Every two years, the Conference Evangelism Team offers a Clinic on Evangelism to provide an opportunity for laity and clergy to learn practical ways to share their faith with others. The 2015 clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church, with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton and Garry Poole as speakers.
Rev. John Emigh of the Conference Evangelism Team, recently provided answers to some frequently asked questions about the event.
Do you have a special emphasis this year?
Our emphasis is on small group evangelism. Our hope is to empower, equip, and inspire not only pastors, but especially lay people, to do evangelism in their own church, among their own friends, in their own small groups.
Why were Bishop Bickerton and Garry Poole selected as the speakers?
We all know that Bishop Bickerton is a great speaker and has a heart for the lost, the lonely and the left out --those who Jesus would especially seek out for the Good News of the Kingdom.
Garry Poole was the key evangelism leader for Willow Creek Community Church for 18 years. He is known as the innovator of Spiritual Discovery Groups and is the author of the award-winning Seeker Small Groups, which provides a detailed blueprint for facilitating group discussions that help spiritually curious people investigate the Christian faith. He also wrote The Complete Book of Questions, and numerous group study guides including the Tough Questions study guide series (with Judson Poling), and Experiencing the Passion of Jesus (with Lee Strobel), which won the Christian Book of the Year award.
Garry is a colleague of Mark Mittelberg, who was our speaker at the Conference on Evangelism last year, and Lee Strobel, who is also from Willow Creek. Garry recently completed four study guides with Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ, The Case for a Creator, The Case for Faith, and The Case for Grace) and one with Charles Colson (The Faith). Currently, Garry is a training facilitator and strategic planning consultant for churches and organizations aroudn the world. He has offices in Chicago and Denver.
Is there and advantage to registering for this clinic early? Yes! We have reserved enough books to give the first 100 people who register two free books from Garry Poole. (Rev. Chris Kindle and Discipleship actually paid for this. That is our conference dollars being put to good work for evangelism. Thanks Chris!)
How are registrations going? We organized the event on a 100 person framework, so that was our goal. We have about 60 people registered and we are still almost a month out. We encourage our clergy to invite lay people from their church --someone such as their lay leader, adult Sunday School teachers, or evangelism chair to come with them.
Are there continuing education units available for clergy? Yes, we are able to offer .5 CEU’s for attending this event.
Since this clinic is focused on small group relational evangelism, are there additional resources or help available for churches who want to address evangelism in a larger group or worship setting? For churches that could take advantage of a large group or long-term evangelism effort, we as a Conference have several General Evangelists. Rev. John Zimmerman, who represents My Hope in this area, works with churches through his About Face Church Outreach Consultants on church-wide evangelism. Rev. Christine Rogan and Luella Krieger are also general evangelists.
Will Garry Poole also be doing apologetic type material? No, Garry is more into relationship and relational evangelism and will not address apologetics directly.
If people were interested in apologetics, who could they see for that? Rev. Dr. Allyn Ricketts, who retired from our conference just last year, has a Ph.D. in apologetics and is currently doing seminars for interested churches. He will come either on a free will offering basis or more of a set-fee, depending upon the need of the church.
Any other details on the clinic? The cost for the clinic is $30, including lunch. The doors open at 9:00 for check-in/registration. Pre-seminar worship starts at 9:30 a.m., with the first speaker beginning at 10 a.m. The event ends at 3pm.
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