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Christian Union: The Magazine
May 14, 2021

CU Lumine Hosts Evangelism Workshops

Kelly Parks, Staff Writer


At its core, evangelism is the act of sharing the good news of Christ with others so that they might come to have new life and have it to the fullest. As society has become increasingly secular, however, evangelism has become a less comfortable topic for many Christians. Although evangelism is sometimes synonymous with preaching on a street corner, we should certainly not overlook the equally powerful act of sharing Christ through personal witness.

CU Columbia


Keenly aware of the power that the gospel has to change lives, the student leadership team of Christian Union’s ministry at Columbia, CU Lumine, felt led to share this message by offering evangelism training. After a summer of planning and prayer, and with guidance from Ministry Director Stan Thomas, these virtual workshops came to life in the recent academic year. 

Jade Thompson, Columbia '21, is a double major in Economics and Sustainable Development. After a difficult end to the previous academic year, Thompson and the Lumine leadership team faced complex challenges in terms of outreach, due to the limitations of primarily virtual platforms.

In Thompson's words: "Witnessing the brokenness and devastation the world was facing as a result of the pandemic and racial strife, my team and I faced the difficult question of whether we truly saw Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. Did Jesus' life, death, and resurrection truly have an impact on the way we understood and navigated life's most difficult circumstances? For us, the answer was a sure yes!"

The ministry team noticed that, despite knowing that Christ is the source of life, "many students felt powerless, ashamed, or ill-equipped to share the good news.”

'A BURNING DESIRE'

“This needed to change," said Thompson, "God placed the idea of an evangelism training course on our hearts." Thompson, in particular, felt convicted of this idea as she grew deeper in her faith while attending virtual CU events during quarantine last spring. "A large part of this growth was in my affection towards God and my reverence for His holiness. The Holy Spirit filled me with a burning desire to see Christ exalted and receive His due praise. For me, this was a major motivator to start the gospel training workshops."

The first virtual workshops, hosted in the fall, consisted of a two-day series. On the first day, students covered theoretical concepts surrounding evangelism, such as what the gospel is, why it's important to share the gospel, and how to make Christ known through one's lifestyle. The second session focused on practical tips for sharing the gospel, including talking about Christ with others ranging from skeptics to apathetic believers. 

According to ministry team member Bethel Adiele, Columbia '23, the purpose of these sessions was three-fold: "We wanted to (1) remind Christian Union members of the Gospel, its beauty, its meaning, and our need for it; (2) exhort members to live out the Gospel every day, as we are living epistles; and (3) equip members with practical tools and steps in entering the conversation and being faithful witnesses."

Adiele is currently in his second year at Columbia studying medical humanities. Looking at the Christian student body at Columbia, Adiele said, "Our ministry team noted that members are hungry to share God with friends, family, and strangers, but were worried about the perception of others and how to properly love our neighbors during the conversation." However, through the workshops, many were convicted of the need to share Christ with those around them. 

BEING WITNESSES 

"Ultimately," said Adiele, "we realized that constantly reminding ourselves of the gospel and how we would be the witnesses of Christ to Columbia and the world was a conversation that we needed to keep having." This desire to be better witnesses of the gospel ultimately led to a second evangelism workshop, which the ministry team hosted this spring.

The virtual workshop in the spring focused on reasons Christians can be hesitant to share their faith, and attendees were given the opportunity to practice sharing the gospel with others during breakout sessions.
 

Tony Kim ’23, a member of the ministry team hosting this event, noted that “an important component of feeling comfortable with sharing our faith is the notion that we don't need to be experts in theology or apologetics. Rather, our family, friends, and peers will know us by our love for Jesus.”

“We want to stress that our job is not to convince or win over people's hearts or triumph over their beliefs, but to introduce them to Jesus' love and grace and plant seeds of faith, allowing the Holy Spirit to draw them nearer to Him."

By allowing attendees to practice, the ministry team provided a safe space for believers to work through sharing the gospel in their own words. While it may initially seem counterintuitive to stress evangelism during a time of social isolation, Kim shared: "We wanted to take advantage of our remote circumstances to encourage evangelism with our families and hometown friends. Hopefully, we'll be able to use those experiences and conversations to further grow as individuals who love Jesus and want to share Him with others wherever we are."

Ministry Director Stan Thomas said the workshops created an openness among the students to share their faith with their peers and invite new friends to the ministry. 

“After both workshops, I saw new students join in virtual Christian Union events, which was remarkable," he said. 

Looking forward, CU Lumine hopes to continue hosting similar workshops to equip students with the necessary tools and boldness to share the good news day-to-day. "We are meant to be messengers of God's kingdom," said Thompson. "I want all of us in Christian Union to feel empowered to be obedient to God's calling to share the gospel whenever He prompts us, so that more people would come to know Jesus and praise Him."

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