The College of Evangelists exists to recognise and affirm evangelists whose ministry is nationwide or at least beyond the confines of any diocese.
We believe that God, in his love, has reconciled us and has given us a ministry of reconciliation. We believe that God has called us to be evangelists and that he has equipped us by the Holy Spirit with the particular gifting to fulfil that calling. We believe that our call to ministry is a call to service, and we will not be motivated by a desire for personal gain. Rather we embrace a sacrificial lifestyle of availability to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Our methods must stem from our conviction of the need to incarnate the Gospel, and a recognition that all of humanity is made in the image of God, with inherent value and dignity.
The church is called to proclaim the Goods News ('Evangel') of God's love for the world in Jesus Christ. Evangelism is not an extra for enthusiasts; it is a central part of being the Church. In all churches there are those with particular gifts for evangelism, people who are good at helping others discover a living relationship with Christ. The New Testament calls such people 'evangelists' and encourages us to recognise and support their gifts.
History of the College
The church has always had evangelists. Much of mainland Europe was first evangelised by pioneers from the British Isles and Ireland. In the last two centuries new churches have been planted by Anglican evangelists on every continent. More recently the need for evangelists in England has been widely recognised once more. Bryan Green and Cuthbert Bardsley in a previous generation and Michael Marshall and J. John in our own come to mind. Some of our religious orders such as the Franciscans have evangelism and evangelists written into their foundation documents. Church Army has been giving specialised training to evangelists for a century, and other Anglican organisations - the Mothers' Union, the Church Pastoral Aid Society and the Fellowship of Parish Evangelists among them - have always had a strong evangelistic emphasis.
In its support for the Decade of Evangelism in the 1990s the House of Bishops set up a Working Party to encourage local schemes for training evangelists. Part of the fruit of their discussions was the setting up of the College of Evangelists for those invited beyond their own dioceses to help in missions or other evangelistic events. On 11th October 1999, the College was inaugurated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at Church House, Westminster.