From Christian Today:
Influential evangelical and Alpha pastor Rev Nicky Gumbel yesterday sang the praises of the Catholic Church for being at the fore in bringing new Christians to faith in Jesus.
Gumbel, of Holy Trinity Brompton, the heart of Anglican church growth in the diocese of London and the nation, told a gathering of nearly 900 Catholic bishops, priests and laity: “I love the Catholic Church – she is leading the way in evangelisation.”
He spelled out his Alpha recipe for success, but said key to his current thinking was the 2013 encyclical of Pope Francis on evangelisation and the joy of the gospel, Evangelii Gaudium.
Everyone, not just Catholics, should read the encyclical and put it into practice. He said he was reading and re-reading it. “If every Christian in England put Evangelii Gaudium into practice the nation would be transformed,” Gumbel said, adding that the Church would also be revitalised and transformed.
…Many Catholic churches around the world use an adapted version of the Alpha programme for evangelisation.Alpha as a parish based tool makes a lot of sense for Roman Catholic Church, said Gumbel. “If the parish system didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it.”
He said it was important for Church leaders to be close to people outside as well as inside the Church. He loves meeting people, hearing where they are and what their questions are.
“Evangelise according to your gifting, whether your gift is pastoring or something else. Involve everyone,” he said, advocating the “small” approach. “I love the small group. I love smelling of the sheep, as the Pope would say.”
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