WHAT TO TELL
OTHERS ABOUT THE
HOW DO YOU SAY IT?
It usually starts with a casual talk and ends up in talking about related topic to God or church or religion. Then you may ask:
After answering the question, if the person does not give details, then ask the person the following question:
‘What church do you go to?’
The person answers and then in return asks you the same question about the church that you go to. Your answer would be:
From there the person usually says:
‘I have not heard of this church before. What is the Coptic Church?’
When the conversation reaches that level, it opens for a short talking about our church. So, you always start with giving an attractive aspect about our church. This is what you usually say:
“The Coptic Church started by St. Mark the evangelist
who wrote the second gospel. He came to
“All together like a recipe. You know recipe. What would happen to a recipe when people start changing the original recipe?”
The person often answers:
‘The original recipe is lost.
Immediately, you say:
‘This is what happened to many churches that lost their connection to that first teaching given by Christ. People start changing until they lost the original wonderful rich spirituality. But, thanks to God, the Coptic Church still has it.”
This introduction coming out of a casual talk does not take more than a few minutes. The people usually get very interested in this kind of church.
If you have a few more minutes, then you might need to talk about the most important aspects of the Coptic Church, its spirituality. You may say something like this:
you know, Christ chose His apostle to live with Him for three years, days and
nights. He showed them how to lead a
rich spiritual life. He taught them the
prayers they use when they pray. This great
spiritual experience of the apostles of Christ was delivered to the Coptic
Church. People were thirsty to
spirituality and they immersed into it.
From this spirituality of the Coptic Church the monasticism started and
attracted thousands to travel to
If you have the time, and the person responded favorably, you continue from there to talk about a touch of history. You say something like this:
‘The Lord lived for three
years with His disciples and taught them all aspects of faith and
There were no Catholics or Evangelicals or Baptists. First division came in 451 A.D. when the church was divided into the Oriental churches and the western churches. From there the western churches suffered many divisions. You use a piece of paper to draw this quick history outline(refer to this drawing and explanation in: ‘What happened to the church left by Christ?’ lesson).
of this quick history is to reach the conclusion that the Oriental churches,
especially the Coptic Orthodox Church, kept the original faith as it was left
by Christ. The Oriental
Churches did not live through the corruption and major changes that happened to
the western churches in
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When you reach this point and the person still interested in the Coptic Orthodox Church, then it is time to share more. This does not suggest that all these conversations should take place in one time. Now, it is time to give the person “The Legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church” brochure to read, or even better you tell the person about its content.
The author of this brochure picked up the most important aspects of the Coptic Church that appeal to the Americans and introduced them in the brochure in a simple but attractive and appealing way. So, what do you need to do is to review all the aspects mentioned in the brochure, understand them, and remember each. Use one or more in your conversation when it goes beyond what mentioned above.
Before, during, and after talking to the person you need to pray to God to open the heart and mind of the person. Show the person Christian love, humbleness, respect, and care.
I am going to display the content of the brochure later on.
Until we prepare our churches to receive Non-Copts, we all will continue to face the question:
Where to go from here?
Experience of years of inviting Non-Copts to the church to attend the Divine Liturgy mostly have led to disappointing result, because they leave after you spend time and efforts in order to bring them to church. It is sad to say that you enter them from one door and others, intentionally or not intentionally, open the back door to let them go. I am going to talk about ‘How to prepare our church for Non-Copts?’ in a different topic.
But for now, it is important to make you aware of the reality that we still live in the Coptic Church. Until the church is ready, I suggest one of the following:
1-Establish a short service for the Non-Copts to attend, such as the Saturday evening Raising of The Incense, providing that there is an awareness among the priests and deacons that prayers should be in English and Doxologies should be limited to two or three. The prayers should be followed by a Bible study, in which people would be introduced to the richness of the church spirituality and its deep roots that go back to Christ Himself and His apostles.
2-If the above is not possible,
then, invite the person to a Bible study for
Non-Copts, either in the church or at someone’s house (for example
your house). I have very important observations about the way we conduct Bible
study. Somehow, the Bible study usually turned to be a sermon. Although, it is
a Bible study, but the leader never asks someone to read a verse or to check
out other similar verses that deal with the topic. This static Bible study will
not work in the
3-If none of the above is possible; do not stop talking about our church. As the sower in the parable (Luke 8:4-15) you need to continue to sow your seeds whenever and wherever possible, leaving it up to the Spirit to water the seeds and to pick up the time for continuing the job inside the church. Remember, results are not our task.
Here is the brochure to use in order to continue with your conversation about the Coptic Orthodox Church:
The Legacy of the
Coptic Orthodox Church
Come and discover
A spiritual Christian treasure that was founded in Egypt 2000 years ago, prophesized about in the Bible, blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ in His visit to Egypt, and now transferred to thousands of locations around the globe.
The Coptic Orthodox Church was founded in 56 AD by St. Mark, the writer of the second Gospel of the New Testament. He was one of the apostles who lived with Christ for over three years. He walked with Jesus, conversed with Him about theological issues, listened to His public sermons and His private teaching to His disciples, witnessed His miracles, and learned from Him how to worship and how to walk down the divine path that leads to a fulfilling spiritual life.
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St. Mark arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, approximately 23 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. There, he met people who were eagerly waiting for a heavenly message. They were longing to find a faith that encompasses the full truth, which satisfies their search for God, and answers the ever-lasting questions that man has asked about God, the universe, life, death, evil, and good.
St. Mark preached Christianity in its full truth of the
One-Living God, whose Son was incarnated to reveal that He is the only truth,
life, and path that man needs to know in order to have peace of mind, joy in
heart, and a fulfilling life. St. Mark
then established the first Christian theological school in the world. This profound school - historically known as
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The legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church is based upon keeping the original faith and beliefs as taught by Jesus Christ, received by the apostles, and delivered to the members of the Coptic Church by St. Mark the apostle, without alteration until this day. The Coptic Church believes that the church should be obedient to what the Lord has established and must not be an initiator of altering beliefs. It must be a keeper ” for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3).
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Moreover, St. Mark trained people on how to worship and how to gain a fulfilling spiritual life. This deep spirituality remains until the present time, as a uniquely amazing characteristic of the Coptic Church. It dramatically changed peoples’ lives then, and it still continues to inflame peoples’ spiritual lives.
In the fourth century, this sparkling spirituality in
Some of them returned to their homeland and established monastic lives in their own countries, and this was the start of a great monastic movement that spread all over the world, especially in Europe. Others, like Cassian and Palladius, wrote books about what they had witnessed in the Egyptian monasteries. A visitor described the Coptic monasteries as, “heaven on earth,” and described hermits as, “heavenly human beings or earthly angels.”
The Desert Fathers left behind a well-established spiritual path that leads to the highest level a person may reach. They kept for the church, until today, a peaceful, joyful, safe, and fulfilling Christian spirituality that has no other match, because its roots go back to its founder Jesus Christ, the only source of divine spirituality.
So, the second aspects of the legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church is its deep spirituality that lived gracefully by Christ himself and His disciples, delivered fully to the Coptic Church by St. Mark, kept faithfully by its members in all ages, and practiced heavily by its monks, nuns, and hermits.
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“There will be an altar to the Lord in the
midst of the
This is the only prophecy in the Bible about a future church with a Christian altar. This future church, the Coptic Church, was blessed once again by the only visit that Jesus, Virgin Mary, and Joseph made to another country. The Coptic Orthodox Church has captured the full light that shined over the world 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ, the incarnate God. It lived faithfully to its enlightenment, and kept the torch of spirituality burning until this day.
So, the third aspect of the legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church is based on a biblical prophecy that refers to the Coptic Church as an altar and a pillar to the Lord. Also, the Coptic Orthodox Church is a biblical church that considers the Bible as its first and foremost theological and spiritual source.
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Among more than 20,000 Christian sects and denominations
exist today, the Coptic Orthodox Church, along with very few other Orthodox
Churches, can faithfully proclaim that it kept the original teachings of
Christianity, from its inception until this day without changes. However, in regards to spirituality, it
stands out with its own unique spirituality that is strongly felt in its
current liturgies, prayers, and worship. Its practical faith was once put to
test in the tenth century. Faced by
either genocide or moving of a mountain near
So, the fourth aspect of the legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church is its practical, strong faith that once moved the mountain, a faith that no other church can claim.
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Here, is a church that is as old as Christianity itself. Everything it believes in or it practices has been accurately delivered to it from one generation to the next. It is the historical church that Jesus has left behind; it did not diminish over the centuries, nor did it change.
Its claim of keeping the original faith has its own evidence, the blood of millions of its own individuals who preferred to be slain than to deny Christ or even to accept a false teaching or a teaching that is different from what they have received from their ancestors.
The fifth aspect of the legacy of the Coptic Orthodox Church is based on the fact that it paid a high price to keep the faith pure and without changes; the blood of millions of its martyrs.
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In conclusion, it is the church that still keeps the
pure pearls of the
As a reminder, this is a church that is not only a few hundred years old or was established a few decades ago, as it is the case of the majority of other churches. It is not a church that proclaims that it is biblical, but it based its theology and Bible interpretation on the thinking of one person, the founder, who has no connection to the original church that was founded by our Lord Christ and His apostles. But, the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded by one of the apostles, and a writer of the Gospels, St. Mark. So, all its theology and Bible interpretation came directly from the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles.
Dear friend, I invite you to visit a Coptic Orthodox Church to discover the hidden treasure of Christianity, to witness a heavenly worship that is as old as Christianity itself, and to touch a spirituality that would fill your entire life with complete inner peace and joy.
Coptic Orthodox Church has thousands
of parishes in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Africa, and
You are invited to send me your questions or inquiry about the Coptic Orthodox Church. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Coptic Orthodox Church, you may visit the following web sites:
For your church to print its name, address, telephone numbers, web page, and e-mail addresses.
To order this brochure or other brochures about the Coptic Orthodox Church, please write to:
The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the
Telephone (817) 424-3008
Fax (817) 488-5470
Copyright @ 2000 by Victor Beshir