Author Topic: Advice on Spreading the Gospel  (Read 988 times)

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Offline Aidan

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Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« on: September 23, 2011, 01:19:35 PM »
You may think it strange for me to ask this question in the Oriental Orthodox forum. If you do I'll explain later.

I have recently bought a camper van. My wife and I intend to travel around Britain visiting pilgrimage sites as well as places of interest.

Although I am a lot older than most on the forum, I believe I need to do what I can to spread the gospel rather than just spend the rest of my days in pointless pleasures.

All I can think of is to print a sheet with some Orthodox prayers, an icon and an explanation of Orthodoxy and hand it out to people I meet.

Please can you add some of your own suggestions.

Thanks

Offline FrChris

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 01:32:45 PM »
Well, it's up to you, but the best way I know of spreading the Gospel is to demonstrate the Gospel as much as possible in our actions. Let people know that you care for them and love them, even though they probably are strangers.

It can be argued that you handing them icons and prayers is an expression of this love, and those arguing such would be correct. However, my experience has been that a kind word given in a loving tone of voice and demonstrating concern without prying into anyone's business shows that you are concerned about this other person. People respond to this, since they are perceiving that you are part of what they are searching for and are what we were made to be: to live out our lives participating in the Divine Life here on earth.

Don't take me wrong; your idea may work because that may be what you have been called to do. However, I know what works through me, and I have long said that we will never argue anyone into our churches, we can only love them into our churches.

May theh Lord bless your efforts, whichever path you take.

PS. Send pictures of your travels!  :)
"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 02:57:17 PM »
maybe try to organize with local parishes throughout your journey? Call the priests and tell them your intentions, maybe he will provide you with help/materials to distribute.

Offline cs

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 11:00:21 AM »
You may think it strange for me to ask this question in the Oriental Orthodox forum. If you do I'll explain later.

I have recently bought a camper van. My wife and I intend to travel around Britain visiting pilgrimage sites as well as places of interest.

Although I am a lot older than most on the forum, I believe I need to do what I can to spread the gospel rather than just spend the rest of my days in pointless pleasures.

All I can think of is to print a sheet with some Orthodox prayers, an icon and an explanation of Orthodoxy and hand it out to people I meet.

Please can you add some of your own suggestions.

Thanks

Dear Aidan, I deeply admire your commitment and desire to share God's love with others.  What I have been taught exactly matches what FrChris said.  My priest has always taught that those who are won to Christ are not won over by arguing, but by love.  Of course, there is plenty of missionary activity going on as well.  Personally, I loved reading, "Come Across and Help Us", by HG Bishop Antonios Markos, which outlines his experience preaching in Africa.  You can find them on his website: http://www.copticafrica.org/newsorthomeet.htm.  To me, it was like reading a continuation of Acts :).
God bless.

Offline Aidan

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 11:43:58 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. I understand about 'letting my light shine before men'. However people like to have things like pictures and prayers. They may never have seen the latter but be happy to receive if not forced on them.

I was thinking of a (laminated) sheet with some of the prayers we say daily, an icon and a paragraph about the Orthodox faith.

I have noticed that the Copts seem most serious about mission so that's why I came to this forum.

Please keep coming with ideas. I sometimes fear that I am the man with one talent.

Offline biro

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 11:49:06 AM »
I think you have a good idea.  :angel:

Offline Hiwot

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 12:09:20 PM »
You may think it strange for me to ask this question in the Oriental Orthodox forum. If you do I'll explain later.

I have recently bought a camper van. My wife and I intend to travel around Britain visiting pilgrimage sites as well as places of interest.

Although I am a lot older than most on the forum, I believe I need to do what I can to spread the gospel rather than just spend the rest of my days in pointless pleasures.

All I can think of is to print a sheet with some Orthodox prayers, an icon and an explanation of Orthodoxy and hand it out to people I meet.

Please can you add some of your own suggestions.

Thanks


May God give you long and healthy life dear so you may serve Him. Selam to you Aidian, may the Lord bless your intention and make them fruitful in Him. I agree with the Fr Chris too in that Love wins many. this demonstration of love can take many forms but its always best to remember that we give more when we give of ourselves. with the way we greet people, with the way we listen to them with the tone of our voice, with our genuine smile, with our inherent respect for them, with out willingness to help with what we can etc... these things stay with people longer, touch deeper and help manifest the Savoir's compassion and love that so transforms lives. I am sure you know all these, so in addition to these what you said about giving Orthodox prayers, Icons , and explanation of Orthodoxy are great, also you might want to contact those Orthodox parishes nearby  where you might be going and ask them in what way you can lend a hand if you can, there are a lot of us who can use the loving example of our brothers to strengthen and encourage us in living out our faith. God bless you and please remember me in your prayers.



Dear Aidan, I deeply admire your commitment and desire to share God's love with others.  What I have been taught exactly matches what FrChris said.  My priest has always taught that those who are won to Christ are not won over by arguing, but by love.  Of course, there is plenty of missionary activity going on as well.  Personally, I loved reading, "Come Across and Help Us", by HG Bishop Antonios Markos, which outlines his experience preaching in Africa.  You can find them on his website: http://www.copticafrica.org/newsorthomeet.htm.  To me, it was like reading a continuation of Acts :).
God bless.

Selam CS, I am so glad you mentioned  HG Bishop Antonios Markos, in South Africa the Ethiopian community did not have thier own church building so  when they did find one that was a synaguge it was very expensive so HG went and talked to the Jewish community that was selling it using most wise words to get them to lower the price considerably down the Jewish community amazed at what he was saying agreed to sell it with a very low price than the original asking price. after that there was a task of building sanctuary and the altar etc.. and I never forget my best friend who is a priest now, but he was a decon  there then, saying "Lord Have Mercy! Hiwot the blessed father came with hammers and nails himself and got work!" it was a very moving event for most that saw it. this gentle loving Bishop  has always been with the Ethiopian community, encouraging them and helping out with everything he could. what he has done for them and the manner of which he did it, it was very moving and a lasting lesson of decipleship for those who saw it and for those of us who heard of it.

Selam
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.

Offline cs

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 02:37:50 PM »
Hiwot, it is always great to read your posts :).  Thank you for sharing that beautiful story - so uplifting.  I was so moved when I read his story - my little brother saw me reading HG's book, and he picked it up, too -- he told me the next day that he couldn't sleep until he finished it :).  He is such a loving person who's ministry continued calmly and joyfully despite many hardships (I couldn't believe how many times people tried to kill him!)... Thanks again, Hiwot:).

God bless.

Online Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 04:28:43 PM »
 “Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who is in­different to the salvation of others. Indeed I won­der if such a person can be a true Christian. To become a disciple of Christ is to obey his law of love; and obedience to the law brings joy beyond measure and description. Love means to want the best for others, sharing with them the joy of love. So the Christian feels compelled to speak to others about the law of love, and the joy of obeying this law. Of course, many people are shy about speaking to others; in their case actions motivated by love will be a most eloquent testimony. But those who are not shy will surely want to express their joy at every opportunity. There is no need to use fine words or elegant phrases; even the most uneducated people can convey joyful love by the spirit which accompanies their words. Even slaves have been known to convert their masters and mistresses by the sincerity of their speech.” On Living Simply by St. John Chrysostom


http://goodguyswearblack.org/2011/09/20/why-personal-evangelism-is-not-orthodox/

Offline Aidan

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2011, 03:32:53 PM »
I was telling someone at my church about the idea of offering a copy of Orthodox prayers. I would like to present his idea and see how it might be refined.

My friend suggested business cards with the Jesus prayer printed on them to be given out to beggars in the first instance then to anybody who might enquire.

Can anyone suggest a refinement?

In Christ

Aidan

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2011, 03:41:38 PM »
I was telling someone at my church about the idea of offering a copy of Orthodox prayers. I would like to present his idea and see how it might be refined.

My friend suggested business cards with the Jesus prayer printed on them to be given out to beggars in the first instance then to anybody who might enquire.

Can anyone suggest a refinement?

In Christ

Aidan

Yeah, give them a $20 with the card.

Srsly?

Here's what I do.

I give them money or a ride or eat with them or let them crash at my place or give them my contact info or talk with them or ignore them or . . .

Giving them a card with the Jesus Prayer on it with a have a nice day, I fear would get me further into hell than I already am.

Really.

But ignore me, because my posts are "mean".
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Offline Aidan

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 03:45:58 PM »
Point taken orthonorm

Offline Father Peter

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 04:11:56 PM »
Aidan, I think it is wonderful that you would want to visit pilgrim sites and offer the Gospel.

It would be very good indeed if you visited these ancient places and spent a little time interceding for all those Orthodox engaged in such mission, asking the intercession of the saints associated with those places.

I think it is also a generous idea to consider giving out a few leaflets at each place. I do believe that the Lord uses such gestures and will honour your intention even while you are aware of your own humble state. The harvest is the Lord's. But to sow a seed is a blessing indeed.

I use Vistaprint to produce tri-fold leaflets, and have just produced some for my own congregation. Perhaps think of a textual content that would have general meaning in all the ancient pilgrim sites, and offer a few in each place to modern pilgrims trusting that the Lord will use your offering to His own glory. Perhaps something that drew the reader's attention to the fact that the Christian life of these great saints was still accessible in Orthodoxy, without that triumphalism that is sometimes off-putting. And a means of contact so that you can help any enquirer find a local means of discovering Orthodoxy. I am not sure it is necessary to unite your own efforts in every case with a local Orthodox community since at a pilgrim site many will be visitors in any case.

As ever, I commend you desire to be doing something for the Lord. I do believe that every little counts. If you were to seek the intercession of the saints in every place associated with them then this would be an especially important ministry. But you could also collect the needs of others in this time of preparation for such a visit and commit yourself to prayer for each one at every shrine and holy place.

God bless you.

Father Peter
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Offline Aidan

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 04:23:31 PM »
Thanks Fr Peter. I need to get a copy of your material.

Also, I was hoping to use some of the articles from your church web site with your permission.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 04:24:17 PM »
Aidan, I think it is wonderful that you would want to visit pilgrim sites and offer the Gospel.

It would be very good indeed if you visited these ancient places and spent a little time interceding for all those Orthodox engaged in such mission, asking the intercession of the saints associated with those places.

I think it is also a generous idea to consider giving out a few leaflets at each place. I do believe that the Lord uses such gestures and will honour your intention even while you are aware of your own humble state. The harvest is the Lord's. But to sow a seed is a blessing indeed.

I use Vistaprint to produce tri-fold leaflets, and have just produced some for my own congregation. Perhaps think of a textual content that would have general meaning in all the ancient pilgrim sites, and offer a few in each place to modern pilgrims trusting that the Lord will use your offering to His own glory. Perhaps something that drew the reader's attention to the fact that the Christian life of these great saints was still accessible in Orthodoxy, without that triumphalism that is sometimes off-putting. And a means of contact so that you can help any enquirer find a local means of discovering Orthodoxy. I am not sure it is necessary to unite your own efforts in every case with a local Orthodox community since at a pilgrim site many will be visitors in any case.

As ever, I commend you desire to be doing something for the Lord. I do believe that every little counts. If you were to seek the intercession of the saints in every place associated with them then this would be an especially important ministry. But you could also collect the needs of others in this time of preparation for such a visit and commit yourself to prayer for each one at every shrine and holy place.

God bless you.

Father Peter

Father,

These are excellent suggestions. The bold text alone is gold.

Your posts are always very well received when I understand them (the OO vs. EO stuff I avoid).

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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2011, 02:23:38 AM »

Offline Hiwot

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Re: Advice on Spreading the Gospel
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2011, 05:40:00 PM »
I was so moved when I read his story - my little brother saw me reading HG's book, and he picked it up, too -- he told me the next day that he couldn't sleep until he finished it :).  He is such a loving person who's ministry continued calmly and joyfully despite many hardships (I couldn't believe how many times people tried to kill him!)

God bless.

 Selam dear CS, I was saddened to hear some tried to kill Him, yet not surprised considering what our Lord have said "If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.'' John 15:19 for the sake of many who through him will get to see and taste the Love of Christ, I pray the Lord grant him many years! I would like to thank you for giving us that link so we get to read his wonderful book, reading it was a blessing in itself!

selam
To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.