There is power in “knowing where you come from.” I recently delved into The Foundation for Evangelism’s original charter, where I found a wealth of inspiration from our founders and affirmation that 73 years later, the Foundation is still true to the founding vision. In this charter, the founders proclaimed a commitment to the work of evangelism on all fronts and in all places.
Our founding charter says that the purpose of The Foundation for Evangelism is:
“To diffuse the blessings of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by the promotion and support of all forms and phases of evangelism; to promote evangelistic intelligence, interest and zeal throughout the membership of the Methodist Church, and throughout the nation and the world; … and to stimulate all persons wherever possible in worship and in Christian service.”1949 Charter
Reaching back to this original intention of Dr. Denman, Mr. Edge, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Whitmore, and Mr. Boult, I’m reminded that these men were lay people. They weren’t pastors or full-time evangelists (although some may argue that Harry Denman WAS). They were members of church congregations who knew the transforming power that a life lived with Jesus at its center could have. As a lay leader myself, I am inspired by the breadth of their vision – the people of Christ’s church changing the nation and the WORLD.
Our founders were also aware of the organization’s responsibility to assure donors “that the proceeds of their gifts will be forever used for the cause of evangelism.” In 1949, these folks were members of the Methodist Church. Although that denomination no longer exists, we continue to uphold the promise they made to use the gifts we receive to fund evangelism in the Wesleyan tradition (based on the ministry of John and Charles Wesley), to guide our work, and to define our values.
For us, as John Wesley noted, we “look upon all the world as [our] parish,” and we are building relationships with churches and organizations across the Wesleyan tradition.
Our board and staff revisited how to “diffuse the blessings of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” In 2021, three focus areas were declared for the grants we award and resources we provide:
- Equipping the Local Church
- Engaging the Ministry of the Laity
- Raising up Gospel Leaders
I love the imagery of three trees we developed to represent these focus areas. At once separate yet drawing their strength from the same source. In much the same way, these grant focus areas look distinct, but each is firmly rooted in the knowledge that we are stewards of the gospel story and resources dedicated to equipping evangelistic leaders and churches.
Our founding date was January 31, 1949. As I write this, the Foundation begins another year as a catalyst to equip disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and we continue in our purpose of “diffusing the blessings of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is my prayer that we stay true to this Kingdom purpose. Will you join me in prayer for our work today?
Jane Boatwright Wood