Practical Principles of Orthodox Evangelism
We have occasionally been asked to provide insight about appropriate practices and methods of Evangelism from the perspective of the Orthodox Church. Is Evangelism Orthodox? When, how and why should we go about sharing the ‘hope that is in us’ with others? What should be our proper motivation in doing so? How should we view the mandate to “go forth” from a personal and parish wide perspective?
To attempt to at least explore these questions we turned to a variety of historical OCA documents –mostly those from “Pre-conciliar papers” for past All American Councils though some information comes from non -OCA Orthodox sources – and some even from other Christian traditions. We have organized what we discovered into a set of “practical principles”.
Read more here
"Intro to Orthodox Evangelization" Video - With the help of Fr John Matusiak we have recently completed a ten minute "pilot" video, describing the fundamentals of sharing the Good News as Orthodox Christians. You may view the video via this Flash Link Future short videos dealing with the stories of converts and what they found in the Orthodox Church, tips for personal evangelization and parish activities. Stay tuned. If you have suggestions please contact the parish health facilitator.
Sharing the Hope That Is In Us
St. Marks parish in Rochester Hills MI recently completed an important to better prepare parishioners to share the Orthodox faith with others.
The effort, funded by a Diocesan Parish Health Grant, resulted in extensive materials for six weeks of classes taught to parishioners to better prepare them for potential questions from inquirers.
Course materials are available here as a Word doc or here as a .pdf.
Common Questions from Orthodox Inquirers
Parishioners need to be able to offer solid clear answers to questions asked by visitors and inquirers to your parish.
We've reproduced a compact set of questions alone and questions and answers, based on the Sharing the Hope Class above, in the areas of
How many can you answer?
Survey of Orthodox Converts
As part of the effort put forth to build the "Sharing the Hope" class mentioned in the article above a survey was undertaken of persons who converted to Orthodox Christianity.
"What did you find most attractive about Orthodox Christianity?"
(authenticity, sense of beauty and wholeness, mystical, rootedness, worship,depth)
"What elements of the Orthodox faith and your experience in the Orthodox Church were most difficult for you when you first started investigating Eastern Orthodoxy?"
(Ethnic culture, Mary, saints, complex liturgy, Icons, confession, fasting)The summary includes only the reactions of people who eventually embraced the Orthodox faith. It would also be informative to understand, at some point, the viewpoints of those who may have explored Orthodoxy --but did not complete the journey.
Results can be found here.
Version 1 of a three session Inquirers Class is available. The class is designed for a group setting to be taught by priests, deacons or lay catechists.
To download a PowerPoint version that can be edited and customized to your needs, if you have PowerPoint software, click here Once you open it save it to your hard drive.
For a .pdf version click here
Describing Parish Membership
Understanding the duties, responsibilities and privileges of affiliating with (becoming a member of) an Orthodox parish is an important concept for evangelization as well as stewardship and parish administration. Read about it here.
Mystery Worshipper Reports
By Joe Kormos, Parish Development Ministry Leader
What if a complete stranger visited your parish and offered totally honest feedback on what they experienced. Would you be interested?
Attitudes That Enable the Church to Grow -- and Attitudes That Don't
A reprint from "Church Growth and Evangelization - The Basis and the Basics"
Actions Speak Louder Than Words -- How Do I As An Orthodox Evangelize
by Fr. Eric Tosi
Evangelism pure and simple is to “preach the good news of the Gospel.” We are called to live out this good news in our daily lives.
Evangelization by Allurement
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you….” Evangelical Christians, Baptists, and others fulfill that order in ways more obvious than Orthodox people... and quite well. ...Why we don’t go and do likewise?
by Fr Vladimir Berzonsky