“Congregational Evangelism”

Our 2021 Annual Meeting will be online on June 17, 2021.

Register through the ASM website.

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Mark A. Nelson

While the stereotypical picture of evangelism involves a lone individual trying to share her or his faith with others, evangelism is most effectively practiced by a community of faith. Recent research shows that those who make a first-time commitment to Christ or a recommitment to the Christian faith do so because a group of Christians welcomed them. This means that Christians should be thinking about and practicing evangelism as a congregation.

Mark Nelson, pastor, author, and a thought leader in new forms of church, will lead us in thinking about what it means to be evangelistic as a congregation in the changing cultural milieu that churches face today, especially in parts of the world that have been shaped by the Enlightenment and its aftermath. It requires more than simply laying out new strategies and tactics. It requires reframing how we think about the church, the gospel, and the way that Christians interact with the world around us.

AETE 2021 Meeting Schedule

Thursday 17 June 2021 (ASM to follow on June 18 – 19)

Hosted Entirely Online through Zoom

All times are US Eastern Time

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Welcome & Devotion

11:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Introductions

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Keynote Session 1: A Crisis of Interpretation (Prerecorded)

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Question and Answer with Plenary Speaker, Live

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Break

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Breakout session 1 (see below for descriptions and bios)

Presentation 1: Models of Evangelism in the Classroom, Church, and World

(40 mins, including Q & A)

Panel: Priscilla Pope-Levison, Soong-Chan Rah, Rochelle Scheuermann

Presentation 2: Effective Ways for Irish Evangelicals to Engage with Irish Catholics

(40 mins, including Q & A)

Presenter: William P. Payne

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Keynote Session 2: Past the Watchful Dragons (Prerecorded)

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Question and Answer with Plenary Speaker, Live

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Break

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Breakout Session 2

Presentation 1 Christianity’s Encounter with Oromo Traditional Religion (OTR):

Acknowledging the Past, Naming the Present, and Envisioning the Future of Evangelism

among the Oromo of Ethiopia (40 mins, including Q & A)

Presenter: Wondimu Sonessa

Presentation 2 Conversion of First Generation Ethnic Chinese Migrants in America: A

Critical Social Analysis (40 mins, including Q & A)

Presenter: Tony Chuang (莊智超)

6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Break

6:15 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Business Meeting (Election of Officers)

6:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closing Devotional and Adjournment


Keynote Speaker

MARK NELSON is the founding pastor of a faith community called Crossings in the city center of Knoxville, TN.  He recently joined the faculty at Johnson University to become the Executive Director of the Three Rivers Collaborative, an initiative which will create and cultivate learning communities for churches in the Knoxville area.  He has been in vocational ministry for over 30 years including youth ministry, campus ministry, and church planting.  He serves on the Forge America board as well as the Forge Global Leadership Team.  His book Reframation (co-authored with Alan Hirsch) was released in 2019.  He has been married for 34 years to Monica and together they have three grown children.

Breakout Session Presenters and Their Topics

Tony Chuang (莊智超) is an evangelist with ministry experience in 4 continents ( and also Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism at Hope Community Bible Church. He grew up in a Taiwanese family that practiced Buddhism/folk religion, converting to Christianity only later in life. Tony’s publications include “Process from Neighbor to Disciple-Maker” in Missional Disciple-Making and “A Chinese Modernity” in Against the Tide (the 2019 EMS volume). 

This paper examines the interplay of the various identities of first generation migrants in America (i.e. Christian vs. non-Christian, Chinese vs. American) to see how the identities influence their religious journey. Research shows that the hybridized identity shows itself in the migrant’s desire to (at different times) become more Chinese, more American, and more Christian. The paper uses a critical social analysis that looks at historical events, economic forces, demographics, socio-psychological issues, cultural backgrounds, political factors, religious effects, and more. 

William P. Payne is a United Methodist Elder and Retired Navy Chaplain. He currently serves as the Harlan & Wilma Hollewell Professor of Evangelism and World Missions and Director of Chaplaincy Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, which is a Graduate Division of Ashland University.

In 2018, a group of leading Irish Evangelical leaders commissioned me to conduct a national survey to determine the religious beliefs, attitudes, and practices of the Irish people. The project was to inform a national evangelistic campaign. The following statement guided the research: We are studying a rapidly changing population because we believe that large numbers of Irish who used to be firmly attached to the Catholic Church will consider evangelical faith if Evangelicals can positively connect to them in winsome ways that overcome negative stereotypes and circumvent obstinate barriers that keep them from considering the Evangelical alternative. This presentation highlights the results of a survey conducted among Irish Catholics to determine how Evangelicals can best engage with Irish Catholics who are disaffected with the Catholic Church.

Wondimu Sonessa is a Ph.D. student in systematic theology at Luther Seminary Advanced Theological Education, in Saint Paul, MN, where he has been a teaching assistant since 2019. He was the Diakonia Summer Institute Coordinator of the Mekane Yesus Seminary, 2011–12; and an instructor at the seminary, 2009–12, including serving as Dean in 2011–12. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals, as a dictionary entry, a book review, and a book chapter.

This presentation reflects on the history of Christianity among the Oromo people in Ethiopia. Beginning with the missionary engagement with the Oromo in 1889 and moving through the present day, the presentation will reflect on the conversion experience of the Oromo people and contend that appreciative inquiry can be used to envision a better future for Christian interaction with Oromo Traditional Religion (OTR) moving into a more religiously plural future.

Panel Presentation:

Priscilla Pope-Levison, convenor and panelist, is Associate Dean for External Programs and Professor of Ministerial Studies, Perkins School of Theology/SMU. Her most recent book, Models of Evangelism (Baker Academic, 2020), will be the subject of the session.

Soong-Chan Rah, panelist, is Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary.

Rochelle Scheuermann, panelist, is Associate Professor of Evangelism & Leadership, Wheaton College.

This panel will focus on the recent book, Models of Evangelism (Baker Academic, 2020), and its application to the teaching of evangelism in college and seminary classrooms, to Sunday School classes and other groups in the local church, and to communities beyond the church and academy.