2017 Denman Evangelism Awards presented


From L to R: Mrs. Teri Nave, Rev. Matt Hearn, Mrs. Karen Forrester

Two South Georgia United Methodists have been awarded UM’s highest evangelism honor, the Harry Denman Evangelism Award.

The Harry Denman Evangelism Award program honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism – expressed in Word (what), Sign (why), and Deed (how) – brings people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.

Each year Annual Conferences and the Foundation for Evangelism recognize one youth, one clergy, and one lay person in each conference. In South Georgia, nominations for this award are submitted to the Conference Witness Team, who then prayerfully chooses a recipient for the award.

This year’s award winners are: for clergy, Rev. Matt Hearn; and for laity, Mrs. Teri Nave. For 2017, there were no youth nomination submitted for this award.

Evangelism happens in many contexts and many settings; impacts and engages all generations; and requires relationship among a variety of persons. What distinguishes a Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipient is the commitment to consistently introduce others to the Good News of Jesus Christ in all ministry settings. Their ministry is exceptional for the number of new Christ followers who credit encounters with this person as critical in helping to start or reignite their faith journey.

Rev. Matt Hearn, senior pastor of Gateway Pooler United Methodist Church in Effingham County, is the 2017 clergy award recipient.

Since the start of Gateway there have been 742 commitments to Christ. The number itself is amazing, but the testimonies of some of those numbers tell the real story.

“Matt has a heart for the unchurched and considers them his mission field,” said one member of Rev. Hearn’s congregation. “Knowing that many struggle with traditional church methods, he utilizes the technology of our culture to present the gospel.”  

Terri Nave, a staff member of Harvest United Methodist Church in Byron, is this year’s laity Denman Award recipient. According to the application submitted for Nave, ministry is not a job for her, it is the heartbeat of her life. Nave loves Jesus and she loves people. Regularly she finds ways to share Christ in her everyday life. There will be dozens and dozens of people in heaven because Nave led them to intersect their lives with Christ.

In her nomination, it was stated that, “Throughout her life, Teri has seized moments to reach others. When those moments didn’t present themselves, she created environments where could influence the lives of others. “

“Since 1982, the South Georgia Conference has celebrated the outstanding personal evangelism ministries of United Methodist clergy, laity and youth,” said Karen Forrester, Conference Witness Team chairwoman. “These two individuals are shining examples in their local congregations and communities of what it means to be ‘Alive Together in Christ.’”

The Foundation of Evangelism promotes, encourages and provides resources to grow Wesleyan evangelism bringing all people into a life transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. To nominate clergy, laity or youth for the 2018 Harry Denman Evangelism award, contact Karen Forrester at karenforrester65@gmail.com.