Department of Mission and Evangelism
When all is said and done, a church justifies its existence only by its obedience to the last great command of its Lord and Master:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. (Matthew 28: 19)
Tirunelveli Diocese of Church of South India has been a blessing for the stirring growth of missions. Its department of Mission and Evangelism commemorates its impetus involvement in the varied facets of missions in building the people in the neighborhoods to the glory of Triune God, the Almighty. Since the inception of the Tirunelveli church in A.D 1778 evangelism is the inhalation of the people in the church. The department was formed in 1985 to integrate the evangelistic outlook in Tirunelveli to formulate the mission expansion in a healthier mode. The ministries which we are doing are enlisted as follows:
1. Proclamation- Tirunelveli Diocese Evangelistic Band
The Band was founded in 1854 by the renowned missionary Ragland to concentrate on personal dialogue and massive evangelism in a chosen location. The team stays in a pastorate for a maximum of 20 days. There is 8 staff in the Band. They are engrossed in ministries like prayer ministry, personal evangelism, Jesus film ministry, house and family visitation, van ministry, street preaching and evangelistic campaign in village and urban churches. New faith holders will be encouraged for water baptism in the local church context. Regular and fervent follow up by the Band members promotes growth in the churches. Every month they change the camp spot.
2. Annual Outreach in other districts
Since 1976 we have been doing our ‘Annual Outreach Ministry’ in other districts, it has become a regular feature of the Diocesan Outreach Missionary work. The Bishop of Tirunelveli leads the group every year. About 200 Evangelists participate in this ministry. The interest shown by the laity in this programme is remarkable. We also have a follow- up ministry in this particular area.
3. Assistance for the poor- Festival of Mission and Evangelism
Once in a year the DME conduct the ‘Festival of Mission and Evangelism’ in our church councils. The purpose of the festival is to create awareness among the churches in Mission and Evangelism. The outcome of the festival would be to create a sense of sharing and action groups to develop a diaconal ministry which is the ultimate aim of the Mission programme of the Church of South India. The income through these festivals are being used to help the people like poor, family of the prisoners, handicapped, widows, needy for educational and medical help and the marginalized people in our society by giving them wet grinder, sewing machine, goat, tricycle, bicycle, educational help and medical help. Every December DME helps 1000 poor people by giving them a new dress and a lunch for the Christmas. God has richly blessed the Evangelistic efforts of the diocese. Still we have a long way to go. The need of the people is so great. “The Harvest is plenty, Workers are few.”
4.Leprosy ministry and Gipsy ministry (among narikkuravar)
We do ministry and conducting Sunday service and do all pastoral ministries among the lepers and Gipsy people in the place called PuthuPettai in Tirunelveli district. Every year we conduct VBS for their children in this area. One of our ministers is doing this ministry among these people.
5.Revival and Prayer Harvest Team – REAPHART
The REAPHART ministry came in to existence on 1 July 2004 to fulfill the vision of the double fold in our diocese. The motto is ‘Prayer’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Arise’ and Shine’.45 full time ministers ministering in REAPHART. The task is
a. To empower the congregations with the vision to reach the unreached
b. To gather the congregations and lead them in to prayer for missions.
c. To build new churches in new villages
d. To establish prayer cells and follow up them regularly.
e. To start house worships in the villages where we don’t have
churches and facility for worship. f. To reach the unreached people by sharing Good News to them.
We handover House worshiping groups to the local pastorate, when they became mature in worship, thereby the local existing church congregation helping them by building a new church for these new believers. Through this Harvest team and its ministries, we start new House Worships and there we have worship service every week to glorify his name.
6.Diocese Fasting Prayer
Third Saturday of every month, we have a Diocese Fasting Prayer in various churches in our church councils, here we lead and encourage the congregations to pray for various ministries and need of the society.
On Christmas day, every year about 1500 inmates of the Central jail Palayankottai, women’s jail, kokkirakulam and the children rehabilitation home are being fed mutton biriyani by Department of Mission and Evangelism. Also we give them a spiritual food by conducting the special meeting consisting of songs, bible reading, choreographies and preaching the word of God by our Bishop. A special feature of this ministry is to look after the needs of the prison inmate’s family and the affected.
8.Mass Movement Work
With a view to help the new converts, we construct new churches with the aid of the mass movement fund which has been established at the Diocesan level. This fund is drawn out of the self- denial offertory collected during the Lent.
9.Other special Ministries
Ministry among Muslims, conducting Stewardship camps and Bible study programmes are our other special ministries.
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Our Bishop’s vision is to reach unreached villages in our diocese, sharing Jesus; the Good News to the people will be having 1000 churches in forthcoming years. To achieve this vision the congregations are encouraged to start new house worshipping groups in unreached villages so that we can construct new churches in those areas.
We need your prayer and financial support for these evangelical and social ministries of DME, so that we can work successfully for coming of His kingdom in our society.
Rev. G. Vijayasingh
Department of Mission and Evangelism
Diocese of Tirunelveli.
5, Punithavathiyar Street