|One example I saw firsthand
was a situation in which a church in a North Central state outgrew its
previous facility. A building program was entered into and in time, the
congregation moved into their new and much finer facility in an "upper
crust" suburb of their metropolitan area.
I remember often
passing by the
old church either during revivals or midweek services when the church
I was then working with was not in service and seeing the old building
so packed that people were literally sitting in the windows and many
on the ground just outside windows.
One particular saint
in the church
had been requesting prayer for her nephew who was on drugs to get
saved and delivered, but it hadn't happened. Not long after the move
the new building, the nephew showed up for service dressed in his
drug-addicted style of clothing and the aunt was so embarrassed she
hardly acknowledge that this was in fact her nephew for whom she had
prayer for so long.
Many others exhibited a
and before long, the pastor resigned or was transferred to another
The assistant pastor
to pastor and not long afterward, about four of the less proud families
left the church. Several Sundays, they met without a pastor in a
VFW hall where they kicked beer cans out of the way and swept up the
butts before they could have their services. Then, some realized the
where they had just come from was not among the proud and asked him to
come and pastor them. He accepted the invitation and resigned the
big church where he had a secure income and came to pastor this new
Both he and his wife also had to get jobs outside the church just to
their own needs.
In just a few
months, this new little
congregation had grown and moved into a house in an area where city
permitted its use as a church and they began a rebuilding program. At
point, I saw their industry as I passed on the way to midweek services
at the Apostolic chursh I was then working with and after I preached on
1 Corinthians 12:1-27 with the knowledge that there was a serious
between certain members of that church and was nearly "gnashed on with
their teeth" [Acts 7:54], I visited this new church and
at once welcomed as a fellow minister.
To make a long story
church grew because of the demonstrated faith of the pastor and members
and within two years had acquired a denominational church's building
to the size of the fine new one that the pastor and original members
resigned from. One of the reasons for this growth was also the fact
they did not rely on radio or newspaper advertising, but a team
out every week and invited people throughout the local area and nearby
communities to come. One of the early converts, a widow, donated money
to buy a used school bus that I, as bus minister, would go early on
mornings and all other meeting times and in winter, chip ice and snow
the locks and windows, maybe spray a little ether in the carburetor, if
necessary and by the time I reached the first passengers, would have
bus reasonably warm inside.
I have seen
work with varying success in a number of communities. Part of the
in success rates is the amount of prayer and dedication of the church
a whole and the visitation team in particular. Enthusiasm is also
vital. And of course there are communities where the people are "burned
out" with the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons and some other
knocking on doors, resulting in a high rate of slammed doors, people in
the house obviously ignoring their door and in a few cases,
laws passed by city councils or county commissions prohibiting and
Of course, there is also the matter of the time of day, the day of the
week and special event considerations which also may affect the
to visitation programs. If you catch people sleeping or fixing meals or
trying to watch some super sports event, they are not likely to be very
happy that you came to invite them to your particular church. Prayer on
your part should result in a leading from the Holy Spirit resulting in
precise timing to reach at least one or two new persons or families
time the team goes out.
But God has provided
a most remarkable
evangelism tool. Nearly every home in the United States has at least
of these boxes that has a glassy front and all sorts of sights and
can be seen and heard through it almost instantly from the most remote
parts of the globe and even spaceships. The people who provide the
of programming and the local broadcast media are mostly in business for
the money, but some also follow principles and nearly all will offer at
least slightly reduced rates to churches, "Establishments of Religion"
and other charitable organizations as a part of their licensing
with the FCC that requires a certain amount of local interest and
service programming. If one may judge by the number of religious
available, few of which tell the whole Apostles Doctrine truth, there
be reasonably nearly enough income from these broadcasts to pay the
for the broadcast time.
Several times, I
have debated, mostly
by email, with brethren who insist that the TV is "of the devil" and
to some of the ungodly programming that is on the air. But who gave it
to the devil? Those who stuck their heads in proverbial sand like an
is said to do and refuse to see what a marvelous tool God has provided
to us for evangelism in these last days.
I will cite one
Apostolic church which has had a full hour program that has been on a
network affiliate for years. They are a little stiff and formal
a Pentecostal church, but they were founded clear back in tne 1920's
the present pastor has served a lifetime and is now finally and
being succeeded by his son, already in his own late 40's or maybe 50's.
Since the church
takes up no offerings
in the service, simply having an offering box near the entrance
since they make no pull for money on their TV broadcast and since they
have been on TV at least 20 years and are expanding their station
on the West Coast, they must be reaching hungry souls.
I recently had a
dialog with a minister
or pastor by email on the subject of reaching the lost wherever they
and by whatever means is available to the glory of God. The venom
and personal name-calling got rather ugly until the list moderator
List Moderator: "Though Bro Smith's
previous message was
directed at you [a minister who flatly rejects
(but open to all) with a general subject matter of apostolics staying
their own comfort zones rigidly favoring well airconditioned houses of
worship, pews, etc. instead of bucking their comfort zone and reaching
folks that would otherwise probably never see the
power of God working as it normally does in an apostolic house of
with a different media .... though I think he had you in mind, the
isn't just to you. I think he'd say this to anyone that isn't open to
people in a manner that people
that the church doesn't normally
use. <snip - off the subject> Though he wrote as if he's
you, "you" weren't the subject. The challenge was towards you and
The selection of manner of outreach was the subject.
"I see his [Smith's] message largely as saying "what if?"
comments were right
on target. We all too often get stuck in our own "comfort zones" and
that our neighbors and friends are lost sinners on the road to hell and
destruction if they do not get right with God according to His plan of
Salvation. The other brother wrote that broadcasting on Christian TV
was sort of preaching to the choir and that most "Christian" stations
not accept an Apostolic message anyway and I responded that we should
time on the regular commercial stations.
"If Apostolics would
buy up all
the TV time we wouldn't
have to worry about false
doctrine and wicked program-
ming" (or to that effect).
He responded with "We CANNOT absorb all the TV time for
it is alloted
and [they] would not sell it."
To which I
the secular TV stations do have allotted time for religious
and actually that is to the advantage of those who will put the real
message of salvation on the airwaves.'
negative blast, I
responded that too many pastors and churches would rather spend their
of fine church edifices than to spend the money where it will do some
-- reaching out into the byways and hedges to people too lazy, too
too intoxicated or drug-crazed to get up and change channels.
The negative is
association? What kind
of lame excuse is that? A real power packed Apostolic service or a
or name-it-claim-it program? Even the worst of the Only Believe and
programs do use many valid scriptures wnd the Bible says that God's
will not return unto Him void. How many Apostolics are there out there
who came to the truth through the Word and the still small voice of the
Holy Spirit rather than through a preacher or teacher?
|The anti TV
"Here the implication is made that TV evangelism will be the tool to
these types of people. (Lazy, relaxed, drunken, drugged etc...) I
the Gospel does have the power to reach these types of people. However,
it is an effort in futility. The negative is association. What of the
of other souls watching and immediately upon viewing the channel, they
associate this ministry with all other prosperity, Trinitarian, name it
and claim it ministries and thus they silence it by remote. Peculiarity
is a distinctive that must continue in the True Church. TV evangelism
affect will place our Gospel in the blender of ecumenicalism. The
was bought to be peculiar for a reason.
This reminds me of
the blasts I
received back in 1973 when the ecumenical churches promoted an effort
get the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts into every home in America. At
the time I was publishing Up Way for Christians magazine and in
my editorial comments column, I urged Apostolics to form follow-up
and use these two vital Apostolic favoring books to teach Apostolic
studies. I was blasted as pro-ecumenical and several Apostolic
demanded to be taken off the subscription roster. What a shame!
that they cancelled their subscrtiptions, but that they had that
toward an evangelism tool that was handed to them at no cost and no
I then challenged,
not just that
brother but all Apostolics, What about your church services? Are
an opening prayer, three songs from the hymnal or overhead projector
a chorus or two and a special, an offertory prayer and music or solo,
announcements and a prayer for the sermon by Deacon Jones, then the
preaches for 25 minutes to an hour -- if his people don't get bored
-- there is an appeal for people to come be baptized in Jesus' name or
come for healing, Then another song or two and the closing prayer. I
am sure most of you will recognize this service plan as all too typical
and some will say, "Oh, Me!".
But the other
|"Again, I am amazed at assumptive accusations
that are made by Bro.Smith.
Also, consider the tone of his writing...accusations and like a mad dog
cornered in an alleyway. In response to his statements, there is always
2-3 sinners present in [our] every service. The preaching is so
that 99% of the time they visit the altar and weep and many receive the
Holy Ghost. Also, our services do not operate on a schedule rather the
leading of the Holy Ghost. Although there are choruses prepared and
preliminaries are faithfully done, the ministering of the Holy Ghost is
always welcomed. This year there has been countless miracles and
taken place. [Another brother on the list] is one, his daughter is
We use PowerPoint [teaching program]. Anything else about our services?"
Now why would a true
creature in Christ Jesus minister take this kind of attitude to a
question that I know for sure is all too typical of a majority of
in both denomimnati onal AND Apostolic churches.
When I challenged, "When
last time any of us had someone who was a serious drug addict or
come to the altar and leave a really "new creature in Christ Jesus?"
The other minister
|A man and his wife have been drug free (crack)
for at least 2 months
now. Another - 6 months. Still another - alcohol and drug free
between 2 and 3 years. A sister - 1 month. Could list more but time and
I believe a check-up from the neck-up and a heart
do us very good. Bro. Smith has challenged us to fast.
Currently, our entire church has been on a month
long Daniel's fast.
So, you've come too late. Bro. Smith...when was the last time you
more than a meal or two? How about your prayer time...does your job
or do you put it off? I believe before you begin to make accusations
commands you should check on your spiritual condition. One who can
himself with arrogance as you have and throw darts of bitterness is
in need of a spiritual checkup. I will sincerely pray for you.
Of course I welcome
prayers for God's leading and direction in my life, as we all should,
not take it as an insult or slap at our spirituality. After all, I will
not be standing before any but the Lord Jesus at the Judgment Seat and
He is really the only One I need to be concerned about being happy with
me and what I have done with the time He has allotted to me on earth.
accusations I made are intended not to be antagonistic to anyone, but
cause us all to examine our own sincerity and motivation and make sure
that we do hear the "well done, good and faithful servant" from our