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Becoming Truly Human Program News

Aspiration Studios Announces 2017 Premiere Date for Documentary BECOMING TRULY HUMAN


Nashville, Tenn. (July 18, 2017) – Aspiration Studios has announced the newest title they will bring exclusively to churches and various non-theatrical venues late this summer. BECOMING TRULY HUMAN, the first feature film about America's religiously unaffiliated, will be programmed in venues beginning August 22, 2017. To inquire about bringing a showing to your area or parish, visit http://theatricast.com/becomingtrulyhuman.  

St. Philip's Prayer Discipline

St. Philip's Prayer Discipline exists to provide a daily balance rule of prayer for those who wish to deepen their spiritual life and to learn to pray as the faithful have done for generations and generations. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip gave his blessing years ago for this Discipline to be created. Over the years, a large number of faithful have joined. They come from many jurisdictions and from far-flung places. Many of those who have become members have preserved and still continue to participate.

Prayer is a human need and all need to seek out the Creator and develop a regular "dialogue" with Him. And, as both, it needs to be developed and honed. The Fathers were well aware of this and that is why they created the role of the spiritual Father, who would train and guide his spiritual children. The goal of this is simple: to teach us to pray diligently and effectively so as to enhance our spiritual lives and to fortify us, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to persevere unto our life's end.

Becoming a member of the Prayer Discipline is very simple. After your own serious reflection and prayer; and, if you are already under the guidance of a spiritual Father, with his blessing, contact the Director, Subdeacon Adam Roberts, at the address provided below.

Florida Priest Sees Outreach Program Grow in Depth and Numbers

By Fr. Michael Byars, Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Ormond Beach, FL

For many years I have felt that in my parish, and in Orthodox Christian parishes in general, there is a need for an evangelism program that is more than simply posting the time of our services and asking parishioners to invite friends to the liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is definitely very powerful and full of the Grace of God. However, I think that most of our parishioners hesitate to invite others to come to an Orthodox Liturgy without laying some ground work that they often do not feel equipped to do. I also suspect that the liturgical services of our church would be even more effective if there were some way to give solid introduction ahead of time.

My experience with evangelism programs, however, has not been positive. I think this is because the focus or the motives of these programs have been wrong. The focus most often seems to be on numbers and the motive often is church growth for the sake of filling the church pews, or even worse, increasing church revenues. I believe true Christian evangelism should be motivated out of love and the desire to share the true life giving Christian faith. We have this treasure in the Orthodox Church. I have thought that it would be great to have a structured evangelism program with this approach. When I was introduced to The Becoming Truly Human Program it immediately attracted my enthusiasm first of all because this program is exactly that.

"We Have Become Friends": A Layperson's Experience in the "Becoming Truly Human" Program

By James Blackstock

Love for others is the engine that drives evangelism.

For many years as a Protestant, I witnessed to others because I thought it was my duty. After all, we had been scripturally mandated by the Great Commission to do so, hadn't we? Unfortunately, try though I might, I can't remember many of the names or personal circumstances of those with whom I shared the Gospel. I mostly thought that my work was finished and the rest was up to God. I wished them well and went on to the next one. After they said the "Sinners Prayer" they were on their own and I rarely even prayed for them, except in a very general sense. As I look back, I realize that this was a very impersonal way to share the Good News.

Over several years, I served on the ministry staffs of several large international ministries who were only interested in how many professions of faith had been made at any given event. The goal in those days was clear, the essence of evangelism was winning converts, someone else would take up the work of discipleship. This approach seemed to work! But, we filled the pews with people who were nominal Christians at best and devoid of any unity in doctrine which led many to the practice of church-hopping in the hopes of finding a deeper meaning to it all.

It goes without saying that Orthodoxy changed my life and my view towards others. I am so grateful to my Archdiocese for making the Truly Human program available to us. The Antiochians have demonstrated an unfaltering and sincere love for others that I can't help but to be inspired by. Our Archdiocese stands out from the others in their evangelistic work. My own priest and spiritual father was received into the Orthodox under the blessing of the late Metropolitan Phillip Saliba when seventeen parishes with 2,000 members were received into the Antiochian Archdiocese in 1987.

Reflections on the Becoming Truly Human Program

"Becoming Truly Human" is an eight week outreach course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese that uses the vehicle of small group discussions and hosted meals to share the love of Christ. The following two articles by a layman and priest, tell the story of how this program is changing lives.

~~For many years as a Protestant, I witnessed to others because I thought it was my duty. After all, we had been scripturally mandated by the Great Commission to do so, hadn't we? Unfortunately, try though I might, I can't remember many of the names or personal circumstances of those with whom I shared the Gospel. I mostly thought that my work was finished and the rest was up to God. (Read James Blackstock's reflection.)

~~For many years I have felt that in my parish, and in Orthodox Christian parishes in general, there is a need for an evangelism program that is more than simply posting the time of our services and asking parishioners to invite friends to the liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is definitely very powerful and full of the Grace of God. However, I think that most of our parishioners hesitate to invite others to come to an Orthodox Liturgy without laying some ground work that they often do not feel equipped to do. (Read a reflection by Fr. Michael Byars.)

"Love for our Brethren": AFR Interview Introduces New Program

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism, especially towards those who have no religion or church affiliation. The program uses the vehicle of small group discussions and shared meals to help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed.

In a June 24, 2015 podcast, Ancient Faith Ministries President John Maddex interviewed Charles Ajalat, one of the program's founding committee members, about the new outreach. Charles is an attorney, the former chancellor of the Antiochian Archdiocese, and a member of the Order of St. Ignatius. As one of the founders of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) North America, Charles is a veteran of start-up efforts, and in the interview he expressed his hopes that this new venture will help people "discuss questions...and then want to go forward into a catechism class with a priest."

An Invitation to Become Truly Human

“Becoming Truly Human” is an eight week course offered by the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to increase effective and relational evangelism.

The program was created to help Eastern Orthodox churches grow both spiritually and physically. The idea behind the course was to give local churches a tangible program which would have a positive impact on the local community. The techniques in the small group discussions help guests to feel loved, listened to, and welcomed. They come for many reasons, but they return because they are being treated as "truly human."

An Introduction to Becoming Truly Human by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
How Do We Define Success?, Editorial by His Grace Bishop John

Our lives in this modern world become so busy that we are constantly distracted from asking ourselves the fundamental questions and reflecting on the importance of their meaning in our lives.

An Introduction to Becoming Truly Human from Metropolitan Joseph

April 30, 2015

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

For us, Orthodox Christians, this joyful proclamation of Pascha both gives meaning to our present lives and points us to the eternal joy of our own resurrection.

In our exuberance, it is easy to forget that most of our neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens have no idea that this joy is even a possibility for them. While a great majority of Americans state their religion as Christian, only a small percentage of these self-proclaimed Christians attend a church on a regular basis. Our parish and mission cities are filled with both lapsed Christians and those who don't believe in Christ.

You have heard me, as your Metropolitan, state on many occasions that we must work together to spread the beautiful faith that is Orthodoxy. Can we truly say we are fi lled with the joy of the Resurrection, but find a way to keep it to ourselves? By no means!

For this reason, I have directed the program "Becoming Truly Human" be established, so that our churches would be equipped to share the Orthodox faith effectively. Already, over forty of our parishes are in the process of running it. We want people who otherwise might have no meaningful contact with our Church to be given the opportunity to "Come and see," as the earliest Christians said to their neighbors, inviting them to know Christ. 

It is my hope that all of our communities would participate in this effort. You can begin by contacting the "Becoming Truly Human" program coordinator, Adam Roberts, adamr@antiochian.org (615-971-0000) or the program consultant, Fr. Michael Nasser, frmichaeln@gmail.com (270-823-3371).

How Do We Define Success?

by His Grace Bishop John, from the June 2015 issue of The Word

How do we define success? How do we know when our parish is succeeding? How do we evaluate the ministry of your parish? How do we know we are doing what God wants us to be doing?

For answers to these and similar questions, stay tuned to this edition of The WORD, where I hope to offer some articles, solutions, and even more questions!

Who are we? What is our mission? What are our values? What are we doing with what we know?

We are God's own people, His holy nation, ordained in our baptism to bring the world to God and God to His world. Our mission is to love the Lord our God with our whole mind, being and soul, to share His love, taking care of His people, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What we value is sharing in God's life, free of temptation, bad choices and sin. What we are doing is gathering together in God's name, preparing and fortifying each other to be successful in our mission. We are opening God's house to all the people whom God calls our neighbor.