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2023 Annual Report

The Foundation for Evangelism held its second Equipping the Local Church Grant cycle in  2023, awarding 51 grants to small and medium-sized local  churches. The Laity Evangelism Summit was held in Dallas, Texas, and two laity evangelism training events were held in Seoul, Korea, and Western North Carolina. Nine Professors of Evangelism evangelism provided training for pastors in the U.S., Russia, and Germany.

Thank you for your support.

Jane Boatwright Wood

Gaye Nell Heck
Board Chair

Join Us On the Journey!

Seventy five years ago, a group of lay people reminded the Methodist Church of their calling to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Foundation for Evangelism was begun to provide the financial and physical resources needed to support that vision. Of course, a lot has changed since 1949 –but the Foundation’s purpose has remained consistent!

This year, as the Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary, we look back at the organization’s history, celebrating the many achievements and its influence on the Methodist and Wesleyan-tradition church. But we are also dreaming and imagining for the future!

God’s Holy Spirit is moving – we see and hear about it every week from our grant recipients, trustees, and partners! It is amazing to be part of this Kingdom-building work that God has called us to.

We hope you’ll be inspired by the stories from this past year’s grants and resources. We are grateful for your support in helping make them happen. We receive letters, emails and visits from grant recipients (past and present!) who tell us that the funding, training, and resources they received made it possible to invite people they knew into life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. THAT is the vision that we are carrying on! Ours is not a one-way relationship with grant recipients and donors. The Foundation for Evangelism is the CATALYST that connects the resource with the need!

We also invite you to “join us on the journey” to our anniversary celebration and to kickoff this next quarter century in November! We have several virtual events planned that we want you to attend, and we’ll also be at multiple national gatherings during the year.

We hope to see you during the year, and look forward to celebrating and visioning with you in November!

Grant Impact

2023 Equipping the Local Church Grant Panel

“We Couldn’t Do This Without The Foundation”

Local Church Grants Vital to Sharing Jesus with Communities

Anyone who has ever worked in ministry, especially in a small church, knows that budgets are tight and resources are scarce. It can also be extremely hard to help church members navigate change.

For the three grant recipients that participated in a panel discussion with the Foundation’s board last November, the grant support was a welcome catalyst for buy-in from church members, relationship-building with community organizations, and allowing specific evangelistic ministry to happen where it would not otherwise have been possible.

Evangelism Summit Gathers Pan-Wesleyan Laity

Plus Laity Evangelism Training Begins in Seoul, Korea, and WesternNorth Carolina

In March 2023, a group of laity from six Wesleyan-tradition denominations gathered in Dallas, Texas, to explore how the Foundation can be a catalyst for churches to engage the ministry of the laity.

Following the gathering, participants continued the discussion online. Two partnerships emerged resulting in laityevangelism training opportunities in Seoul, Korea, andWestern North Carolina.

2023 Laity Evangelism Summit
Pastor-Lay couple Jessica Taylor and Rev. Jeff Taylor both attended the Adventurer's Leadership Academy -a Foundation-supported non-degree track in United Theological Seminary's Fresh Expressions House ofStudies

Innovation Grant to ALA Equips and Supports Pastor-Lay Couple

For Pastor-Lay Couple, Rev. Jeff and Jessica Taylor, The Adventurer’s Leadership Academy (ALA) has been a lifeline for their ministry leading Fresh Expressions of Church. Feeling a call to a different kind of ministry, the couple envisioned a kind of church that could take place in campgrounds or online among people who RV. Their vision gave way to RV Church.

Foundation-Supported Professor Helps Students Live Out, Share Faith in New Ways

Prof. Alma Tinoco Ruiz was first introduced to The Foundation for Evangelism as a Harry Denman Fellow. She now serves as the director of the Hispanic House of Studies, La Casa, at Duke Divinity School. Prof. Tinoco Ruiz shares how the  Foundation’s support has helped her and her students explore new ways of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Pro. Alma Tinoco Ruiz is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Homiletics and Evangelism and Director of theHispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School.

Celebrating Retiring Staff

Lynn Sisk began working with the Foundation in 2013 for a project with, then finance administrator, Willie Hubbard, and she never left. She will retire from the position of finance administrator in June. “I have been blessed to work with truly wonderful people on an important mission that does good in the world, and maybe I have helped add a bit of order to the universe with financial information that makes a difference.”

In retirement, Lynn says she’s looking forward to spending time with family and friends, lots of travel, and learning how to fly fish – “without catching innocent bushes and trees!” She quips that, “I will miss my
co-workers and the many marvelous people I’ve met along the way, but I won’t miss prepping for the audit!”

The Foundation is grateful for Lynn’s attention to detail and wonderful ability to communicate grant impact through financial detail!

The Foundation has announced that Jane Boatwright Wood, who has been serving as its President since 2012, will retire by the end of this year. Jane’s association with the Foundation dates back to2004, when she joined as an administrative consultant. From this introduction, she was privileged to engage with various leadership roles and innovative initiatives in the organization before assuming the position of President.

Jane recently reflected, “I am forever grateful God called me to the Foundation’s work. Through this unique organization, I have experienced the opportunity to be formed in and live out my faith with Wesleyan-tradition leaders from  around the globe, in the company of an exceptionally talented team of staff and committed trustees.”

During her tenure, Jane has led the Foundation’s staff with a tireless commitment to equipping disciples to share the Good News and inviting all people into a life-transforming relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Her strong leadership, depth of compassion, and disarming humor have inspired the staff and board. The Foundation expresses its heartfelt gratitude to Jane for her exceptional service and leadership.

2023-2024 Board of Trustees

Neil Alexander – Nashville, TN

Guy Ames III – Tulsa, OK (Secretary)

Ross Barrett – Bossier City, LA

Allen Black – Columbia, TN

Eston Brinkley – Wilmington, NC

Mark Brinkley – Olathe, KS (Vice-Chair)

L. Wesley de Souza**† – Atlanta, GA

Beth Ellison – Newnan, GA

Brian Hammons – Stockton, MO

Gaye Nell Heck – Atlanta, GA (Chair)

Dan Henry – Bolingbrook, IL

William Hutchinson – Reno, NV

Phil Jamieson** – Jackson, TN

Stephen Lee – Fort Lee, NJ

Harry Lyness – West Harrison, IN

Robert Miller* – Fort Smith, AR

Barbi Moore – Oklahoma City, OK

Darryl Starnes – Huntersville, NC

Debi Nixon – Leawood, KS

Michael Yang – Englewood Cliffs, NJ (Treasurer)

*Lifetime Founder     ** Ex-Officio    † Deceased