Large cities—focus of evangelism

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World Church president, Dr Ted Wilson, has encouraged members in the South Pacific Division (SPD) to make large cities the focus of evangelism.

Speaking to Institute of Public Evangelism (IPE) board members at Wahroonga, Australia, Dr Wilson shared the vision and need of reaching people in the urban areas of the world, starting in 2013.

This is not just about public evangelism. Cities are made up of multiple small cities and you can’t reach Sydney by holding a meeting in the Opera House. You can reach many people, but you can’t reach Sydney.

“You have some large cities here and have done very well in many cases at reaching the people, but not perhaps in the comprehensive way that Ellen White indicates—using every possible approach so it is sustainable on a long-term basis,” Dr Wilson said.

“This is not just about public evangelism. Cities are made up of multiple small cities and you can’t reach Sydney by holding a meeting in the Opera House. You can reach many people, but you can’t reach Sydney.”

Dr Wilson’s vision includes the Ellen White-inspired “centres of influence” concept. He said he’s delighted that Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing has put the idea into practice, trialling innovations such as Brisbane’s Kitchen Sanitarium and Sydney’s Sanctuary Sanitarium. He also mentioned the need for integrated media evangelism, small groups, and the mobilisation of all youth and church members in outreach and community service.

The IPE was set up to foster and encourage public evangelism and provides funding and support for pastors who apply to run such initiatives.

Dr Wilson heard reports of past IPE events and future projects, including an initiative in Fiji where every pastor is currently fasting and praying one day a week for a “field school of evangelism” that will launch in 2012.

SPD president, Dr Barry Oliver, sees the IPE’s involvement as crucial as each of the Division’s four unions concentrate their attention on one major city in 2013. He said urban evangelism was also a great opportunity to involve young people and theology graduates who will be equipped and empowered as they assist.

“I’m delighted to see such an emphasis, such a systematic approach to how we should do evangelism,” Dr Wilson said. “The IPE is the nerve centre for the promotion of evangelism and we’re humbly praying to the Lord to open the way so the cities of the world will become one of the greatest focal points for members and pastors.”