For 22 years now, Leadership Institute at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has drawn ministry leaders and pastors from around the nation, and even globally. This year was no different, however the event LOOKED very different. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually. Despite having to move online, the conference drew over 3,000 participants, a record in its 22 year history.

Rev. Dr. Alma Tinoco Ruiz
Duke Divinity School

The Foundation for Evangelism was a sponsor at this year’s event, and provided a grant for a breakout session presented by Denman Fellow, Rev. Dr. Alma Tinoco Ruiz. The breakout session titled “Being Present: Evangelism and Social Trauma” urged attendees to provide a Spirit-led and compassionate presence during this time of communal trauma, drawing on the sermons of Saint Oscar Romero who served as Archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980) and ministered to the marginalized and oppressed people of El Salvador.

Rev. Dr. Ruiz is the Lecturer in Homiletics and Evangelism, and Director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. Her presentation was developed with collaboration from Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner (the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies and Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement at Duke Divinity School), who served as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Duke Divinity from 2001-2015.

Over 692 people have viewed the session so far, and participants had this to say:

Amen! Thank you Pastor Alma. That was very helpful. I like how you have lifted people like Wesley in England and Romero in El Salvador.

-Harun Gatobu

Thank you! This was very helpful, and inspired me to seek a way to make “safe space” for lament in my context.

– Beth Wilterdink

In addition to the breakout session sponsored by The Foundation for Evangelism, Rev. Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Jr., the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Wesley Theological Seminary, presented a breakout session entitled “Save Our Church” based on his new book The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

The Foundation, through grants like Rev. Dr. Ruiz’s breakout session at Leadership Institute 2020, can be a Catalyst to equip disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

For those who registered for Leadership Institute 2020, these sessions and all others are available online through the L.I. Whova app for a full year. If you were not able to register, you can still access the recordings on-demand by registering at https://li.cor.org/.

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.