Since 2013 Encompass World Partners, a national ministry of the Charis Fellowship, has hosted a training and outreach event at their mobilization center in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, Encounter Atlanta will take place June 21–25. Individuals, couples, and groups who are interested in crossing boundaries, learning about other cultures, including how to share the love of Jesus, are invited to attend.
This five-day experience entails hands-on training, culture encounters, and local outreach. During a typical week, participants will undergo training to prepare for the day’s activities. Groups often visit a religious center, such as a mosque or temple, to learn about religious worldviews such as Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Groups will then debrief their experience over a meal relating to that culture, creating a multi-sensory experience.
John Ward, director of mobilization, said, “Gaining understanding of religious worldviews shows us how we can effectively share our faith and cross those cultural boundaries and barriers.”
As part of the training, a believer with a background in Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism will share their testimony of how they came to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior, as well as explain their previous religious worldview. “This breaks down barriers of fear and gives people some courage to know they can do this,” John said, “they can befriend the person in their own community that is from another culture or faith tradition.”
Groups also visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. “We talk about what it means to really consider our own bias and prejudice as we cross ethnic and cultural barriers,” John said. The center walks through the history of the Civil Rights Movement, highlighting the history of the movement in Atlanta.
Encounter Atlanta engages in local outreach through existing connections and partnerships Encompass has in the Atlanta area. Groups serve in the community by doing clean-up projects at schools and in community parks, assisting at a medical clinic, hosting pop-up Bible clubs.
In addition to the Encounter Atlanta experience in June, Encompass is organizing an Encounter experience in Columbus, Ohio, in August. Encompass also hosts groups at other times of the year, and they invite you to reach out to them based on a time that might work for your group here.
Registration for Encounter Atlanta is open until June 1 and can be found here.