The Wheaton College Billy Graham Center is a world hub of inspiration and training for mission and evangelism. It created the Church Evangelism Institute to help catalyze a movement of evangelism and mission in local communities through local churches. Traditionally our cohorts have included senior or lead pastors and a key evangelism champion from their congregations. Through our cohort ministry we have started working with influential African American pastors and they would like to partner in launching a new African American Church Evangelism Institute that will serve 150 African American churches in learning communities of eight to 10 churches each over the next five years. The new institute will focus on challenges facing African American congregations such as effectively reaching the next generation, fruitfully navigating shifting contexts and demographic changes occurring around their churches, developing team ministry approaches and leadership pipelines in congregations to launch new ministries, and creating new evangelism models that work effectively in a new era. These cohorts will broaden to include each congregation’s senior pastor, their outreach leader and a leadership development person from the church, with the goal that one of these will be a leader under 40 years of age. We will also launch a pilot project with church music ministers in the area of missional worship. Our hope is through this collaborative approach we can also model mutual learning and genuine partnership in ways that will inspire and start to heal some of the racial divisions that challenge our nation.
African American Church Evangelism Institute