Saturday, March 29, 2014

Elevator Speech Evangelism

A number of members of the Episcopal Church have created a ... network is the best word I can think of ... called Acts8 Moment. Their central thesis is that the situation facing the Church in the present is, in many respects, remarkably similar to the situation facing the Church in Acts 8. Christians, previously comfortable in sticking with the familiar ritual of the temple were essentially forced out to engage the world. The founding blogposts can explain the concept in a little more detail.

Not this kind of elevator.
And this is only funny on the prairie
The latest Acts8 idea is for Christians to create their own Elevator Speech about their faith and their faith community. The idea (which originally comes from marketing and professional networking) is to have a brief explanation of who you are and what you are about that can be delivered in the time between getting on an elevator with someone and the point where the door opens again and one of you exits. The elevator doesn't need to cover everything, but it should cover the essentials and give the listener some sense of why they might want to pursue things further. Some say the speech should be no more than 250 words. I think 250 assumes a much taller building than most of the ones we have here in Regina.

Acts8 Moment is inviting Episcopalians and Anglicans to participate in a blogforce effort which will result in dozens or hundreds of blogged elevator speeches being aggregated at the Acts8 Moment website. If you want to participate, follow the instructions at the link. (Essentially, include the Acts8 BLOGFORCE code in your post - I don't know why the result is so munged up at the bottom of this post - and send them an email including both the text of your pitch and a permanent link to your post.)

Of course, our elevator speech changes in response to the situation and changes as we go further in our faith journey. In that sense, it is a transitory thing, existing only for the moment it is uttered.

So here is my elevator speech at this moment. What's yours?
I am an Anglican. I belong to a community of faith that invites and welcomes all people on a journey to meet and to follow the Risen Jesus. Whoever you are, wherever you've come from, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome to journey with us.
We worship a God who loved us enough to become one of us, to live in solidarity with us, to experience the joys and the sorrows of our human existence in order to reconcile us to God and to each other. We come to know him in our fellowship and in the breaking of bread. Our worship is rooted in the ancient tradition of the Christian Church, yet we are fully engaged in the modern world. 
Our God washes us clean in baptism. Our God feeds us with his body at communion. Our God loves us. Our God loves you. 
May you know God's love as you continue on your journey today.


Alan said...

Nicely done. You're right though. Try to say that in the Elevator in the Leg :-)

Anonymous said...

Here's my attempt; it will appear on my blog tomorrow morning:

I'm a Christian, which means that I believe that God, who created absolutely everything that exists, loved this world so much that he came to live among us as one of us; that's who Jesus is. God was like the author of a story who, at a certain point in time, decided to write himself into his story as one of the characters, to show them what he is like and to save them from the mess they had made of his story. We believe that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus show us that God loves us so much he accepts us just as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us there.

To become a baptized Christian is to join the community who believe that Jesus shows us what God is like and what human life is meant to be like. Together we're learning to see life as Jesus sees it and to live life as he taught it. As we do that, we're participating in a gradual process of transforming the world. God has promised us that one day this process will be complete, and the world will be restored to the glory and wonder he had in mind when he first created it.

Our community gathers each week to pray, to learn, and to support each other as followers of Jesus. We then go out to spread the love of God by our words and our actions.

I suspect that the wording is still too full of jargon, and makes far more sense to me than it would to the average unchurched person who might be hearing it. Good challenge, though.

- Tim C.

Malcolm+ said...

Tim, I particularly like the part about God writing himself into the story as one of the characters.

Frank Logue said...

I like it and hope you don't need to give it a grain elevator. I especially enjoyed, "Whoever you are, wherever you've come from, wherever you are on your journey of faith, you are welcome to journey with us."

Thanks for taking on this challenge.

Frank Logue said...

Tim, I agree with Malcolm in especially enjoying the way your write of God writing himself into tge story. I also particularly liked the line, "Together we're learning to see life as Jesus sees it and to live life as he taught it." which captures a lot in a sentence.

Anonymous said...

I nicked that from Sheldon Vanauken's 'A Severe Mercy'. 'Freely I steal, freely I give'.

Malcolm+ said...

The "whoever you are ..." piece is nicked (and maybe modified) from Ed Bacon at All Saints, Pasadena - although I have the sense its provenance may go back further.

Malcolm+ said...

There aren't too many grain elevators left, but one never knows where or when we'll need to give the speech.