Prophesy instead of evangelize

Evangelizing is part of our mission as Christians. Gospel means good news and we want to pass that on. However?! Nevertheless, this assignment to testify causes discomfort or stress for many Jesus followers. Or does it actually cause crooked toes due to the coercive actions of overly fanatical evangelists.

With tambourine When I hear the word evangelize, I immediately have a certain image of it. For me, that means monthly ‘open air’ (i.e. street evangelism) with the youth group I grew up in. For years we were a permanent fixture on the Muntplein in the center of Brussels. We would stand in a semicircle with guitars and sing at the top of our lungs. Our voices echoed across the square. Of course, there was also a tambourine, played (or beaten) by a hyperactive musician. I have sometimes wondered whether this was good news for people.

Knot in my stomach After a series of enthusiastic songs, a testimony was usually given. Someone from the group was not voluntarily appointed to take a few steps forward. In a loud voice, without amplification, you would shout out your personal experiences with God to the shoppers. As soon as the talk was over, we were instructed to personally address attentive listeners and random people on a bench or a terrace. Armed with a stack of evangelism flyers, we spread out and got to work. Now it had to happen. The harvest could be harvested. I still get a knot in my stomach when I think about it.

Yes! Fortunately, evangelism is much more than this. And yet my experiences describe some of what many Christians think and feel when you talk to them about evangelism. Apparently, in many cases evangelism has been narrowed down to an action or even checking off an assignment. Exactly what I experienced when, as a teenager, I put hundreds of flyers in the mailboxes in the run-up to a special meeting. Yes, I would have done it! Proud of myself, evangelism was put on the back burner for a while. But that is not what Jesus invites us to and how we can let people taste the goodness of God.

Inspired If evangelism is a good message for the people you address, wouldn’t prophesying be much more obvious? Because ‘one who prophesies speaks to people, and what he says is edifying, comforting, and encouraging.” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Not a prepared talk with a tract to be handed out, but speaking simple words that touch people deeply through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Putting God’s grace into words in such a way that recipients feel seen and loved by heaven.

Everyone! Wasn’t it true that Jesus himself said:“When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and be my witnesses….” (Acts 1:8)? Power to bear witness. Exactly that! The Holy Spirit especially helps you to testify. How? The obvious promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is:“Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your youth will see visions, and your old people will see dream visions. Yes, I will pour out my spirit on all my servants and maidservants at that time, so that they may prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18). The Spirit especially allows us to prophesy. Women and men, young and old, low and high ranking people… everyone can speak words on behalf of God. That is heavenly witnessing and inspired evangelism!

Powerful conversions If you’re reading this, it probably feels a bit surreal. Can I just do that? Can we testify of Jesus by prophesying? And is this even suitable for ‘unconverted people’, because you evangelize especially with people who do not yet know Jesus? Fortunately, Paul says something specifically about that. If‘everyoneprophesies, then an unbelieving outsider will be judged and rebuked by everyone.” (1 Corinthians 14:24). And the result is that ‘Everything that secretly moves him will come to light and then he will fall to the ground, worship God and confess: ‘Truly, God is among you.’ (verse 25). Yes, this is how someone comes to radical conversion!!

Prophetic culture I dream of a prophetic culture among Christians, in which we often encourage each other and let outsiders taste God’s love. In this way, evangelism does not become an action, but relaxed cooperation with the Holy Spirit and, above all, sharing love… that is good news!

If this blog has sparked your desire to speak words from God and you want to grow in it, we can recommend our free online Growth Course ‘Growing in Prophecy’. You can read all the information about it here .

About Martin Koornstra

Getrouwd met Karin, 2 mooie dochters, passie voor Jezus, spreker, schrijver, trainer en een beetje gek!

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