OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 27, 2014, 07:09:52 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Great Commission and Orthodox Evangelism  (Read 1920 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« on: October 19, 2008, 02:52:01 PM »

What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Heracleides
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Patriarch of Jerusalem
Posts: 390


Kona-Kai


« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 03:01:30 PM »

I've often thought Ancient Faith Radio should go 'public.'  Imagine the exposure of nationwide broadcasting on the public FM airwaves.

I imagine such an ambitious undertaking would have to involve SCOBA.  If they were to set up a fund dedicated solely to such an endeavor I'd donate a couple of hundred a year.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 03:14:35 PM by Heracleides » Logged

"And having found Heracleides there again, we instructed him to proclaim the Gospel of God..."  ~Acts of Barnabas
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: I'm Greek and proud of it, damn it!
Posts: 6,247



« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2008, 06:37:42 PM »

What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.

Live the faith and treat others, even our enemies, as icons of Christ. 
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
FrChris
The Rodney Dangerfield of OC.net
Site Supporter
Taxiarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 7,252


Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008, 07:11:10 PM »

The best method of Orthodox evangelism to to live an Orthodox Christian life. By living this life of love, people will be drawn to you, and to the Church.
Logged

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
Heracleides
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Patriarch of Jerusalem
Posts: 390


Kona-Kai


« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 12:52:58 PM »

From Silouan's FAQ page:


Why don’t the Orthodox do more evangelism?

What you’re probably asking is, why don’t Orthodox people do the things that Evangelicals call evangelism?

Short answer: Evangelicals tend to define “evangelism” too narrowly.

Orthodox evangelism can’t be done effectively in the ways many Evangelicals do it: Often the method doesn’t produce the outcome we’re aiming for. You don’t become an Orthodox Christian by saying a prayer, by making a "decision for Christ", or by kneeling at the altar at a revival after hearing Four Spiritual Laws. Citywide rallies or streetcorner witnessing or surprise visits to your house by trained teams don’t make disciples.

The Message is no more credible than the messenger.

Before taking it upon ourselves to be teachers of righteousness, there’s a place for seeking purification and divine illumination. That doesn’t come in a moment or without struggle. We believe that the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest – if given a chance to grow in us, will make a greater impact in the lives we touch than a recitation of the "Romans Road" or the "Four Spiritual Laws." So our approach to evangelism begins by seeking purification from the passions and cultivating the virtues that make for our own sanctification and full salvation.

That certainly doesn’t mean never speaking about our relationship with Christ. But it does mean that our preaching is much more than verbal in nature.

What exactly are we inviting people to?

Orthodox Christianity is about "bringing forth fruit worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8 ). You confess your sins to God, and a spiritual father holds you accountable, counseling you so you can not only find forgiveness for sins but begin to overcome them. You participate in the Body and Blood of Christ. You pray not just for what you want, but for the will of God to be done, according to prayers said by men who died triumphant in the Faith, centuries before you were born. You live a lifestyle that increasingly incorporates self-denial, whether in the realm of food or drink (among the easy things to deny oneself), or of your own will (among the the hardest of things to deny oneself). Living the Orthodox Christian life is serious business – a full-time uphill journey toward Christlikeness (i.e. salvation) carrying the cross the whole way.

That journey, it seems to me, also forms the heart of Orthodox evangelism. The life lived in Christ is the life that impacts others. As Saint Seraphim of Sarov said, "Acquire the Spirit of Peace, and thousands around you will be saved." Each of us as individual Orthodox Christians will have an evangelistic life to the extent that our life is transformed by Christ. The inclusion of techniques or programs from the Evangelical world won’t make Orthodoxy evangelistic. Humble people, daily dying to self, daily being converted to Christ, and daily acquiring the Holy Spirit, bear a truthful witness to Christ.

Is there a place for verbally telling the Gospel?

Of course. It wouldn’t be called the "Good News" if it were not meant to be told. And that’s what an evangelist does: Not renting a stadium for a rally, but effectively preaching Christ. Orthodox Christians recognize that not everyone – not even all leaders – are called to be evangelists. “To some, He gave evangelists…” among other gifts. To continue quoting St Paul, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? If all were one member, where would the body be?” Those of us neither called nor gifted as evangelists don’t try to fit that mould. So instead of passing tracts or asking strangers if they know Jesus, among Orthodox Christians it’s much more likely for a word to be privately shared in season, with much prayer, and in a relationship where we’ve earned trust.

Orthodox evangelism isn’t about filling pews (we don’t have pews anyway). Since we expect to spend the rest of our lives working out our own salvation, and since the message of the Cross is "Come and die," we aren’t very tempted toward slick marketing, persuasive streetcorner salesmanship, or stadium rallies. We’re more likely to be doing it this way:

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the Breaking of Bread, and in the prayers… So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42ff)


Fixed automatic smiley ("8 )" turns into Cool when space is removed) bug  -PtA

« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 01:52:37 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

"And having found Heracleides there again, we instructed him to proclaim the Gospel of God..."  ~Acts of Barnabas
zoarthegleaner
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 398



« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 08:14:58 PM »

What exactly is meant by "good ways"?
Is good being equated with the successful conversion of others?
Can good also not result in the rejection of and even violent opposition to Evangelism?

Perhaps we ought to identify the bad ways of doing Orthodox Evangelism?

The difficulty ( as I have experienced it) begins with not "walking in the Spirit." 
Logged

Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,237


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2008, 07:25:47 PM »

Quote
What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.

Here are a few ideas...

- Make it a goal to invite at least one friend or family member every week to go to Divine Liturgy with you. They don't have to go, but you have to make it clear that you'd be happy to pick them up and take them. You can either work on the same person week after week, or change person from week to week (depending on the situation).

- Let the priest know if you are available to do things in the community. For example, let your priest know if you're willing to pick someone up and drive them to Church on Sunday.

- Volunteer at your parish for various tasks. This is related to evangelism insofar as a vital and alive church is more likely to attract people than one that seems dead, where no one wants to do anything.

- Bring your kids up to be spiritually aware, to attend Sunday School, etc. They don't have to be overt little missionaries, but it'd be good if they can explain what exactly they are (not Orthodox Jewish, for example) if and when the subject comes up.

- "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Pet. 3:15
Logged

"I haven't done anything wrong, and I won't be hounded by you and your soulless minions of orthodoxy! I haven't broken any laws... except perhaps the laws of nature." - Dr. Elias Giger
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2008, 07:31:10 PM »

Thanks to all for your thoughts, and to you specially Asteriktos, for this great list of very concrete examples! I see many of these things occuring on a regular basis at my parish, which is very, very heartening.
Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2008, 11:58:45 AM »

What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.

I think radio is one of the BEST tools that we Orthodox almost never use. My parish has about half a dozen or more converts because a previous priest had a one hour radio program on a local Christian station once a week on Saturdays. (AM station) We also had many more come to bible studies and classes he taught on church history. Radio is a great Evangelical tool, and I think is something most parishes could put into practical use in one form or another, yet...most parishes simply don't do that. While I agree with much of what the little Q&A thing says above, I think we can sometimes take the stance against Protestant style Evangelism a little too far and tend to put too much faith in the idea that if we just "live our faith" people will magically find the Church. 

The reality is sometimes we can get so busy "living Orthodoxy" that we kind of forget to evangelize and then we have a danger of becoming a closed off community (for good reasons, living Orthodoxy is hard, as Christ said it would be, so we do have to focus on our walk with Christ). However ethnic parishes have been doing the "just live Orthodoxy" thing for 80 years in this country (the U.S.) and it doesn't seem to have exposed Orthodoxy to the larger Christian community in this country like some of these articles you see on the internent seem to suggest will happen.

Did St. Herman and St. Innocent just "live Orthodoxy" or did they do more? They of course did LIVE the faith, but they also did more....which in my mind, is part of living the faith as well. (depending on one's calling) Of course we don't want to do some of the more uncomfortable things like preaching on street corners, or passing out tracts or bible thumping, but I think every city with an Orthodox Church should have at least one radio program on a local Christian station. If you go AM instead of FM, it really doesn't cost that much...but if you can afford to go FM, even better. It doesn't even have to be the priest, but maybe a knowledgable laymen, (preferably someone who went to seminary) or a deacon, or some one like that.

We definitely need to guard against the trappings of Protestant and even many Catholic programs which get into apologetics, and bible/catechism thumping like some of the programs on EWTN radio (not bashing EWTN, Fr. Benedict Groeschel is someone I highly admire and learn much from every time I listen to him)...but some of these guys, especially apologists just rub me the wrong way, because they do apologetics just like John Hagee and some Evangelicals do, just from a Catholic perspective.  So there are pitfalls but ancient faith radio is a good template IMO, and they rarely fall into those trappings, though I haven't listened to them extensively.

Anyways, radio is something under used, but can be used so effectively. I also think the internet is a great tool, that many parishes do not utilize effectively or at all. The Coptic Church seems to know what they're doing in the internet field....I only see a fraction of what the Copts use in the other Orthodox Churches in the U.S.

Both radio and internet can be used effectively, and well, and at little or even no cost, so that's why I brought those things up.

As Asteriktos said, simply inviting someone to Church or bible study (if your church has one) is also a proactive way of making Orthodoxy known. And as always, simply trying to live for Christ will always be the best method, I just don't think that necessarily excludes something more active like radio or internet. Even a simple half hour a week lesson/sermon posted on the internet or broadcast on the radio would really be beneficial I think. Nothing fancy, but just being "out there" is what's important.

These are just my opinions, and of course I've been terribly wrong before, so could be so again.

 


Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2008, 12:55:05 PM »

Quote
What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.

Here are a few ideas...

- Make it a goal to invite at least one friend or family member every week to go to Divine Liturgy with you. They don't have to go, but you have to make it clear that you'd be happy to pick them up and take them. You can either work on the same person week after week, or change person from week to week (depending on the situation).

- Let the priest know if you are available to do things in the community. For example, let your priest know if you're willing to pick someone up and drive them to Church on Sunday.

- Volunteer at your parish for various tasks. This is related to evangelism insofar as a vital and alive church is more likely to attract people than one that seems dead, where no one wants to do anything.

- Bring your kids up to be spiritually aware, to attend Sunday School, etc. They don't have to be overt little missionaries, but it'd be good if they can explain what exactly they are (not Orthodox Jewish, for example) if and when the subject comes up.

- "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Pet. 3:15

I second Rosehip's reply - thank you so much for these very practical hints, Asteriktos.

I wish I could do more of this. Unfortunately, I am terribly lazy and also very inept in making my wife believe that I really should do it. A slightest hint on my part that I perhaps should volunteer in something for the parish, etc., causes an angry reaction from her. So far, the ONLY part of the Great Commission that I am occasionally doing is the last of your quotes - I am trying to give answers to various people, for all its worth. That's all...
Logged

Love never fails.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,953


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2008, 01:55:51 PM »

Did St. Herman and St. Innocent just "live Orthodoxy" or did they do more? They of course did LIVE the faith, but they also did more....
What did they DO, though?  Maybe for the sake of this discussion it would be good to describe what they did to evangelize the locals rather than just say they "did more".
Logged
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2008, 03:21:12 PM »

Did St. Herman and St. Innocent just "live Orthodoxy" or did they do more? They of course did LIVE the faith, but they also did more....
What did they DO, though?  Maybe for the sake of this discussion it would be good to describe what they did to evangelize the locals rather than just say they "did more".

Well it was more of a rhetorical question meant to ponder, myself included.  I'm actually only now beginning to read about them more in depth and about their efforts in Alaska, and was highly inspired by their faith and action years ago, but now am beginning to read a little more.  I'm certainly however, not qualified to expound upon what they did as I'm still learning myself. Most of their biographies that I read in the past aren't that in depth and don't say all that much....but as I said, I'm reading more as time goes on. Maybe someone more qualifed and studied on these two saints can pitch, and give specific examples. I suppose I should have just kept my mouth shut since I cannot give any practical advice or give specific examples.....from now on, I'll heed my own advice which I often ignore.

I know they interacted with the Natives, baptized their customs, translated the Scriptures, they held Liturgies for all to come and see, they prayed, and had a good relationship (or tried to) with non-Christians....and were "out and about" as it were. Visibility is what I'm thinking I guess. I suppose if they lived in our times they might do things a little differently, who knows. But they did something beyond what happens in many Orthodox parishes, which is to say, not much in this area, or anything at all. I gave my ideas about radio and internet, and have not much more to offer, except a couple exerts from a biography on wikipedia of St. herman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_of_Alaska#Biography


Father Herman felt it his duty to protect the Aleuts from exploitation. He defended them against the often cruel treatment of those who controlled the colony. His concern for their needs have been documented, expressed in letters sent to the former administrator of the colony, Simeon Ivanovich Yanovsky. Father Herman also would intercede before the governors on behalf of the oppressed. He helped those in need in whatever way he found possible.



And:


His love for the people of Alaska was sincere and he found happiness in being around the children. An epidemic plagued Alaskans when an American ship made land at Kodiak. Fr. Herman remained with the ill and dying, offering them constant comfort and ceaseless prayer. It is said that his love was so genuine that he could see into the hearts of his spiritual children and help them.


And St. Innocent translated the Scriptures and the Church's services and prayers into the local languages of the people that he served. To follow in the spirit of this, I don't think it's just about the language, which is a major thing, but both saints translated Orthodoxy to the Native cultures as well. And I think a radio program fits very well into that, because it's a vehicle for Christian growth in the States, and so we should use that vehicle. (I think a TV program would be great too, but not sure how it could get airtime nationally, I wonder if EWTN would be gracious enough to allow it? Wink) Might have better luck on TBN...Smiley


Also St. Innocent:


In 1829 he journeyed to the Bering Sea coast of the Alaskan mainland and preached to the people there
.

So preaching isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's done according to Orthodox tradition.

as well as,


He spent the next nine years in the administration of his diocese as well as on several long missionary journeys to its remote areas.



As metropolitan, he undertook revisions of many church texts that contained errors, raised funds to improve the living conditions of impoverished priests and established a retirement home for clergy.


All quotes taken from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocent_of_Alaska#Biography


There are some not so detailed examples....sorry I can't be more specific, I'm just not able, through my own faults and short comings.

Peace...






Logged
Rosehip
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 2,760



« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2008, 04:35:18 PM »

Quote


Also St. Innocent:


In 1829 he journeyed to the Bering Sea coast of the Alaskan mainland and preached to the people there
.

So preaching isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's done according to Orthodox tradition.


I love all your thoughts, but I'm curious about this comment regarding preaching. In the NT church it seemed preaching played a key role in the services. When did it fade out of Orthodox practice?  Is this a good thing? Could we use more,deeper and longer sermons? The church I used to belong to had a devotional, and at least two sermons, interspersed with congregational singing and prayers.

Logged

+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
John of the North
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christianity
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Edmonton and the West
Posts: 3,533


Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2008, 04:40:30 PM »

'The man who speaks for God's sake does well; but he who is silent for God's sake also does well.' - Abba Poemen
Logged

"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
jnorm888
Jnorm
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,516


Icon and Cross (international space station)


WWW
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2008, 04:48:30 PM »

What are some good ways of Orthodox evangelism?  I'd love to hear different perspectives. Thanks.

Good question.

I think Father Gregory had a wonderful Idea when he posted something about "spiritual formation" on his blog.

http://www.palamas.info/2008/08/theology-isnt-enough-we-need-spiritual.html

This is how he was attracted to Orthodoxy, but not everyone is the same. But I do like his idea. Infact, I like it alot.

I didn't read everything he posted about the topic, but it seems to be a type of "lifestyle". In using a "protestant" term. I would say it has some aspects of what I once knew as "discipleship". But instead of "one on one training", it seems to be a type of "corporate training".


I could be wrong, but this looks like a good form of "Evangelism". For not only can this be used to draw people into the Church, but it can also help keep people in as well.



It kills two birds with one stone!!! I like it. I like it alot.

So yeah, I would say both "Theology & spiritual formation".






JNORM888
« Last Edit: November 07, 2008, 04:55:16 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2008, 05:25:00 PM »


but I'm curious about this comment regarding preaching. In the NT church it seemed preaching played a key role in the services. When did it fade out of Orthodox practice?  Is this a good thing? Could we use more,deeper and longer sermons?

Well, if you mean within the services themselves, I don't really see that in the New Testament. The early church worshipped Liturgically, just like 1st century Jews did. (in the beginning they were first century Jews) I'll leave that to others who can help you with that issue. I have done extensive reading on the issue in the past, but I've forgotten much of it. I have pretty much the opposite of a photographic memory, so...Smiley

Now, if you mean preaching in general played a big role, then I'd agree, but I don't see it taking place within the services per se. There was a good beginners book on the topic about how our services evolved from the Synagogue services of the 1st century that might be of some help, but I cannot remember the name. (it was a small book, with a brown cover available at Light N Life about 5 years ago)

However I admit I don't really know enough to answer your questions with any accuracy. Speaking just generally, my impression is that preaching became obscured only out of historical circumstances and historical events. I've heard that at certain times in Church history it was illegal for priests to give a homily after the Gospel reading in the Liturgy. I'm not exactly sure how accurate that is, but someone told me that. (I thought they said under Ottoman rule this was the case for some time, but again, it may not be true) Many of our saints were dynamic "preachers", St. John Chrysostom for example, who I think would preach for LONG periods of time....but many well after his time, and many modern day saints and non saints and priests are as well.


Quote
The church I used to belong to had a devotional, and at least two sermons, interspersed with congregational singing and prayers.

As the saying goes, above all Orthodoxy is the worshipping Church. We come to Liturgy to worship God, not to listen to sermons which really aren't the same thing. However I do think sermons and instruction has it's place, as we all do. Which is why Ancient faith radio, and the abundance of books and CD's and lectures is growing. But there is some resistance of seeming "too Protestant" in my opinion, but considering how modernism has over taken the Western Churches, as well as trying to systematize every single thing into a book, I too hold great reservation, but I do think "evangelization" can be done the Orthodox way, orderly, properly, traditionally, and pointing people to the Liturgy, and ultimately to Christ.  And in a way, the Liturgy really is the most effective teaching tool we have. Our Liturgical services are our Catechism, and so there is something to be said for listening and participating in that first and foremost. Anyways, this probably isn't much help...I'll let other more learned, and more intelligent people reply now. Smiley



'The man who speaks for God's sake does well; but he who is silent for God's sake also does well.' - Abba Poemen


I love this quote, which is why I reposted it from above! Smiley It makes a great point, which is now why I'll keep silent. Wink

Logged
zoarthegleaner
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: ROCOR
Posts: 398



« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2008, 07:48:03 PM »

How to do one on one evangelism?  John 3:1-21 
Logged

Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
Tags: Evangelism 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.117 seconds with 44 queries.