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A Church Without Evangelism isn’t a Church
Why does God not take us to Heaven immediately after we’re born again? I was pondering this years ago, and the only reasonable answer I could come up with was: to help others being born again.
We can, and will, worship in Heaven. We can hang around, have a good time, and organize Marquee festivals in Heaven. But we can’t invite others to Heaven when we’re well there.
This is why the Great Commission to make new disciples (Mt 28:18-20) is not just a mission, it is the mission and the primary reason why we even have church.
This is why we need to advertise and tell people about our meetings and events. We need to evangelise and share our testimonies to people we encounter. We need to be present in the public sphere and show an alternative to the consumerism, patriotism and false religions that are already being proclaimed out there. (more…)
Jesus Church: All Disciples Should Evangelise
Originally posted at Jesus Army’s Forward Blog.
In my last blog post, I explored the fellowship of Jesus and His disciples in the gospels, treating it as church. This has big implications.
Jesus managed to pastor his church without a church building. Most of the sermons he held weren’t even indoors. He would preach from the top of a mountain, in a field, at the temple courts or in a boat. His preaching was directed at people who didn’t follow Him just as much as to those who already were His disciples. In fact, when He talked to the disciples, He engaged in dialogue, listening to their views and responding with divine insight.
In Jesus’ church, it was impossible to be a disciple without interacting with non-believers almost daily. Jesus was charismatic in the dual sense of the word, attracting large crowds wherever he went. There were often discussions and debates with those who disagreed. On top of that, Jesus commanded:
Go… to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” (Matthew 10:6-8)
Worhip on the Streets
Originally published on the Jesus Youth website.
During the last six months, a group of young people from around the UK have been gathering together to worship God on the streets and tell people about Jesus.
It all started after the Jesus Army’s main youth event, RAW, in August, 2016. Jack Brown from Northampton thought that it was amazing to see young people set ablaze for God, but that it shouldn’t just have to happen once a year. He approached some people from Coventry and talked about reaching out to others and equipping the church.
The format has been that young people from different locations and regions gather together, head out to the street and evangelise for a couple of hours. After that, the youth go to a local Jesus Army community house for some food and fellowship. (more…)
Obeying Jesus Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
I was talking to a church leader the other day about why they quit doing public evangelism, which reached tens of thousands of people and led many to the Lord and made many join the church. The main reason was that they had even higher expectations on the fruits the street evangelism would bring, and there was even a demanding pressure centrally from the denomination that basically was never satisfied. 25 years of this created a weariness and bitterness which in turned spawned a backlash, making the church quit public evangelism altogether.
The church leader said to me that there are people in the congregation who used to be very skilled in leading people to Christ but that now want nothing to do with street evangelism. They’ll still share the Gospel if they get the opportunity, but they hardly ever get the opportunity. Their anxiety caused by not meeting expectations was cured by lowering expectations to almost zero, and so many of them blamed street evangelism for not being fruitful enough while living a life that from an evangelistic standpoint is close to fruitless.
The emotional pain from almost being forced to share the Gospel with promises for a revival that never came is strong, and understandable. But it’s not a reason for letting people go to hell. As strong as our emotional dislike for an action may be, if the Bible commands it we should do it. As we recognise this and pray for strength to do it, God can heal our emotional scars. (more…)
Words of Knowledge that Led to Salvation
God is so good. Last Sunday I went out on the streets of Kettering with a guitar and some Gospel tracts to invite people to our evening meeting. I met a woman in dark clothing walking with the help of a crutch, who commented how happy I looked when I played. I asked her how she was doing. “Like shit” she said, explaining to me her tough family situation, tragedies in her past and her homelessness.
She then asked me what I was doing and I said that I invite people to a Gospel meeting where there will be worship, Bible study, prayer – and tea. She responded that she doesn’t believe in God – she found it impossible after all the bad things that had happened to her. I gave her a booklet the Jesus Army has printed called The Biggest Issue which asked on the front cover “Where is God when all goes wrong?”
She asked me how I got involved with this church and I explained that I found it on the Internet and came all the way from Sweden to join a training year, living in community and working in one of their Kingdom Businesses. She was really impressed by that kind of commitment to a church. She revealed that she actually carries a cross necklace around in her bag, “I guess I do have a little faith after all.” Then she said that a warm cup of tea would be lovely and decided to go with me to the meeting hall. (more…)
Awakening Europe Managed to Do Something I’ve Never seen Before
Last weekend Heidi Baker, Todd White, Chris Overstreet and other revivalists were preaching and ministering in Stockholm at the huge charismatic Gospel event called Awakening Europe. Sarah and I were there along with at least 12,000 other Christians hungry for God and the expansion of His Kingdom in Scandinavia. Even though I’m critical to big arenas, church shows, expensive equipment and male dominance the overall impression from the event was very positive since the message was centred on something we are desperately lacking in Northern churches:
This was without doubt the most Jesus-centred conference I’ve ever been to. The pure Gospel was being preached every night with emphasis on repentance, faith, salvation and being born again. The program booklet proclaimed that Europe shall be saved and that we should believe for 100 million souls over the next ten years. The pause screen in between sessions asked us if we had spoken to someone about Jesus today – something my friend Rebecka Rodriguez calls the One Person a Day Challenge. Swedish church leaders prayed that we once again would become a nation of missionaries.
Most impressively, they managed to get most of the ten thousand attendees out on the streets to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, love the poor and invite people to the event. I have never seen that happening previously. Every time when a Christian conference has had evangelism, it has only been a tiny minority participating while most people do other stuff in the conference or camp area. It has often been viewed as a bonus activity for those especially called rather than as discipleship training for all the saints. (more…)
3 Stupid Reasons Churches Aren’t Evangelising
Evangelism is super important; without it, churches go extinct and people go to hell. Yet, evangelism seem to constantly be (apart from community of goods) the first thing churches drop when they find following Jesus to uncomfortable. It is as if evangelism always hangs lose, even though churches commit suicide if they don’t do it.
I’ve been talking to quite a lot of church leaders about why their congregations never evangelise and they typically give me three different answers. Three brilliant answers. These arguments are so perfect and irrefutable that they completely stun those who are confronted with them, as I show in this comedy sketch:
Of course, I’m joking. These arguments are horribly bad. But there’s one reason for not evangelising that I find acceptable, which I give towards the end of the video. You won’t be able to guess what it is.
Imagine a church that never prays. No Sunday service or other kind of church meeting include prayer, and when asked about it the church leaders say: “Well, people are free to pray when they’re at home, but we don’t believe that everyone are called to be ‘prayer warriors’.” Would you view such a church as healthy or functioning?
Or imagine a church that never reads the Bible. Its leaders say “Well, we once did that but we didn’t get much out of it, we weren’t actually living biblically just because we read the Bible.” Would you think that such a practice and explanation were acceptable?
See, this is how millions of churches treat evangelism. Rather than doing it officially as a church on public places, it is delegated to church members’ private initiatives – which usually are very rare. Some churches say that they tried street evangelism and it “didn’t work”, so now they want to encourage “relational evangelism” by simply exhorting their members to tell people about Jesus and offer no training whatsoever to teach them how to do so.
This is scandalous and an abomination to the Lord. There is nothing He wants individual Christians to do that He doesn’t want the whole church as a body to do. And not only are churches that never evangelise disobeying His command to preach the Gospel to all nations, they’re also committing suicide. (more…)
Proving God’s Existence Using Your Phone
Sarah and I have spent the weekend in the small village of Åsele in northern Sweden, doing evangelism with the pancake church at a big market fair. We’ve had the opportunity to talk to, pray with and love hundreds of people, mostly youths. One girl received salvation there and then after she was healed in her neck, many others received Bibles and were very interested in getting to know God more.
On Saturday evening I hung a paper plate around my neck that said “Evidence for God in 2 minutes”. Needless to say it caught lot of attention, and I got to have apologetic and evangelistic discussions with at least 25 people. I illustrated my points using my phone, which was very effective and increased the attention rate of my listeners even more.
“This phone is very unique”, I said, “because it has no cause for its existence. It popped into being out if nothing without a cause, and now I use it to call people and take photos. Do you believe me?” Nobody said yes, some looked at me as if I was a madman and others just laughed out loud. Then I explained that of course this is not the case, everything that begins to exist must have a cause. “So what do you think is the cause for the big bang and the origin of the universe?”
How to Start a Pancake Church
Every weekend, an evangelistic group known as the Pancake Church occupies the central square in the Swedish town of Uppsala to hand out free pancakes and share the Gospel about Jesus. For three years now I have had the privilege of leading this group. We’re not an own, independent church but an evangelistic organization that gathers Christians from different churches who want to share the Gospel in a fun and culturally relevant way to the youths of our town.
I can honestly say that every evening is an amazing evening. We get to speak to so many people, pray for them, discuss God and life with them or sing gospel songs with them. We hang out with the poor and homeless as well as the rich and lonely. And the Holy Spirit is with us. We have seen several healings and conversions during the years, and some who have been saved on the streets join us and helps us to further spread the Kingdom of God!
There are over 20 Pancake Churches in Sweden, connected though the Pancake Church National Organization. We print our own Pancake Bibles (which are normal New Testaments with some testimonies and pictures), t-shirts and organize events and summer tours. A friend from the Jesus Army contacted me and wondered how one organizes a local Pancake Church and what one should think about. So here are my tips: (more…)
Resources on Evangelism and Apologetics
Hello charismactivists and all you others who follow this blog! I got two pieces of fresh news for you. The first being that the URL to this website has shrunk to the much simpler name of holyspiritactivism.com. All the old links are still functional and redirects to this site. God bless WordPress for making this transition so easy and convenient 🙂
Secondly, I’ve created two new resource pages on the website to equip your work for the Kingdom of God. One is about street evangelism which provides some tips on how to share the Gospel as well as arguments for why all churches should make public evangelism as common as Sunday services:
7 Reasons Street Evangelism Rocks
Why All Christians should Participate in Street Evangelism
Why Did the Early Christians Go to the Synagogues?
How to Make a Mainline Church Evangelize on the Streets
“Go Out, Come In” – a New (or Old) Type of Church Service
Video: 7 Reasons Street Evangelism Rocks
Being a Christian isn’t just an indoor activity. Here are seven reasons why everyone – yes everyone – who have chosen to follow Jesus should share the Gospel about Him in public areas.
Check out the Biblical foundation for why churches should view street evangelism as mandatory meetings just like Sunday services.
And here’s a description of how my own church does this in practice.
Why All Christians Should Participate in Street Evangelism
As I’ve written about previously, my church has a 50/50 vision where half of our activities being outreaches, and one way we practice this is through “Come In, Go Out”-services (or “Go Out, Come In”) where we simply spend one hour inside and one hour outside. We see evangelism as something every Christian should be doing, just like prayer or Bible reading, and we are not just exhorting people to evangelize, we show and train them by doing it together.
At first I thought our “mandatory evangelism” was just a cool thing, but then I realised that in the Biblical Christian community, corporate evangelism in public places was indeed a part of what all believers were expected to participate in. In Acts 2:46-47 we read:
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Thus, the Biblical, apostolic Church had two kinds of meetings: one internal in the homes and one external in the temple courts. It was in the homes where they were eating the Lord’s supper (or Jesus Lunch as I like to call it), so it was this meeting that developed into our modern Sunday services. The temple meetings were not internal, they included evangelism so that people were saved daily.
The Pancake Church
Two and a half years ago, I feared street evangelism. It felt strange and silly to talk about Jesus to strangers, and I was terrified to meet someone I actually knew! However, I realized that street evangelism obviously was something that Jesus and the apostles frequently did, and instead of trying to argue that we shouldn’t live like Jesus and the apostles (like many others tragically do), I decided to join some friends who were going out on the streets of Uppsala giving pancakes to people and sharing the Gospel.
It basically changed my life.
Today, I’m one of the local leaders of the Pancake Church of Uppsala, and I love to share the Gospel. My former evangeliphobia effectively melted as I discovered how easy and naturally it is to chat with people over a pancake. We try to create a relaxed atmosphere where people can hang around and have a good time. And many of the youths don’t have any problem with discussing religion – on the contrary, they often have strong opinions about it. Some are provocative, yes, but most aren’t. Actually, it’s quite amazing how many are interested in seeking God in this secularized country. (more…)