Dear Episcopal Evangelist:
Greetings in the name of Christ who is Good News for us all! I hope you will take a few moments out of your summer activities to look through this newsletter and notice some of the ministry highlights from around the wider church, as well as save the date for our next Evangelism Huddle. We are all so grateful for the ways in which the practice of Episcopal Evangelism continues to grow and expand through your creative and authentic ways of sharing the love of Jesus in the world, and we love being able to share your stories! One story I am thrilled to share is the first of our new monthly feature – Catalyst Connections – where we meet and learn about YOU and your work. This month’s guest is Jim Duke, whom I met through a course at Bexley Seabury. I think you will enjoy his story and his practice. If you have an evangelism story to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We – and our witness – is so much better when we share what we have!
– Jerusalem Greer, staff officer for evangelism
Jim Duke, Episcopal Evangelism Catalyst
Welcome to our new monthly feature, Catalyst Connections, where we get to meet an Episcopal evangelism catalyst and learn more about their life and ministry.
Name: Jim Duke
Location & Church: Coachella Valley, California, St. Margaret’s Palm Desert
Ministry: TikTok Prayer
To me, the ministry of evangelism is, quite simply, to share the Good News of Jesus. It is what we are all called to do when we are asked the question in our Baptismal Covenant, “Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?” As evangelists, our role is to help fill the God-shaped holes in people’s hearts as we meet them along the road of life, just as Jesus did in his.
I’m Jim Duke, a former broadcast journalist and retired educator. I live in the beautiful Coachella Valley in Southern California and attend St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert, a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. At St. Margaret’s, I serve as the principal licensed worship leader, and my team offers Daily Office services twice a week on the church Facebook page and YouTube channel. I also lead our Mission Possible! evangelism group. And I am a #christiantiktoker!
Earlier this year, I was a student in the first cohort of the Evangelism Leadership course from Bexley Seabury. When one of my classmates used TikTok to share a story, it piqued my social media curiosity, so I decided to explore it. Of course, I knew people danced and posted funny videos on TikTok, but I never imagined that I would use it. Prayer is an integral part of my personal life, so as I explored this new (to me) social media platform, the notion of using it to share prayer developed, and One Minute of Prayer with Jim was born. When I posted my first TikTok, I didn’t know what to expect, so imagine my surprise when it had over 300 views in the first 12 hours! A few videos have been viewed more than 800 times, but the average is somewhere between 100 and 200. Here is one of my posts. While my original plan was to post once a week, I’m now posting twice a week.
I don’t have millions of followers, or thousands, or even hundreds (yet), but I know I am reaching people near and far and bringing them a message of Good News. And isn’t that exactly what evangelism is all about?
You’re welcome to connect with me on TikTok or Twitter (@praywithjim) or on Facebook. And don’t be afraid to try something new!
Join our Episcopal Evangelism Huddle, Let’s Talk, on July 21, at 12 p.m. ET. This month’s mentor is the Rev. Hershey Mallet-Stephens, who is going to bring her wisdom around storytelling and storysharing to the ministry of evangelism. Make sure to bring a notebook and lots of questions as this huddle promises to be an inspiring one.
Congratulations to the Episcopal Church at Yale for the launch of their evangelism grant-funded journaling project! I hope you will take the time to read this introduction from their newsletter and reflect on the journaling prompt offered on the righthand side.
Want to take this a step further? Offer this question to someone this week – either in person or perhaps over social media, and make sure to share your answers as well!
Tell Me Something Good – Season 2 of this web series where we share the Good News of the good work happening in The Episcopal Church is now complete.
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” – Fannie Lou Hammer
If you would like to download a shareable image of this quote, please click here.
Embracing Evangelism – A 6-week evangelism training series – you can lead this series online or in person. (And watch for some new additions to this program coming fall 2021.)
A Year in the Life – A series that explores the gifts and challenges of ministry during COVID-19. Look for videos and blog posts that share a variety of perspectives.
Evangelism Matters – All episodes and Coffee Hour recordings from Evangelism Matters: The Discipline of Hope, An Episcopal Evangelism Audioconference are available for anyone to listen to and watch. The resources now include a Reflection Guide for Groups and Individuals. Use this guide to bring Ev Matters 21 to your group or congregation.
Good News Gardens Monthly Gatherings: 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. ET. Learn more
Evangelism Huddles: 3rd Wednesday of each month, 12 p.m. ET. Learn more
Lift Every Voice and Sing: A UBE Churchwide Digital Revival: July 27-30. Learn more
Unlocking Grace & Hope: A Weekend of Episcopal Evangelism: Sept. 24-26, Wilmington, Vermont. Learn more
Good News Festival – Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Revival, December 3-5. Learn more
This was originally shared in The Episcopal Church’s July Evangelism Newsletter. We invite you to subscribe to The Episcopal Church’s monthly newsletter to receive prayers, resources, news about upcoming events, and more. View past issues of the newsletter and join the mailing list here.