Denman Evangelism Awards

The Harry Denman Evangelism award was begun by The Foundation for Evangelism in 1981 as a way to honor United Methodist clergy, laity and youth in each Annual Conference who exhibit unusual and outstanding efforts for their work in Christian evangelism. The award is named for the late Dr. Harry Denman, a Birmingham native and distinguished lay evangelist, who founded the Foundation on Evangelism in 1949.

Clergy, laity and youth are eligible for this award and please note a primary indicator of this award is the fact that it showcases professions of faith. Neither the size of the local church, the age or gender of the nominee, nor the length of their service will limit eligibility.

Who is Harry Denman?

Harry Denman was once described by a bishop as the kind of man who could carry the flag at the head of the parade and at the same time beat the drum, setting the cadence for the march. His leadership in evangelism was unique as was his personal life and witness. He was one who went up to persons and always held out his hand, saying "Where do you preach?" His friendships encircled the world, and he was at home in a variety of settings.

Dr. Billy Graham refers to Harry Denman as "one of the Lord's greatest servants." He further states "I had no better friend or greater supporter or better counselor in my evangelistic work than Harry Denman."

To meet Harry Denman was to feel the force of his personality and to be challenged by it. The impact of his spiritual and physical presence is not easily forgotten. He moved tirelessly, confidently, dedicated to one objective: to witness for the Lord, Jesus Christ. When he was part of a group, whether with colleagues or strangers, businessmen or politicians, the conversation was shifted by Harry to the Bible, prayer, and the Risen Lord whom he sought continually to serve. He commanded attention by his dedication and singleness of purpose. Harry Denman was a layman who had the gift of making people want to listen whether he was speaking with one person or to a multitude. He was a person who never accepted "no" as final. He sought to try that which others thought could not be done, and he succeeded.

Love for the Lord and his fellow human beings was the keynote of his life. He stood for many things that are today coming to pass, but were not popular causes in his own day: the equality of persons regardless of sex, nationality, or race; simplicity of life-style, disregard of false values of materialism; and a search for the true values of life taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Harry Denman was truly a "fisher of all persons." He sought to lead the Board of Evangelism into wide presentations of the Gospel to reach people. His personal dedication forced him to follow Christ totally, and he sought to lead others to have what he had: total commitment to a life of faith. He told it like it was as best as he understood it. He did not hesitate to give answers to the tough questions of personal faith, nor did he fail to admit his own personal weakness and frequently asked another person to "pray for me."

Harry Denman died on November 8, 1976. As a driving force which had been felt all across North America and into the far reaches of the world, his voice was silenced, but his memory lives on in the thousands of men and women who were touched with the love of Jesus Christ as shared through him. It is little wonder that he bears a reputation as "The St. Paul of The United Methodist Church."

To find out more about the Foundation for Evangelism click here

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