Archbishops’ College of Evangelists relaunched for a new century
Twenty years after it was first formed, the Archbishops’ College of Evangelists has been relaunched to support Church of England’s ambition of training 1,000 new evangelists to share the good news of Jesus Christ across all its traditions.
Formed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1999 to recognize and affirm evangelists, the College comprises members (both clergy and non-ordained) who are dedicated to help the Church regain confidence in sharing the Gospel, in practical and fruitful ways.
They signed up to the College’s new priorities and were commissioned in a service in the Chapel at Lambeth Palace at a re-launch event yesterday (23 October 2019). The event also featured a video message to new College members from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which included:
“What you are doing is hugely important for two reasons; your commissioning as evangelists yours is one of the key ministries that is listed in Ephesians, and because there are not enough labourers in the harvest field, and we are called to pray for labourers.
“What I hope and pray for you, and am grateful to you for, is that you not only do the work of an evangelist but you liberate other evangelists, lay and ordained.
“I am very grateful to Bishop Martyn for taking this on. I have no illusions about the size of the mountains we have to climb. I thank you and pray for you and bless you.”
Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Chairs the College and said:
“I am convinced that God has a clear and ongoing purpose for the College and that we are part of a wider awakening of evangelism that the Holy Spirit is inspiring across all traditions of the Church at this time.
“Evangelists have a key role in equipping the whole church to witness to the love of God. And the opportunity to proclaim the good news of Christ is also great in a society where many have not consciously rejected it, and where there is significant openness to spiritual things.
“The College will work to support the wider Church of England in its recent commitment to identify and train 1,000 evangelists in local churches across the country in the coming years.”
Dave Male, Director of Evangelism Discipleship for the Church of England, said:
“The relaunch of the College is extremely welcome; it helps to join up with the Church of England’s strategy on evangelism and discipleship. It’s great we are all going to be working together to respond to what God is calling us to do.”
Evangelist J John is one of the members of the College and told his fellow College via video message:
“We certainly do need evangelists. An evangelist is a specialist in equipping the Church to evangelise and proclaiming the good news to introduce others to Jesus. There are 67m people that live in the UK and we have 1.1m members in the Church of England. In Luke 10, Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more labourers. That’s my prayer. The College of Evangelists is an opportunity for us to be part of a network, a fellowship where we can share together, encourage each other, inspire each other and learn from each other… and see how we can work together to equip the Church and extend the Kingdom.
The Council of the College has agreed three new priorities:
1. To do the work of an evangelist
· A key role for members of the College is to prioritise evangelistic ministry and call others to do the same.
· The College will be more active in training and equipping and will soon launch a website with resources.
2. To identify, train and support those who are called and gifted by God to be evangelists
· Members will discern vocations to be evangelists in others, train and encourage them.
· The College will run roadshows around the country in 2020 to encourage and identify new evangelists and develop local networks.
3. To train other baptised Christians in the work of witness and ‘everyday faith’ conversations
· The College will develop training resources which will train College members to equip others
Bishop Martyn said:
“Our hope is to help increase the confidence of churches and individual Christians in having everyday faith conversations; enabling people to talk to their neighbour, their work colleague, whoever they meet, and simply share something of what their faith means to them and the work that Jesus Christ has done in their life. My prayer is that every baptised Christian will grow in their confidence to have everyday faith conversations.”
Earlier this year, Bishop Martyn published a book about the need for a new approach to the role of evangelists in order to train a new generation.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have both supported the book in which 13 authors each contribute a chapter. It sets out the need for evangelists to be identified, trained and supported in every churchmanship tradition from Anglo Catholic to evangelical. You can read more about it by clicking here.