College of Evangelists
Bishop John Inge, Chairman of the College of Evangelists, describes the vision for the new relationship with Church Army.
The college exists to promote evangelism and support evangelists. We are just about to enter an exciting new phase of our history by forming a partnership with the Church Army. This is a very significant year in the life of the College of Evangelists. Some ten years after its foundation, it is being re-launched in partnership with the Church Army. There are already links between the two organisations: the dynamic Chief Executive of Church Army, Canon Mark Russell, is a member of the College and Bishop Stephen Cottrell has taken over as Chair of the organisation. However, this development is timely. Church Army has recently rebranded itself as an ‘Order of Evangelists’ and, as it returns to its roots in this fashion, there is an opportunity for a closer link to be forged between our two major evangelistic organisations within our Church.
This new partnership opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities. First, it will enable better support of evangelists through mentoring, prayer and high quality training events. The College hopes to be able to offer more training in conjunction with Church Army, not least at their wonderful national centre in Sheffield where this year’s Study Day and Commissioning was held. Second, it will enable the College better to identify opportunities for joint evangelistic activity. Church Army organises missions in various places and it may be that members of the College will be able to assist with them. (For more information on Church Army visit www.churcharmy.org.uk) Third, it will help to raise the profile of evangelism and evangelists within the wider Church. Better together, as they say!
How the partnership develops remains to be seen but the Council of the College, aided by the prayers of members of the College, will be striving to ensure that the very best is made of it. God-willing, it will enable a real boost to evangelistic activity. Our nation needs more than ever to hear the good news of God’s love in Jesus. Together we are more likely to be used by God to make that happen.
It’s perhaps worth reminding ourselves what evangelism is actually for. It is, of course, about making new disciples, introducing people to a living and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. However, it must be about a great deal more than this, since God’s mission is much bigger than making individual disciples. It is to reconcile the creation to Himself in Christ and, in so doing, inaugurate His Kingdom. When His mission is accomplished every knee shall bow to God’s rule, whether in Heaven or in Earth or under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The church is His chosen instrument for His mission in the world and the effective sign of the inauguration of His Kingdom here on Earth. Through evangelism God makes disciples who can then play their part in helping transform the lives of others. Please pray that the College and Church Army together be given grace by God’s spirit to let the earth hear His voice at this exciting time.
Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is a Founder Member of The College of Evangelists. The College was inaugurated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1999.