'Our Calling' states that 'The Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ' and, as such, puts evangelism at the very heart of what it is to be the Methodist Church in Great Britain. The Strategic Research Team (part of the Connexional Team) has been instructed by Methodist Council to conduct research into 'what is appropriate evangelism within the Methodist Church', where it can be found and how it is nurtured, and to report to Council in April 2017.
The Methodist Conference in 2015 decided that an assessment of the impact of the Regrouping for Mission process on the Church should be undertaken. The report on the first stage of the research can be found here (link to council paper). Amongst the findings of the initial research was that a large amount of regrouping had taken place, but that this was often not accompanied by a significant missional impact. The second phase of this research, as mandated by Methodist Council, seeks to understand this shortcoming and indentify and share good practice.
Although a clear definition of evangelism has been identified, an inclusive approach is being taken to the form that 'more followers of Jesus Christ' might take. The research will involve considering how people become followers of Jesus Christ. This will include those that are new members of the Methodist Church and the number of adult baptisms conducted, but scope is being given for individuals to identify other ways we might recognise new followers of Jesus Christ.
The initial stage of this research is to seek input as to examples of evangelism which lead to more followers of Jesus Christ, the factors which have contributed to this and the way the impact can be recognised. This will be partially achieved through an online questionnaire which has been sent to a number of individuals throughout the Church. If you have not received the questionnaire and would like to take part please follow this link. Your input will be valued. Once a range of examples have been identified the Strategic Research Team will conduct a number of case study visits to consider some of these examples in more depth.
It is anticipated that, in addition to reports to Methodist Council and Conference, there will be a number of ways in which insights coming from this research will be shared with the Methodist people so that we can learn from each other and be better equipped to fulfil our calling to make more followers of Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions relating to the research or are aware of any information you think would be beneficial in the research please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.