What is an Evangelism Coach?

Janet Sutton joined the Diocese in January (2019) as the Evangelism Coach for the Changing Market Towns Project, here she reflects on of her work, experiences so far and what her role incorporates.

“Thank you so much for coming”, said the woman with whose Baptism I had assisted, as she climbed out of the pool. It was possibly my proudest moment - being asked to take part in a life event that was both intensely personal and a testimony to what is being achieved through the Diocese of Ely’s Changing Market Towns project.

I have been in the post of Evangelism Coach for the Changing Market Towns project for nine months. It is a strange job title - particularly for me - a United Reformed Church Minister from a Liberal theological background, who had, until the end of last year, been a Pioneer working alongside people who would never normally go to church. It took a while to get used to being called it - and perhaps I'm still not.

When I tell people what I do they tend to look at me strangely. In church terms both words - "evangelism" and "coach" - come with a huge number of connotations. And they are connotations that make many feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they think I will challenge them to tell me everything they know about Jesus, or want them to go and preach on a street corner, or ask them to go and sit at a bus-stop and try to convert everyone who passes by.

But that's not what it is about. It is about coming alongside churches and those who serve them, to help them think about what is precious about being on a journey of faith alongside others. And to equip them to share it, whether that be through community activities, new forms of worship, or informal conversation with families and friends.

It is a genuine privilege to travel around the Diocese, discovering the diverse range of activities undertaken in the name of Jesus: youth mentoring and parenting classes; youth cafes and after-school clubs; food banks and associated community support initiatives; choirs, open-mic nights and band concerts… the list is endless.

My role is to support and provide advice to the wonderful people who deliver these life-transforming activities week-by-week. Without exception they are remarkable, not least because of their commitment, their expertise and their grace in receiving a visit from me.

The truth is, I learn more from them about sharing the good news of God's love, in the grittiness of everyday life, than they will ever learn from me.

If you have any questions or would like to contact Janet you can email her at janet.sutton@elydiocese.org.





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Page last updated: 7th July 2021 11:56 AM
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