Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
www.suscopts.org
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I've recently been reading spiritual books, besides the Holy Bible of course. The ones that have really spiked my interest and zeal for God are the books on evangelism. As much as I love the Coptic Church, I have noticed that we do not put as much emphasis as some other churches, namely the protestant churches, on the Great Commission. Of course, considering the persecution of the Copts in Egypt, it's very understandable why our culture as Coptic Orthodox Christians is not centered on evangelism as are other churches in the U.S. What I have learned through my readings is that many believe that we as Christians have a duty to bring others to Christ, to the point where it should be our main priority in life, next to building our relationships with God. Is this a correct view on evangelism, or if not, what is your personal opinion on the amount of time and effort one should spend evangelizing? Of course, God plays the biggest role in revealing himself to others, but what is the extent of our roles as Christians in the evangelizing process? I am very willing to share the Gospel with others and to "create disciples" as our Lord commanded the apostles to do, but I need some direction from our church teachings in order to do so in the correct manner.

Evangelism is indeed a very important component of the Coptic Orthodox Church. There is no doubt that what started in the late 1960's as the first wave of Egyptian immigration to the West is not a mere coincidence. The Copts are still a young nation in the western cultures, but by the grace of God,the Church isspreading her wings rapidly. Many churches have initiated programs and classes for converts and inquirers at the parish level. Each year, we try to have at least one Mission tripto various regions around the world to reveal and share inthe global Coptic Orthodox evangelism efforts and to learn from these experiences and from the pioneers in evangelism. Many lessons aregleaned in the evangelism approach, which not only demand teaching but also emptying oneself and serving with a loving heart. Manyrecent convertshave revealed that what sparkedtheir interest in the Coptic Orthodox Church has been the result of witnessing the conduct of CopticOrthodox individuals inan array ofsituations, work, school, social gatherings, neighbors, friends, etc. These faithful individuals represent the living Gospel in action. Most of them may never know the profound impact they hadon a lost soul, but indeed their livesare a living testimony, the exemplary witness, and evangelism at its best.The SUS Diocese has an evangelism program onour web page and hosts an annual evangelism conference. Please visit the Diocese site for upcoming events.

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