Lisa Orris Named Director of Evangelism

Post a Comment » Written on September 4th, 2008     
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CHICAGO, IL (September 4, 2008) – Lisa Orris has been named director of evangelism for the Department of Church Growth and Evangelism of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Orris has been a member of the department’s staff for the past two years, working in areas of evangelism and most recently providing leadership to The Feast this past June in Green Lake, Wisconsin. She will formally assume her new duties September 15.

Orris-2A graduate of North Park Theological Seminary, Orris and her pastor husband, Bill, have been involved in local church ministry for several years, an experience she says has helped prepare her for this new role. “Working in local church ministry provides a good sense of how local churches operate—what’s expected of the pastor, how the congregation views ministry,” she notes.

She also credits her seminary training with providing a sound theological education while nurturing a deep spiritual foundation—“it gave me the tools I need as I evaluate the ways in which our approaches to evangelism need to change.”

And change is needed, she says, especially given shifts over the past 50 years within the Christian community and the culture in general. “We are in a new world,” she observes, one that does not share the same values of 50 years ago. “Many people today do not know the Bible, and they do not value or even trust the church. We need to help our churches discover how to effectively minister to a post-modern, post-Christian world.”

Put differently, she says that as the shifts continue, “we need to learn how to be missionaries to our own culture.”

Some changes have already been implemented, including revision of the well-known “One Step Closer” evangelism workshop developed a decade ago under the direction of then-director of evangelism Lon Allison, who now directs the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton. “The workshop has been totally rewritten, refreshed and retooled,” she notes.

Orris credits three individuals with recognizing and encouraging development of her gifts in the area of evangelism training. Allison and another previous director of evangelism, Art Greco, encouraged her to attend a Leighton Ford conference in Canada. “They saw potential and encouraged me,” she recalls. It was Greco who later invited her to join the Covenant’s evangelism team. And, going back even further, it was Gary Walter, former executive minister of the department and now president, who allowed her to complete her one-year seminary internship in the department.

“You can see God’s hand in it all along,” Orris reflects.

Her first official duty will be facilitating an evangelism roundtable September 15, an event designed to gather some of the best evangelism practitioners to discuss the future of evangelism in the Covenant. “These folks are doing amazing ministries bringing people to Jesus Christ,” Orris says. “We want to listen, learn, evaluate and move forward.” She also plans to spend the majority of weekends through the remainder of the year visiting local churches to learn more of their ministry initiatives and gain their insights.

She and her husband have three children: Billy, 19, who attends Iowa State University majoring in business; Lauren, 17, a senior at Palatine High School; and Michael, 14, a freshman at the Palatine school in the community where the family resides.

To learn more about the Covenant’s evangelism efforts, and to read Orris’ new blog, please visit Evangelism – One Step Closer.

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