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Outreach & Evangelism Report Annual Meeting January 2015

Prepared by Lee Kopulos, Chairperson

The Goal of Evangelism at St. Luke’s
To provide educational programs to enhance our members ability to explain their Orthodox Christian Faith to an outsider, seeker for orthodoxy or even a fellow Orthodox Christian who may have a poor understanding of the Faith. Our members are expected then to reach out to their “Natural Network” of friends, relatives, associates and neighbors to evangelize them and bring them to Church.

This is accomplished primarily through our attendance at our Bible Study which is meeting for its 9th year every Thursday in our conference Center. The program seeks to enhance and even master one’s understanding of Holy Scripture but couples this understanding with Special Orthodox Books on aspects of the Faith and the outstanding pamphlets put out by Conciliar Media and available in our Narthex and Fellowship Hall. How to use these pamphlets along with the mindset of Holy Scripture makes for what we would call an evangelist.

Holy Scripture and Special Studies for Adults

Our program over the past 9 years has used the Orthodox Bible Study companion series put out by Conciliar Media-Ancient Faith Publishing and written by Fr. Lawrence Farley. This is further supported by a Study Guide produced by me which includes study questions and commentary by the Church Fathers. This year we finished our long but beautiful study of the Gospel According to St. Luke - 21 weeks covering 430 pages. Everyone marveled at how wonderful this text is and how perfectly it was written by the Apostle Luke. In 2014 we covered an extraordinary book entitled, “Ask for the Ancient Paths: Discovering What Church is Meant to Be.” This book which we have coined, THE BOOK, provides an excellent framework for our goal of making members proficient in explaining the Faith. It fits perfectly with the features of our Orthodox pamphlets too. Last, we began the study of The Epistle to the Hebrew covering the first 6 chapters and will finish the last 6 in 2015.

Holy Scripture for High School students
When called upon by the High School class teachers we have presented single session presentation on The Book and what it means to evangelize. More is planned on the use of this great book and the pamphlets.

We have purchase a few videos - The War Within and The Ancient Church which we plan on using soon. Actually the Men’s Group has reviewed and discussed The War Within already this year.

Church Guests/ Visitors (first visit only) These are tough times in America where the Christian church seems to be put on the “back burner.” Most Christian church groups are having a tough time growing. Most membership is declining. Orthodoxy in the 90’s grew 15%. Now it is showing little or no growth but we are not declining. For most of the year at St. Luke’s we had very few visitors. Then finally in the last 3 months we came close to our average over the past 3 years.

Year 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Total Guests 18 23 23 31 28 27

Summary and Program for Next year
We have made many comments are the state of the church in America or our OCA in this challenging society which increasingly ignores Christian moral and values. This can change if we Christians begin to be more vocal about our Faith and challenge the society. We need not fear this present status, but must give way to something greater for “Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

We expect to have a special speaker join us this year and we hope it will be the author of THE BOOK, Fr. James Guirguis. The Bible Group will complete our study of Hebrews and go to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

From St. John Chrysostom: “The ignorance of Scripture is a great cliff and a deep abyss; to know nothing of the divine laws is a great betrayal of salvation.”