This is a fascinating discussion about evangelism in Sydney – in response to this interview I gave to the Sydney Anglican magazine. This is from an excellent podcast called The Pastors Heart. hosted by Dominic Steele. I found it very encouraging to hear pastors and church leaders take seriously this issue. I contrast these Sydney Anglican brothers with what I hear from Anglicans here (Rico Tice resigning from the Archbishops commission on evangelism, Kelvin Holdsworth complaining about the roads being closed for a cycle race in Glasgow, the Leeds diocese facing bankruptcy, or the endless attempts to impose LGBT ideology upon the church), and I am heartened by what I hear. (at a personal level it was good to have people take one seriously and not just shrug their shoulders or shake their heads!).
Those of us who are not Sydney Anglicans (or even Australians!) could learn a great deal from this conversation – I loved the line “You can’t convert the public square, you can only see people converted”.
The Lord has really blessed the Sydney Anglicans and they do have a much wider influence – they have rich resources in terms of funding, Moore College and people. I
was very impressed by Phil Wheeler the leader of the Evangelism and New Churches group of the Sydney diocese. It was a privilege to get to know Phil a little whilst on sabbatical…he is a Godly and intelligent man, with great experience and insight. From what I know the ENC is doing a good work….but there is an enormous danger that we (and I absolutely include myself in this) spend too much time pontificating, strategising and talking about evangelism, rather than simply doing it.
Evangelism is something you learn by being and doing. Its a bit like riding a bike. You can study the bike, you can service the bike and you can look at the route maps and get all the equipment….but none of that is any use until you get on the bike and do it! You may wobble and fall off – but you learn quickly!
There is a lot more I would like to think about…especially how we equip, train and motivate both individuals and local churches. We are struggling with this in Scotland. I am sure that things like our own Mission board in the Free Church, or the rejuvenated FIEC in the UK, or the ENC of the Sydney Anglicans (along with Geneva Church Planting and Reach Australia and City Bible Forum) have a part to play in their respective countries. But all of us are faced with this issue – how do we bring the good news of Jesus into an apathetic and antagonistic secular society, when the churches seem so weak, confused and self-centred. I think about this almost every day…..I have just been reading an excellent book about the revival in St Peters in McCheyne’s day and it makes me long for more. To proclaim Christ and see people coming to know the Lord is my dream….