God is always Good News. When we are good news, God's people see growing churches.
So says Archbishop Justin Welby, who will be visiting the Diocese of Bristol in September 2014 to join us in prayer and witness. His visit will be a crescendo to the year during which, as a Church, we grow our confidence in God's story now and throughout history.
The theme for the Diocese in 2014 is creating confidence in evangelism. By raising our threshold of faith and our attentiveness to what God is doing in our lives and those of others we will have the self-assurance and sensitivity to share the Good News with words and the way we live our lives.
Our hope is that, by the end of the year, ten thousand people in our diocese will have the confidence to share their story of faith, and will have done so with a friend who is not a Christian, says Bishop Lee.
Each of us has a story to tell about how our own lives have changed and God has been with us, and what God has done through the life and death of Jesus. Our prayer is that we will see five hundred people come to faith and be baptised by next Easter. What an exciting goal!
This theme will run through every major aspect of the life of our diocese. From Deanery Chapters to Diocesan Synods, training events to team meetings, creating confidence in evangelism will be at the heart of what we do. The Lent Study Mornings in March, Bishops Visitations in May and Archbishops Visit in September will run with this theme
The Archbishop of York rightly said that the word evangelism needs liberating as it belongs to the whole Church, said Bishop Mike. There are lots of misconceptions about evangelism and we need to explore them together.
We need to have confidence ourselves in witness and evangelism. In our churches, we need to create opportunities for evangelism. Major events during the Archbishops Visit will provides a strong platform for churches to run courses like Alpha that enable people to explore the Christian faith.
We are all called to be witnesses; we can all play a part in this endeavour.