James & Brittany Daymond
Over the last year it has been a joy to join with the Mudgee Anglican Church praying for outreach and reading God’s word together. It has also been fantastic to see God give people a desire for outreach and see an Evangelism Team develop.
The Evangelism Team has been meeting weekly to train in evangelism which has been so helpful in learning new skills, encouraging one another, and developing momentum in outreach.
In light of COVID-19, we initially focused on reaching out to the church fringe (those who identify as church members but whom we seldom, if ever, see at church). We were delighted that some people welcomed us and have even come to church since our visit!
Our focus then shifted to reaching out to shop keepers and other members of the commercial community. We have sought to do this by initially offering to pray for shop keepers and then if the opportunity presented itself, sought to share the gospel.
Reaching out to shop keepers has been such a strong reminder of how important it is to give people an opportunity to hear about Jesus because there is such ignorance about Him. What has also been striking is how prepared some people are to engage in conversation about Jesus.
The shop keeper ministry has been combined with a focused ministry by the Evangelism Team to family, friends, and acquaintances where we can pray for one another, plan how to reach out, and help each other with accountability. Our hope is that when COVID-19 conditions ease, we will also be able to reach out to farms and people living in town.
As we have been reaching out, God has encouraged us. One member of the team shared a passage from Luke’s gospel with a lady. The response of the lady was to cry because the words were so moving. She said that she would look for her Bible at home to continue reading.
Another member intentionally wrote emails to some members of the church fringe and gave out gospel resources. He received responses of some people wanting to return to church and one person requesting more gospel resources.
Some other members planned to share the gospel at a lunch they attended and provided attendees with copies of Luke’s gospel. The same couple also displayed John 3:16 on their shop window in large print on the main street in Mudgee!
Our minister, Archdeacon Jono Williams, has also had an amazing outreach ministry at a local pub by running a brief monthly service by request. The service has led to lots of conversations in the pub, on the street, and even one person arranging to meet with Jono to learn more about Jesus.
As we reflect upon the last year, we have been struck by a few things. First, the joy, edification, and encouragement that partnership in the gospel brings. It has been great to pray with people, think through things, and spur one another on in sharing the gospel! Thank you for your partnership!
Secondly, the importance of having different levels of evangelism training in our church. Some people will be really keen on evangelism, others less so. Having a variation from on-the-job experience through to presentations in church and other things in between has been invaluable.
Thirdly, having weekly Evangelism Team Training has also been eye-opening. Reviewing and keeping one another accountable, learning from God’s word and upskilling, as well as planning all take time and are so helpful in sharpening us up for God’s mission.
Finally the power of prayer has struck us again. For example, we were invited to a Christmas party by some of our new friends, self-professed atheists. We prayed for opportunities before going. What would God do? James was introduced as an evangelist by the hostess on several occasions (not mockingly) which led to lots of conversations. Then, Brittany was encouraged to play some carols on the host’s guitar, and the atheists sang “Hark the Herald” louder than anyone! Three serious gospel conversations also came one after the other. We praise God for this and look forward to what He will do next.