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2019 Annual Report

Equipping the Local Church for Evangelism

This annual report highlights some of the ways in which the grants made by The Foundation for Evangelism focus on the Local Church and equipping laity and clergy for authentic, holistic evangelism.

State of the Foundation - 2019

Jane Boatwright Wood

As I write this, you and I join the world in a shared experience of uncertainty. Still, we can choose to experience joy as the Holy Spirit flows into the world through our churches! I am so thankful for congregations, regardless of size, that find innovative ways to stay home/stay safe while living vibrant, faith-powered lives modeled through new forms of worship and relational, spiritual assurance. I celebrate the ongoing ministry of Denman Evangelism Award recipients who continue to serve in creative ways among the children whose worlds were upended by closed schools or with homeless, food-insecure or lonely folks in their communities. A vibrant Christian certainty fuels this work – that in all circumstances disciples are to model and share the Gospel story by inviting all people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. I find hope in knowing that thousands of ministry leaders spearheading these efforts first worked with a Foundation for Evangelism funded professor. Professors who equip disciples and leaders so transformed by their faith that they serve as Christ served and share Why Jesus in all aspects of their lives. It is difficult to stay the course required to change long-range outcomes, much less remain passionate. But passion and perseverance are necessary for the development of Generative Gospel Leadership for the church. Join me as we continue to pray for healing and God’s active presence among us. To intercede for strength and wisdom for the leaders, frontline workers, and innovators who will help order our lives. And to celebrate our chance to provide the resources needed to support the generative gospel leaders, laity and clergy, hard at work in our congregations and in our communities.

From the Board Chair

These are interesting times that we live in. As we neared the end of 2019, we had no idea that we would be dealing with a global pandemic. And yet, the church has remained a beacon of hope through the  uncertainty and fear. As a UMC District Superintendent, I am encouraged by the people of faith bearing witness to the love and saving grace only found in Jesus Christ and the new ways in which this grace is being shared in our world.

At our meeting in 2019, the Foundation’s board of trustees identified three areas of focus. We felt that one of the greatest investments we can make is to foster “Generative Gospel Leadership.” In John 13:13-15 Jesus tells his disciples “You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” Jesus’ example of “Generative Leadership” is witnessed in one of the greatest grant successes of the Foundation – the training of clergy and laity through the E. Stanley Jones Professors of Evangelism. A grant that was begun over 35 years ago and has continued to grow and strengthen the leadership of the church to equip disciples to share the Good News. 

The board also understands that, despite their smaller size, the small to medium attendance churches
are not “less than” large churches – in fact their presence is essential to the practice and invitation to
the faith! They are vital parts of their communities, as we have seen throughout this global pandemic!
Similarly, the board recognizes that laity play a vital role in our churches. The Foundation was founded on
this very idea, and our board remains lay-driven today. The laity can think differently and approach problems from a different position than clergy. In fact, The Wesleyan revival in England and America was not a clergy centered revival but took place in society bands and classes where laity took on essential roles. 

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this focus of energy and resources to continue to strengthen the local
church. Your support and prayers are the reason we exist, and I am grateful! I pray for you to be safe, faithful and focused while we are together yet apart.

Rev. Allen Black
Board Chair

Laity play a vital role in our churches.... [they] can think differently and approach problems from a different position than clergy.

Grant Impact

Sponsoring Training for New Church Leaders

The Foundation for Evangelism was a sponsor for the Order of the FLAME event, making it possible for leaders in their first few years of ministry to have this evangelism training experience at no cost other than their travel expenses. 

Evangelism Professor Brings Training to Laity at Annual Conference

Rev. Dr. Mark Teasdale is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary just outside of Chicago. He uses the FFE-funded professorship to not only help train seminary students, but take his training and practical methodology to laity and non-professional church leaders through local conferences, seminars and events.