My College Mission Victor Beshir Evangelism Conference 2011
What is My College Mission? • We send our youth to mission to Africa, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Asia, which is good • Yet, we do not evangelize people around us, in North America • But the Lord’s commandment is clear: • “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”(Acts 1:9)
If we apply the above commandment, then we need to start evangelism in our own town, then our state, from there to the rest of North America. Finally go overseas. • So, we need to go back and ask: • Why we do not evangelize in North America? • We Lack VISION • We Need Training
The Vision • The vision of this mission, based on the Lord’s commandment, is to work hard to see Coptic congregations include not only Egyptians-as we see now-But White Americans, • Black Americans, Hispanics, atheists, agnostics, and converts from other religions. • In other words, the vision of the mission is to move • the Coptic Orthodox Church to be an active evangelistic church in North America.
Background • Although the Coptic Orthodox Church started in North America about fifty years ago, very few Americans or Canadians joined the church, and a small number of them remained in the church. • Why? • We, as Copts, we talk to each other, preach to one another, and conduct meetings with each other or at the most with few other Orthodox. • Our youth do not know how to talk to their American or Canadian peers. • We Don’t Know Evangelism!!!
Examples: • Coptic clubs at universities worked hard to evangelize, so they arranged for lectures. Then the speaker lectured about the glories of Orthodoxy, the superior faith of the Orthodox Church, and the glorious history of the Coptic Church. At the end of such lectures, the speakers received applause, but not people like to join our church!!! • Unfortunately, we think this is evangelism … But this is not evangelism
Another Example • Most of our college clubs’ and fellowships’ names start with the word “Coptic.” • First question people will ask is, • “What does the word Coptic means?” • The answer would be Egyptian. • Immediately, they are not interested since they are not Egyptians, • As I mentioned last time, • If a student invites you to attend a Chinese club, would you attend? The answer is “No, because I’m not a Chineses.” • Then Why we Choose “Coptic” if we really want to evangelize? • On any visit to a Coptic college meeting, one will find only Copts and some other Orthodox attending, though the leaders of those meetings work hard to excel. • The above examples illustrate lack of clear vision of evangelism, missing objectives, and not using the right approach.
My College Mission • To have evangelism in the Coptic Church in North America, you need to empower our youth with vision, objectives, and right methods. • And This is why we start “My College Mission:” • to help our Coptic college students and professors to start evangelism in their campuses. • To Do That We need: • New Vision • New Objectives • Right Approaches
The New Vision • Our invitation to meetingsshould not be offered solely to Copts and Orthodox but mainly to others. • We need to learn how to talk to others about Christ, salvation, faith, resurrection, and to show them the light and life in Christianity. • This new vision is based on our promise to the Lord in every Divine Liturgy:“Amen, Amen, Amen. Your death O’ Lord we proclaim.” Yet, we stop short from fulfilling our weekly commitments.
Your Mission in Your College • Many students in our universities and colleges are eager to hear about the true God Who will water their thirst and enlighten their path. All those souls around us need salvation and a SAVIOR. • North Americans need to hear the gospel as we heard it. God has put you in those colleges and universities to reach out to the students with the eternal life message that, with the grace of God, moves people from death to life.
The New Vision Calls us to: • We, as Copts, need to venture outside of our comfort zones and speak with Non-Orthodox, Non-Christians, atheists, and agnostics. • This is realistic since many students nowadays are agnostics, atheists, or do not know anything about Christ except His name. We need to present Christ as the one Who is going to forgive their sins, change their life altogether, and offer them peace, joy, and eternal life. • What students are interested in is not a denomination but rather salvation, inner peace, meaning of life, and spiritual fulfillment, rather than speaking of glories of Orthodoxy, which turns them off.
Changing Our Appeoach • In fact, speaking of any denomination receives resistance from people. • The approach the apostles used, as it is recorded in the book of Acts, was speaking about Christ and His salvation. • They never started with mentioning or giving sermons about the church. But, when people accept that faith, then the person(s) is introduced to the church. • This is the sequence that should be followed. Unfortunately, we currently put the cart before the horse, which leads to evangelism failure.
When the Vision is Clear • If the approach is different, eventually we will reach the point when we introduce people to the church to be baptized. At this point, the word 'Coptic' will not turn them off. • When the vision is clear, • then the approach is different. • The vision is to win souls for Christ. • The method is to represent Christ and the Gospel, and to teach about salvation, crucifixion, and resurrection.
My College Mission’s Steps: • + The first stepis training: Please visit: http://www.evangelismcopticorthodox.org/mycollegemission/training.html to watch the training videos of Fr. Peter Gillquiston how to practice one-on-one evangelism • + Also, watch the video of Fr. John Rizkalla & his team on how to arrange for a “Jesus Awareness” event on your campus. • + The second stepis to ask Coptic students in colleges across North America to participate in My College Mission starting in 2012 Spring semester, where the we will help with brochures, flyers, video, & instructions, and create a network to help. • We ask you to use “Jesus Awareness Week” method & materials in your campus.
To participate, visit: • http://evangelismcopticorthodox.org/mycollegemission.html • + The third stepis to help students in starting a fellowship or changing the name, vision, and objectives of current fellowship. Last night the discussion panel discussed all aspect of college’s clubs. • + After talking about Generation ‘Y,’ we recommend to change the clubs name to:Reach out & Help Someone
+ The fourth stepis to introduce faith as it was believed and practiced in the first church in those fellowship meetings, which eventually will lead to Orthodoxy. • + The Fifth stepis to arrange for catechism classes for those who show interest in Orthodoxy. • + The sixth stepis to baptize those who are ready to join the church
+ The seventhand last step is to give the converts the opportunity to be active in the church and to make them feel at home. • We ask Coptic professors to work with students on the clubs and on spreading the Good News of salvations, resurrection, and eternal life. • + We’re praying and asking others to pray fervently to make this dream a reality.
Reccomendations • We need to have dedicated evangelism servants. In other words, a person serving only in Evangelism, and not in Sunday school, youth meeting, & evangelism (when he/she has time for evangelism). • There’ re many who could teach in Sunday school, but few who could evangelize. Be one of those few. • Evangelism needs committed servants with passion …
What to do now? • Please visit: http://www.evangelismcopticorthodox.org/mycollegemission/survey.html to fill out the survey,.. let’s know how could you help in My College Mission. • WE have a dream that we could reach every college in North America … And every college starts to win souls for Christ … And those souls join the church.. Please pray and be part of this dream. Amen.