!'” Casad said.

Through careful listening and guided discussion during the Evangelism Summit, the FFE leadership expects to inform its ongoing efforts to discern where God is calling The Foundation to engage, provide resources, and encourage efforts to address adaptive challenges in Wesleyan evangelism.

The following individuals/ministries will be participating in the summit:

  • Adolf Hanson, Theologian in Residence, St. Luke’s UMC Indianapolis,
  • Craig Robertson, Founder, Spiritual Leadership, Inc.,
  • Eric Lindh, National Executive Director, Project Transformation,
  • Heather Lear, Director of Evangelism Ministries, Discipleship Ministries of the UMC,
  • Kay Kotan, Founder, You Unlimited,
  • Olu Brown, Lead Pastor, Impact Church;
  • Scott Chrostek, Campus Pastor, RezDowntown, [The UMC of the Resurrection]
  • Tyler Best, Campus Minister, Pfrimmer’s Chapel UMC,
  • Owen Ross, Founding Pastor, Christ Foundry,
  • Rob Peabody, Co-Founder, Awaken,  and
  • Adam Weber, Founding Pastor, Embrace Church.

Headquartered in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, the FFE is an international grant-making foundation that promotes, encourages and provides resources to grow Wesleyan evangelism by bringing all people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Of particular interest are ministries impacting young people and the local church.

 

Foundation for Evangelism (FFE) invites exceptional, innovative leaders – both clergy and lay – working in a United Methodist Church setting to apply (or be nominated) for its 2016 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church Award.

Given annually since 1990, the Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church Award is designed to recognize all who are called to be evangelists in the spirit of John Wesley – not just those who are called to be clergy.

To be considered for the award, the applicant should be known for the tangible ways in which their ministry transforms the lives of those they mentor and shepherd. The successful candidate will be a role model and inspiration for others who seek to embody FFE’s vision of growing generations of Christ followers in new and impactful ways.

The Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church:

  1. Is an innovator.
  2. Practices evangelism in the Methodist or Wesleyan context in a United Methodist setting.
  3. Is known for the tangible ways in which their ministry transforms the lives of those they lead, mentor, and shepherd.
  4. Nurtures, mentors, and develops “Timothy” leaders who seek to be in ministry in similar ways.
  5. States clearly “Why Jesus.”
  6. Embodies FFE’s vision of growing generations of Christ Followers – clergy and laity – who have a passion for evangelism.

Upon receiving the award, the 2016 Distinguished Evangelist will be invited to:

  1. Participate in media efforts to promote FFE and this award.
  2. Speak at the Lake Junaluska Summer Sermon Series the summer following being named.
  3. Deliver a featured lecture as the Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church on a national stage.
  4. Participate in FFE’s Speakers Bureau.
  5. Share with FFE links to websites, blogs and other social media with which they are affiliated.
  6. Provide articles and videos (or access to existing) for use on the FFE website.

The Foundation for Evangelism announces the selection of Mr. Harry J. Lyness, a member of Dearborn Hills United Methodist Church near Lawrenceburg, Ind., as the 2015 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. Mr. Lyness will received the award and serve as featured speaker during the Foundation’s annual banquet on November 6, 2015.

In nominating Mr. Lyness, Pastor Warren Kirk writes, “Harry believes that evangelism is a lifestyle and agrees with the theory that ‘people don’t care about what you believe, until they believe you care.’ Once people know that you care about them as individuals they are more open and receptive in allowing you to share the Good News about Jesus with them. Harry’s wish is to see all United Methodist Congregations learn how to get outside the walls of the church building, stop just going to church and start being the church so they may share the Gospel of Christ with all their neighbors. “

A 40 year veteran in the mission field, Mr. Lyness has led mission teams in 14 states and 6 countries. “The Foundation for Evangelism was founded by Dr. Harry Denman, a passionate lay evangelist, who once proclaimed ‘I want the Methodist Church to become a great evangelistic movement because of its social passion concerning the welfare of every individual. The Methodist Church has a philosophy, a program, and a passion. Today we dedicate ourselves to reach the new America for Christ until this new America becomes, not the American way of life, but the Christian way of life…’ In Harry Lyness you see a lay evangelist who is living into Denman’s vision,” stated Jane Boatwright Wood, President.

The Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church Award is presented annually by The Foundation for Evangelism to create a platform where exceptional, innovative United Methodist leaders can serve as role models and inspiration for others sharing new, impactful ways to approach evangelism in the spirit of John Wesley so that people enter into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

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