Go Into All The World

Pastors and ministry leaders worship God at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Evangelism Summit in Liverpool.
Pastors and ministry leaders worship God at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Evangelism Summit in Liverpool.

Mike Miller sees how the pandemic has changed so much for churches, many of whom are struggling to restore pre-pandemic attendance. That’s why he believes it’s vital for Christians to understand the times and how to proclaim the Gospel effectively.

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“We’re thinner and lighter in many areas, but we’re stronger overall,” said the co-lead pastor at Nova Church, a Halifax congregation that was only two years old when COVID-19 shut down the world in 2020.

Miller hopes to strengthen his congregation by attending BGEA of Canada’s Evangelism Summit, along with members of his church, this October in Halifax. Other summits are taking place in Calgary and Toronto.

Speakers at the free daylong gatherings include:
• Canadian evangelist David Macfarlane
• U.K. church leader and broadcaster Hugh Osgood
• Charles Price, pastor-at-large for the People’s Church in Toronto
• Evangelist and BGEA Vice President Will Graham Speaker, church planter, and author Crawford Loritts
• Writer and pastor Skip Heitzig
• Author, speaker, and theologian Amy Orr-Ewing
• Vancouver pastor and podcaster Jason Ballard
• David Bruce, who has pastored churches in four states, and executive vice president of the Billy Graham Library and Billy Graham Archive and Research Center
• Canadian Gospel Music Award winner Brooke Nicholls, who will lead worship at all three summits

“The summit is a call for Canadian leaders to refocus on the things that are truly important,” explained Dion Collins, BGEA of Canada’s director of ministry. “COVID has pulled leaders
in many directions, and we want to help them see that evangelism is very important. Our goal is to reignite their passion for the lost.”

These summits aren’t new. BGEA held four earlier this year in the U.K., and church leaders responded enthusiastically to the encouragement, instruction, and worship.

“Generally, people were delighted that evangelism was being made the focus,” said Charles Price, who spoke at two of the U.K. summits.

“It’s been easy to be introverted in the church, so to leave behind that kind of self-analysis and look at the world at large was a great thing to do.”

Just coming out of COVID, the big challenge is churches trying to get their own people back, said Macfarlane, a former director of national initiatives for BGEA of Canada. “And because of that, evangelism has taken a back seat in many congregations.”

“I want to give the audience hope that the Gospel hasn’t lost its power. We have more depression and suicides than ever. People are looking for hope, and we need to show them how relevant Christianity is.”

Mcfarlane plans to speak on Acts 10, where God teaches Peter that all food is acceptable, not just what is deemed kosher. Peter realizes God is showing him that Jesus is for all people.

“That was a pivotal moment in the life of the church,” Mcfarlane points out. “Peter had to have a mindset change and it cost him, because he had to do things di­fferently.

“Even some Christians believe Christianity is only for Christians and we keep it to ourselves. The secular world thinks the same way. But Jesus didn’t just come for Jews, He came for
everyone, regardless of who they are.”

Price plans to reiterate one of the themes of his U.K. messages: fully explaining the need for the cross of Christ.

“The requirement for the cross is found not in the need of humanity in the first place, but in the need of God for justice to be done,” he explained. “Christ died in the first place, not for
us, but for His Father, to satisfy His justice regarding sin.”

Price noted that justification isn’t the end purpose of Christ dying on the cross, “but the means to the end, which is reconciliation to God so that He might indwell us and work through us.”

“But if we don’t understand justification, we won’t fully enter into the liberty and security of being reconciled to God and experiencing His life at work in us, and then through us to
enrich others.”

All this is an encouragement to the ears of Mike Miller and the pastoral team at Nova Church. “To hear from Christians across the country keeps us sharp on ways to reach various people groups and demographics. We’re always open to learning.

“I appreciate the track record and spirit of BGEA and the speakers. They’re on the ground, they’re grassroots, and they have a reputation of keeping the message clear and loving their communities. Things have changed so much in the past two years, so when we learn something new, we have to pass it on.”

For more details, or to register, see BillyGraham.ca/evangelism-summit.