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Becoming Truly Human

For more information, please visit becomingtrulyhuman.com.

The "Becoming Truly Human" program offers those outside the Church a comfortable, inviting and gentle introduction to the fullness of our human lives, as offered within Orthodox Christianity. The goal of the program is to help fulll the Great Commission according to the two Great Commandments of Christ: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Please check back as additional resources become available!

 

Becoming Truly Human Program News 

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.)

Becoming Truly Human Program News Archive