Become a part of a growing movement of evangelism in Australian churches
Over the last couple of decades the Australian church has increased its focus on evangelism. Ambassadors for Christ International—Australia (AFCI) has been involved as the church has worked to connect with the community and to put on evangelistic events. Still, churches have not seen large numbers of people turning to Christ. Although many churches are organising such evangelistic events, the reality is that most people will never attend these events without a meaningful relationship with a witnessing Christian. Something has to be done differently if we are to reach our nation for Christ!
What must change is that we must begin developing believers into effective witnesses in their daily lives and relationships.
Jesus knew this to be true. While he ministered to the lost, Jesus’ main focus was on developing his disciples to be fishers of men. In his High Priestly Prayer for the disciples during the Last Supper, Jesus prayed to the Father,
“I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which you have given me to do” (John 17:4).
Although Jesus had not yet gone to the cross, he knew he had finished one of the great missions the Father had given him—developing the disciples as fishers of men and builders of his movement on earth. Likewise, the Apostle Paul’s challenges about evangelistic prayer always focus on praying for believers in their witness, rather than praying for the lost themselves. In our current context church leaders are beginning to recognise that we have been focusing on the wrong target by concentrating our efforts on lost people.
The most effective place for the church to focus on, for evangelism, is believers—helping them to begin living as witnesses for Christ among their daily relationships. There is currently a resurgence of pointing to Jesus as our model for missional living and the need to rethink how the church does evangelism. While the church is beginning to recognise this needed change, there is still not a clear way forward for existing churches.
What is needed is a framework for how to make this shift, as a congregation, to living as witnesses in our daily encounters with people.
What can we do for our nation?
Ambassadors for Christ International is uniquely positioned to respond to this question. Since 1948 AFCI has been at the forefront of evangelism in Australia. In recent years AFCI has developed the LifeWorks tool of evangelism, which has led thousands of Australians to faith in Christ. In addition AFCI has run annual Effective Evangelism Seminars for hundreds of pastors. AFCI has also partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to train believers in developing redemptive relationships prior to Will Graham’s visits.
So, what can we do for our nation? When we at AFCI asked God this question, he began to change our thinking about evangelism and showed us that the most effective thing we can do is to help churches move from event-driven, leader-owned evangelism to congregations with a culture of living as witnesses in their daily lives. People need to know how to be witnesses in the normal relationships of their lives. After several years of hard work, EvangelismSHIFT was ready. Now EvangelismSHIFT is multiplying in churches across our nation and beyond. Believers are being activated as witnesses and their friends are turning to Christ.
EvangelismSHIFT provides the framework churches need to develop their congregations for witness. We have a vision to catalyse a movement of spiritually fruitful Australian churches with a culture of living as witnesses, calling people to respond to the gospel of Christ.
We want people to go beyond simply inviting others to evangelistic events to actually living a witnessing lifestyle. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist, but all believers’ walk with God should naturally flow through their relationships.
What is EvangelismSHIFT?
EvangelismSHIFT is a two-year journey to transform your church into a witnessing community
In 2011, a study was done of 200 churches that were about to embark on one form of evangelism training or another. Entire congregations were surveyed before, after, and six months after the training to determine their levels of evangelistic involvement. When we arrived at the conclusion of the study we were amazed at the result. No matter which form of evangelism training was done, within six months people were back to their pre-training levels of evangelism.
Since launching EvangelismSHIFT in 2016 we are shattering the results of that study in terms of long-term life change as believers become witnesses!
Our vision in EvangelismSHIFT is a movement of churches across Australia and beyond, whose people have a culture of living as witnesses in their everyday encounters, calling others to respond to Christ.
When your church embarks on the EvangelismSHIFT journey, two Facilitators will walk through that journey with you. All of our Facilitators are either members of our team who created EvangelismSHIFT or pastors of churches that have been deeply impacted by EvangelismSHIFT.
Changing a church’s culture, or a person’s culture, can’t be accomplished in a weekend seminar. That’s why EvangelismSHIFT is a two-year journey.
We work with your wider leadership community (pastors, elders, ministry leaders, small group leaders and all of these people’s spouses) to help them learn to live as effective witnesses in their everyday encounters and relationships:
- Principles and how-to from scripture are taught in six seminars (one every two months).
- The new way of approaching life and relationships in built through the Live As A Witness journal (a full year soaking in scriptures that lead us into the witnessing lifestyle).
- The model for what this looks like in everyday life lived in the secular world comes from the Ambushed by Godbook by Kelly Talamo, where each chapter tells the story of an encounter or relationship approached as a witness and what God did as a result.
- Life change is cemented through Accountability Partnerships formed between fellow participants.
The second year has two separate emphases:
- We resource and guide your leaders from Year 1 to pass on the witnessing lifestyle to the congregation.
- We take your core leadership (pastors and elders) through the SHIFTm2M study of Jesus’ approach to develop people all the way from unconnected lost people to being multiplying fishers of men. We help you design your own disciplemaking pathway that fits your church.
It is our goal that after your two-year EvangelismSHIFT journey there will be two of your leaders who will join our growing fellowship of Facilitators and say, “While we implement this disciplemaking pathway, we are willing to come with you once every two months to take another church on this same journey.” These two leaders will each go with one of their Facilitators to a different church, growing the movement!
This final component of EvangelismSHIFT takes it from an effective ministry in a few churches to a true spiritual movement of evangelism in churches across Australia!