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Evangelization and Spreading the Gospel -- Resources

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

Evangelization Tools
"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 Midwest 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: Liturgy, Sacraments, Theotokos, Icons, Saints, Tradition

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.

Questions included:

"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.
 
Inquirers Class
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

Communicating Our Faith
At the 2014 Small Parish Forum, one of the presentations dealt with "Communicating Our Faith". We asked Fr Stephen Frase to summarize his talk for us. Go here.

Empty Guest Book
In this era of rampant personal anonymity parishes often say that while they have a guest book few people sign it.  To help convince visitors to actually sign your guest book one approach you could consider is... see full article here.
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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.
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There is an unfortunate tendency of Orthodox parishes existing in a place without being part of that place. In a discussion about reaching out to contribute to local needs nobody really knew what was needed because "we sort of helicopter in on weekends". read more

Which Parish Would You Choose?
We recently heard from an Orthodox couple who, due to job transfer, moved to a new town in a different state. This wasn't a first move. Not timid, the couple is familiar with a panorama of parish experiences. Read more
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How Visitors Define Friendliness
How many talked to us. Read more
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