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Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2014

Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson

The Goal of the Christian Life
“The goal of the Christian Life is not to be saved from something such as punishment or hell fire. Rather, our goal is to be saved to someone. In short, the goal is Jesus Christ Himself. As the Apostle Paul says, we are to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 15) (From the book: “Ask for the Ancient Paths” page 118)

SALVATION: The Orthodox Church teaches that God alone has redeemed mankind through the cross. Salvation is the process of accepting and incorporating that act of redemption personally. It is an organic restoration to union with God, a process of “being saved” by God’s grace. (1 Corinthians 1:18 and 2 Corinthians 2:15) The life of the church is nothing more than this life of salvation and grace made accessible to all who would avail themselves to it. (From the brochure, “Encountering Christ in His Church, Conciliar Press Ministries, Inc.)

Bible Study
This year our group of 16 studied the Gospel of Luke – Good News for the Poor. We used another one of Fr. Lawrence Farley’s Bible Study Programs facilitated with commentary by the Church Fathers thru my Study Guide concept. This wonderful Gospel can be highlighted as the “loveliest book in the world” for it touches, with elegance, the hearts of mankind. Luke wrote this book not only for the church but more so as an apology or support for its truth.

In our 8 years of study of Holy Scripture one point is clear: Scripture is there to touch your heart!!! For, if it touches your heart, it will remain in the heart and become a part of one’s life in speech and action as a disciple of Christ the Savior. This study is the longest one we have done taking 21 weeks covering 430 pages. This Gospel of Luke did without question, “illumine our hearts.”

We are presently beginning to study an extraordinarily written book entitled, “Ask for the Ancient Paths: Discovering What Church Is Meant To Be,” by Fr. James Guirguis. This book is being reviewed by our regular Bible Study Group on Thursdays and by a Sunday Group after the Fellowship hour. Everyone is welcome to join either group.

Our goal in 2014 is to see that all members have read and discussed this very important book and will become comfortable in conversing, in a simple way, about their Orthodox Christian Faith.

New Brochures
We are pleased to announce that there are 5 new brochures that give a wonderful concise and well written intro to Holy Orthodoxy. The basic theme is we are “The Ancient Church of Christ and His Apostles and Martyrs.” These are the best that we have ever seen in all our years and strongly encourage everyone to read them and use them as outreach to friends, relatives, associates and neighbors. All are published by Conciliar Press Media and can be found in the pamphlet rack in the Narthex and in the Fellowship Hall by the bookstore. The brochures are:
• Encountering Christ in His Church
• Are You Looking for a Church that is …Orthodox in doctrine. Orthodox in worship and Orthodox in values
• Welcome to the Orthodox Church
• What on Earth is the Orthodox Church
• A Timeline of Church History

We commend Fr. Andrew, Allison DeYoung and George Poulos who collaborated on a new St. Luke Brochure in full color with great graphics that really tells our story!

High School Bible Study We have been asked to bring a short Bible Study to this group once a quarter. Our first sessions covered the Evolution of the Bible, How to Read the Bible, the Different Character of the 4 Gospels and chapters 1 and 2 of St. Luke’s Gospel. These young adults enjoyed the presentation and especially became enthralled with angels encountered in the first two chapters of Luke!

Church Guests/ Visitors As we have said before….These are tough times in America for everyone including our Christian churches. Most churches are not growing but declining in their attendance. Orthodoxy in the 90’s grew at a 15% clip. Now we believe it is neither showing growth nor loss. Our Church of St. Luke typically grows at a rate of 5%. This is the second year in a row that our Guest totals are low:

Year 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Total Guests 23 23 31 28 27 44

We who work in evangelism look forward to the challenge of a society in America that is increasingly secular and basically disrespectful to Christian morals and values. We know that our Savior is with us and will, through the Holy Spirit, help us transmit the vital message of salvation to all who will as He, our Lord, has said:
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 15:11)