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Coptic Orthodox Bishopric African Affairs. His Grace Bishop ANTONIUS MARKOS. Tentmaker Missionary 1966 Began to Full-Time mission in Africa in 11 Jan 1976. HARDSHIPS, STRUGGLES and OBSTACLES. EVANGELISM.

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Coptic Orthodox Bishopric African Affairs


Tentmaker Missionary 1966

Began to Full-Time mission in Africa in 11 Jan 1976


 Spiritual building of a Church is crucial before physical church building; must have communal efforts to complete the divine plan

  • Examples:
  • Results of buildings without
  • worshippers -(Vosloorus& ugulethu)
  • Quick ordinations without suitable
  • candidacy

+ve- spiritual building first always


 The book of Acts teaches that the Lord gave the apostles the first gifts of evangelism- strength and courage. Next, the gift of tongues (languages).

  •  His commandment was that they should not leave Jerusalem without power from on high; the ability to adequately communicate, so that people could understand their message.
  • All spiritual resources need translation into local vernacular (mother tongues); without this evangelistic service is lacking.

Do not leave Jerusalem without power from on high


Holistic, evangelistic ministry is essential:

  • James 2:15-16 
  • If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
  • Avoid dependency creation- cultivation of entitlement mentality by answering problems with misdirected cashflow

Holistic view: physical, spiritual, socioeconomic...


Administrative helpers bringing technical skills for service- great help in witnessing if the calibre of these servants is high spiritual standard

  • Shortage of appropriate servants means difficult to attain optimal evangelistic potential
  • Acts 6:2  Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.

appropriate use of human resources: each has a talent


John 15:5  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing

  • Failure to recognise the primacy of the Holy Spirit; the success of mission cannot be measured except through what is supernatural
  • The tasks of the apostles, described in the Book of Acts, could not have been achieved except through the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Embrace the primacy of the Holy Spirit


An evangelist with the presence of genuine and deep spirituality; sincerity, faith, regularity in prayers and fasting, daily union with God in full humility as he/she pleads on behalf of many souls; the measures of human success (intelligence, education...) do not necessarily apply to evangelistic success

  • “Believe in what you read, teach what you believe & practise what you teach.”
  • Diminished spiritual discipline means diminished evangelistic influence

Spiritual discipline: walk the talk


Actions speak louder than words

  • 1 Corinthians 11:1  Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
  • Inconsistency in words and deeds

practise what you preach


A successful evangelist must demonstrate:

  • 1. Deep living faith
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength
  • Service with expectations of earthly rewards (self aggrandisement) is not service to God

+ve characteristic: deep living faith


2. A full sacrificing attitude for the sake of others’ needs- the Church is a group of people who live together in the love of Christ (Matthew 22:34-40)

  • John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
  • Hindrance:Inability to practise self-denial in the missionary service, across cultural boundaries, and in communities, in order to understand people’s styles, customs, traditions and languages obstructs service; concern about self interest

+ve characteristic: self-sacrificial for the sake of others


3. Evangelist must have personal, humble sense of responsibility towards missionlinked with an unshakable faith in God. It is like embracing the thought: “God has created me for a specific task in His name. He assigned me for work not assigned to another. Therefore, I must be committed to the mission. If I am committed the Lord is capable of making sons of Abraham out of stones. I have to believe that I have a mission in this great work and trust the Lord and follow Him in total submission.”

Examples of Moses, Gideon, Judith, Esther and Paul

+ve characteristic: humble, mission perspective


+ The Lord Himself gives an incomparable example in His submission and obedience to the call of the Father, and the fulfilment of the mission following the three years of His public ministry. His missionary life concluded with what some saw as a total catastrophe yet His faith in the Father, and His total submission and obedience led to the redemption of the entire human race.

  • “Missionary saint” or “crazy man”- must keep the true mission foremost in mind and heart and deed.

+ve characteristic: full submission and obedience


+Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

  • Mark 3:21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

+ve characteristic: glorify Christ always


+ With primacy of Holy Spirit and importance of deep spirituality, we should also emphasize the role played by the person through talents, knowledge and preparedness to contribute, so that these resources may lead to a successful, fruitful and extended mission.

  • “Science without a religion is lame, and a religion without science blind.” Albert Einstein

+ve characteristic: prayerful use of talents and gifts


+ Evangelismneeds a supernatural strategy added to by the natural, so that we may follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ of the gospel: the historic Messiah in whom divinity (the supernatural) united with humanity (the natural).

  • + Faith moves mountains but God wants us to use axes, shovels, digging and earth moving equipment, excavation explosives and machinery for moving stones
  • Without a spiritual relationship man is “dust and ashes” & unable to build those things, which never perish

+ ve characteristic: supernatural partnership with the natural


+ The mission field needs listeners as well as missionaries; evangelism depends on the work of the Holy Spirit but a human component is needed.

  • Human skill is needed to communicate the message to listeners, who have to be prepared to receive the message
  • Romans 10:14-15 ... And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? ...
  • Failure to recognise/utilise the Holy Spirit and human partnership

-ve characteristic:trying to do it on one's own


+ Paul, apostle of visions and revelations relied on the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit in his mission.

However, he did not hesitate to use human means:

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

+ve characteristic: celebrate the supernatural / natural partnership


+ The Lord Jesus used many different approaches, dependant on his audience, to communicate:

The use of parables (the prodigal son- Luke 15, the good Samaritan- John 10)

The use of a dramatic human style- turning over the tables of the money-changers and expelling the dove sellers from the temple (John 2:13-17)

A practical demonstration- washing the feet of His disciples

+ve characteristic: versatility


+ The Lord’s will, through His wisdom and love, is to let us join Him in partnership despite our weaknesses, sins, worthlessness or insignificance

Luke 17:10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty

expect the unexpected when there is a divine partner


The Positive Characteristics

of an


+ On a mission from God


1. Called by God

Mastery of ego to carry the mission, as the Lord transforms him/her through the spirit of evangelism.

An evangelistic call often comes:

At a time none expect; In a place none expect; In a way none expect

Examples: Moses the Prophet(Exodus 3:1-10); David the Prophet(1 Samuel 16:13); Elisha the Prophet(1 Kings 19:19-21); Isaiah the Prophet(Isaiah 6:8); Peter(Luke 5:10); Paul(Acts 9:1-2)

+ On a mission from God


2. Conviction of Importance of Mission

His/her mind is transferred from the significance of the pastoral ministry to the importance of the ministry of mission with a resolve that enables continuity in the path of apostleship, regadless of hardships, fights, wasr, ordeals, persecution, expulsion, rejection, derision & regardless of the nature or characteristics of those amongst whom he/she is involved in mission.

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

Convinced of the mission


3. A clear mission vision that enables the evangelist to endure all ordeals for the sake of the future joy of souls believing in Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:16  For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

+ clear mission vision


4. Readiness togowhere called/sent; to cross over boundaries of culture, family, language, clan/ tribe, customs, traditions, race and colour and go to foreign lands to minister to those served for the call of promised, eternal live.

Hebrew 11:13-38

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

flexibility and resilience; spiritual maturity


5. Equipped with relevant skills and capacities

Language: able to communicate in common language; the linguistic qualification was emphasised in Acts 1:4; preparedness to learn vernacular

Educated: must be rich in knowledge to teach others- Church history, evangelism, dogma, theology, and biography of saints

ready to go



  • .
  • Victorious: draws strength from the Lord on every occasion; prepared because of this strength to serve amongst unbelievers
  • Enlightened:
  • ableto determine the levels of learning of those with whom he/ she is dealing;
  • ableto determine traditions and customs, which are in conflict with the Bible and to accept those where there is no conflict
  • beware the trap of contextualising wrong doctrine

Enlightened and resilient


5. A Fervent Heart:

  • A perpetual flame in the heart for salvation of many souls; places all his/ her expertise at the hands of other evangelists because of a sense of connectedness to the shared evangelistic vision
  • inability to share

unconditional love and sharing


6. Constantly growing evangelist: constantly devoting more and more time to the evangelistic service, growing in experience and wisdom and skills; acumen in utilising abilities of catechumens and new converts

7. Living in God’s word: an evangelist who serves as a role model by living the gospel; rejoices greatly in seeing others living in the Spirit

8. Physically fit: although a thorn may be present in the flesh, prepared to energetically seek souls to evangelise

+ve characteristics


6. Spiritual :

bears the fruits of the Holy Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and purity

In great patienceand perseverancethe evangelist endures all thingsfor the sake of the gospel and the evangelism 1 Corinthians 9:12 ... endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

Resilient and humble- may allow some deviations in order that he may win souls for Christ 1 Corinthians 9:19-23For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;

patient, persevering, enduring, resilient and humble


7. (a) Liberated from fear- evangelist must be fearless, brave and daring and trust his/her life in the hands of the Lord; no hesitation, with obedience to the last breath , regardless of dangers or difficulties

Acts 21:13

Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

-ve characteristic: fear


Escape from the mission due to fear of

    • life threatening diseases
    • distorted images cast by the media
    • e.g. Inability to find food, cannabilism
  • Fear leads to denial of Christ
  • Matthew 26:70-74But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” .. But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
  • Mark 14:68-71
  • Luke 22:55-60
  • John 18:17,25,27

-ve characteristic: fear


Fearleads to cocooning oneself and avoidance of facing situations:

  • John 20:19 
  • ...the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
  • Mark 16:10 
  • She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.

-ve characteristic: fear


Contextualisation of wrong doctrine due to fear:

  • Evangelist must have courage to face customs of catechumens, which do not conform with the spirit of the gospel e.g. Ancestor worship, polygamy, sanctioned homicide, theft, adultery, avarice, taking possession of property of others by deceit or force
  • Galatians 2:11-14 ... for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him... But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all

-ve characteristic: fear


+ The Lord encourages disciples and alleviates fears:

Acts 18:9-10 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

1 Corinthians 16:10  And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do

Phil 1:14, Phil 1:20, Phil 1:27-29

+ve charateristic: trust in the Lord to encourage, and alleviate fear


7. (b)Unashamed to proclaim the word of God even if cast out, rebuke or doors are shut in his face, as long as he/she evangelises the word of salvation & the gospel, according to the teachings of our fathers the Apostles according to the orthodox way.

Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 9:26, Romans 1:16, Hebrews 2:11-12, 2 Tim 1:8, 2 Tim 1:12, 2 Tim 1:16, Phil 1:19-20

+ve characteristic: unashamed to preach the gospel of our Lord Christ


7. (c) Liberated from worldly attractions, bonds and standards

An evangelist’s only yearning should be to the gospel reach every soul everywhere. He/she should be void of worldly desires, either good or bad.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

+ ve characteristic: liberation from worldly attractions, bonds & standards


7. (d) Liberated of racism, tribalism, discrimination

The missionary must be capable of serving and evangelizing among all people and to every person, regardless of their apparent: nationality, language, skin pigment, ethnicity, gender, age, place of residence, social and economic status, levels of learning, education, and sophistication

Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,...

+ve characteristic: free of all forms of discrimination


7. (e) Liberated of ego and self-glory- do not seek the accomplishments of large projects with an emphasis on quantity of numbers, serving only to nurture ego and satisfy worldly and human boasting. Instead, he should seek to effectively deliver God’s word to the hearts of the catechumens, and those he serves, with all his powers, so that they are transformed into new minds and hearts. His concern is quality not quantity. Personal fame, name, & status is irrelevant.

2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

Also refer 2 Cor 3:4

+ve characteristic: liberated of ego and self-glory


8. Content with any standard of living or facilities

Philippians 4:11-13 

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

+ve characteristic: to be content in all environments






1. Lack of perception the mother pastoral Church in not channelling the most accomplished ministers for foreigners

  • 2. The evangelist is blamed that he/she does not serve the mother Church- this is a selfish, egotistical view, which overlooks the evangelistic commandments
  • 3. In their foreign missions, the evangelists are forgotten- out of sight, out of mind



4. The evangelists are undermined because of the poverty and need of their catechumens and served ones (some have even attacked the mission, saying: “they minister to animals”

5. Many escape from the narrow way of mission (evangelism) to seek the broad way.

6. Absence of human support and inadequacy of available facilities due to selfishness of pastoral church



7. Giving to the mission field the unfruitful and the weakest servants, and even those of whom the pastoral church want to get rid

8. Intimidation or creating doubts regarding the viability of the mission field; also, spreading harmful false rumours about the difficulty of the mission and the dangers surrounding it, giving the impression that it is impossible to survive in it.

9. The pastoral church calling servants to leave the mission claiming they are exhausted from overwork.



10. Calling back the successful evangelists for some lame reason or another; for the benefit of the pastoral church

11. Attempts to apply the pastoral standards on the mission in rushing to talk about achievements; pressurising and rushing to transfer the mission into a type of parish or modality within a pastoral sphere

12. Employing lucrative financial means to buy catechumens hurts the evangelistic core & the spiritual mission; sabotages mission & invites ruin



13. Inadequate facilities and absence of stability for lengthy periods e.g. The portable altar due to the absence of a building

14. The missionary starts with clearly defined lines for an institution, and without facilities or a clear entity.

15. The evangelist is accused of intentionally moving at a slow pace, or of an intentionally sluggish action, whilst no account is considered of the pace of his catechumens and their ability to respond.



16. Attempts to induce the evangelist to leave the mission, tempting him/her with easier service in the broad way.







Hatred of any other race or culture

B. CULTURAL IMPERIALISM: A Christian who carries and intertwines his culture and language through his Christian faith and then imposes strongly all this onto the receiving church. His attitude is that the new members of the church will not be consider “Christian” unless they accept his the full package which includes his culture and his language.




An attitude of superiority in race and in religion. considering self or own ethnic groups as having “blue (royal) blood” and a superior faith and understanding of the gospel. Hence the receiving church is forced into the mold of the mission church’s culture, as well as faith. Their own natural, cultural beauty is eradicated.




An attitude that reflects that certain races can accept the gospel and become committed to it fully but others may be unable to commit on the same level, leaving them at a “very low standard” of faith. This is based on a belief in the inherent inferiority of some people e.g. believing a certain race can only accept the gospel while being paid in material wealth or benefits has resulted in “rice” or “sugar Christians”.




Paternalism is a misguided compassion that tends to humiliate the would-be receiving church, making them more dependant on the mission church. This suggests that the local people are so helpless that, by themselves, they can’t take care of the smallest matters regarding their spiritual and temporal needs. Some mother churches, who established mission in different cultures and in different ethnicities, remain holding onto this paternalistic attitude always keeping an eye that the receiving church is and will never mature into self dependency.



In trust : Lack of trust in the actions of the Holy Spirit and its work in maturing the local community. The goal should be to reach maturity and independence. The mission church humiliates and belittles the local church as if they can never mature.



In self support : By allowing the receiving church to always remain on the receiving end of all benefits, this shuts the door for a spirit of maturity, self-supporting and self-determination in the growth of the new receiving church, leaving them forever dependant on the mission or host church. But on the contrary the bible states.

  • Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 1 Cor 9:13



In Koinonia : Destroys a very serious area of the spiritual life of a convert which is – “sharing in charitable deeds, (Koinonia)” Whilst they practise and share in prayers and songs together, they never receive the chance to share in self sacrificial activities. It becomes difficult to fast for one another and to give freely to one another because they have not had the opportunity, because the mission church has been handing over to much; no experience of self sacrifice.



In Leadership: Consider local leadership and self-determination as premature and the leadership or (father) has to come from outside the (superior outside) “superman madness.” [ In the Coptic Churches mission in Africa over 30 years, more than twenty local priests from several cultures and tribes have been well trained, educated and ordained to serve their people.]



In spiritual growth: (the love that spoils) Makes the local converts to receive services free of charge, which destroys sense of ownership and the receiving church remains infantile in the management of the church.  

  • Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.Acts 2:45-46
  • Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, Malachi 3:10 - (reward and curse)



In life of the church :

  • Severance of the umbilical chord, without adequate preparation, leads to the death of the baby. On the other hand, the example of the Coptic Orthodox Church surviving for 2000 years under persecution, depending entirely on the local church for all its support and survival, spells resilience and health.



In fruitfulness :

  • Spoiling the local leaders with easy money and material goods brings on laziness which can lead to destruction and loss of spirituality... (no service; no support)



In living simply :

  • Creating dependencies and greed; not on basis of need.
  • “Jesus answered them and said, Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled..” John 6:26



In salvation:

  • Our mission teaches the receiving church to work for the food which never perishes, or is made for everlasting life, not just for the earthly needs.
  • In the spiritual life :
  • Deprives the local church of being built on a spiritual foundation But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves..Jm 1:22



F. Triumphalism = An attitude of Conquering through culture and religious colonization (fruits are self vain glory)

Triumphalismis a very serious form of ethnocentrism. It is the conviction of a sending church that has been so successful and so blessed that it must now share with the receiving church; not only its faith but the cultural qualities of that faith. But in fact, it has paralysed or blinded the receiving church from ever being self-determining or its own entity.



Ego and self-glorification is a great driving force. It blinds the eyes to see the deviated behaviour(bold acts). Irresponsibility leads to offense and shame. It escapes the Bible and actions led by the Holy Spirit and follows self-desire and human emotions. It seduces young men and women leading them into easy mission, exciting practices, street preaching market places and deviates the missions into an opportunity for worldly desires and lustful behavior. Also medical services and healing the sick services can be turned into a business for making money.



Once the outreaching church starts to be driven by any human or earthly motives, like self glorification, propaganda or news coverage, it loses its main anoble and holy aim as an instrument of salvation, working as a partner with our Lord who is working for the redemption of His people motivated by the Holy Spirit. It becomes pushed by egocentrism which defeats the whole purpose of the mission.



Confusionwithin the mission by human motivation may result in a “rebirth” of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the field of mission, stamped with “made in Rome, Egypt, USA” etc



Examples of triumphalism

    • Hasty decisions in administering the sacraments.
    • Looking at the quantity not quality.
    • Media dependency and abuse.
    • Violation of the church sacraments