The board of Evangelism and New Churches (ENC) has announced that the Rev. Philip Wheeler will be its new Director, to continue its work of evangelism and church planting.
Mr Wheeler replaces the Rev Bruce Hall who has directed the organisation for the past four years.
ENC grew from the well-established Department of Evangelism, run by the late evangelist John Chapman over four decades in the 20th century.
As well as providing and training evangelists, ENC also took on the task of raising up church planters, planting new churches and working alongside parishes in their church planting with a special focus on ethnic ministry opportunities.
Archie Poulos, the chairman of ENC paid tribute to the outgoing director, saying “Bruce Hall has been tireless in calling us to gospel opportunities, especially amongst the changing population of our Diocese, and has been relentless in enabling us to commence new ministries. He has excited a whole generation for evangelistic church planting through his personal advice and constant challenge to honour Christ.”
The Archbishop has asked Mr Hall to continue in the role of Cross Cultural Ministry Consultant for the Diocese.
Phil Wheeler comes to the role after 12 years as Rector of Gladesville. Prior to that he was involved in university ministry. He currently sits on the Boards of Katoomba Christian Convention and Anglican Deaconess Ministries.
“The entire Board of ENC is convinced of the importance of the ministry of ENC and we prayed fervently that God would raise up the right man for the task. We are absolutely delighted and thankful to God for Phil’s acceptance of this position.” Mr Poulos said. “Phil brings to ENC years of wise ministry experience, sharp evangelistic gospel thinking, and an outstanding ability to gather people together in mission.”
The new director said he believed it was imperative for ENC to be developing “new and fresh, risk-taking initiatives in mission across the city”.
“The biggest resource we have, apart from the Lord Jesus himself and his Spirit and word at work, is the thousands upon thousands of Christians in every church, every week.” Mr Wheeler said. “We’ve got to work at the basic, evangelistic and missional reach of every person. We need a lot of encouragement because it is getting harder and harder to do, especially as our culture increasingly regards us as weird and doesn’t want to hear from us.”
Mr Wheeler also signalled his predecessor’s priority on cross-cultural mission will continue.
“We have done quite well with Chinese churches, and some reaching those of Korean background, but there are whole new untapped cultures and subcultures from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. ENC is one of the key organisations promoting mission and outreach in a city that in 25 years time will be a million people more and even more culturally diverse.”
Photo credit: Anglican Deaconess Ministries