2010 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church
Rev. Shane Bishop of Christ United Methodist Church in Fairview Heights, Ill., was presented with the Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church award on October 30, 2010, and was honored at his church on November 21, 2010. He encourages his congregation to be evangelists when he says, “We exist to connect people with Jesus Christ; that is all we do here.” He practices Wesleyan Evangelism in every aspect of his leadership.
Rev. Bishop has been the senior pastor at Christ UMC since 1997. Under his leadership the average worship attendance has grown from around 300 to over 1,200, and membership has grown from 400 to over 1,000. In the last three years, there have been almost 200 professions of faith. Yet, Bishop insists he is not the sole minister of the church. The ministers are all those who attend, and he puts this philosophy into practice by promoting discipleship and spiritual growth so that more individuals may be evangelists for Christ. He encourages laity to plant seeds wherever they go. Many people under Shane’s leadership have “caught the fever for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ,” according to Alan Prass, Executive Director for Christ UMC.
The son of a Baptist preacher, Rev. Shane is described as having “southern Illinois grit,” a down-to-earth manner that makes him both approachable and reputable. His congregation feels his strengths in Bible-based preaching, soul-winning, and leadership has helped the church’s congregation to grow six-fold since 1997. Shane holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. A former history teacher and coach, he is a world-traveler having served in mission and ministry to the Philippines, Israel, Jordan and this year plans to travel to Greece. Evidence of Wesleyan Evangelism is found wherever Shane’s influence touches, such as reaching out to families with small children, promoting door-to-door “knock and talks,” Invite-a-Friend Sundays, and cultivating culturally relevant programs and ministries to meet the needs of outsiders.
Since Rev. Shane’s tenure began, the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference has recognized Christ UMC with its Award for Church Growth and Evangelism for Large Churches four times. Rev. Shane has also been recognized with the Denman Evangelism Award (1996) and was inducted into the World Methodist Evangelism Council’s “Order of the FLAME” in 1999.
Photo Courtesy Christ United Methodist Church, Fairview Heights, Ill.