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Up Way Publications 43rd Anniversary
Talk To Ministers

Talk To Ministers header
Followers of Jesus Christ Mionistries/ UP WAY PUBLICATIONS
  •  P.O. Box 1015 . Kailua, Hawaii 96734  ~  (808) 230-8683

VOL.04                                                                                                                        No. 06
If You Love the Lord Jesus Christ


Go Ye? Nah! Let's Build!

Dear Fellow-laborers in the Kingdom of God:

We have what can be one of the most rewarding of all occupations and also one with
awesome responsibilities.  If we are continually prayed up and current in our Bible
Studies, if we have fasted and prayed when directed to do so by the Holy Spirit, we
have the power, the DUNAMIS, to see miracles of healing and deliverance take place
in the lives of those with whom we have contact. We can see lives truly transformed
from a pig-like nature of sin and degradation to a life of victory, overcoming power
and peace,  joy and happiness. 

What I see as sad in so many situations is that as a church grows and prospers, they
often choose to spend whatever money remains after the pastor receives his living
(hopefully)
from the tithes, on a building program to build a bigger, more comfortable
church edifice and the focus on soulwinning dims because the members and leaders
are too busy with the building program to really reach out to the lost any more. Often
a mortgage loan obligation limits the church's ability to respond to evangelistic and missionary needs. 

 

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 which 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 standing 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 into the new building, the nephew showed up for service dressed in his "hippie" drug-addicted style of clothing and the aunt was so embarrassed she would hardly acknowledge that this was in fact her nephew for whom she had requested prayer for so long.
Many others exhibited a like attitude and before long, the pastor resigned or was transferred to another church. 

The assistant pastor was promoted 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 cigarette butts before they could have their services. Then, some realized the pastor 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 congregation.  Both he and his wife also had to get jobs outside the church just to meet their own needs. 

In just a few months, this new little congregation had grown and moved into a house in an area where city zoning permitted its use as a church and they began a rebuilding program. At this 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 schism between certain members of that church and was nearly "gnashed on with their teeth" [Acts 7:54],  I visited this new church and was at once welcomed as a fellow minister. 

To make a long story short, that church grew because of the demonstrated faith of the pastor and members and within two years had acquired a denominational church's building close to the size of the fine new one that the pastor and original members had resigned from. One of the reasons for this growth was also the fact that they did not rely on radio or newspaper advertising,  but a team went 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 Sunday mornings and all other meeting times and in winter, chip ice and snow off 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 the bus reasonably warm inside.

I have seen door-to-door evangelism work with varying success in a number of communities. Part of the difference in success rates is the amount of prayer and dedication of the church as 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 groups knocking on doors, resulting in a high rate of slammed doors, people in the house obviously ignoring their door and in a few cases, anti-canvass laws passed by city councils or county commissions prohibiting and restricting such activity.1 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 response 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 each time the team goes out.

But God has provided a most remarkable evangelism tool. Nearly every home in the United States has at least one of these boxes that has a glassy front and all sorts of sights and sounds 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 networks 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 agreement with the FCC that requires a certain amount of local interest and public service programming. If one may judge by the number of religious broadcasts available, few of which tell the whole Apostles Doctrine truth, there must be reasonably nearly enough income from these broadcasts to pay the bills for the broadcast time. 

Several times, I have debated, mostly by email, with brethren who insist that the TV is "of the devil" and point 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 ostrich 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 local non-denominational Apostolic church which has had a full hour program that has been on a local network affiliate for years.  They are a little stiff and formal for a Pentecostal church, but they were founded clear back in tne 1920's and the present pastor has served a lifetime and is now finally and gradually 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 and 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 coverage 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 are and by whatever means is available to the glory of God.  The venom and personal name-calling got rather ugly until the list moderator intervened. 

List Moderator: "Though Bro Smith's previous message was directed at you [a minister who flatly rejects televangelism] (but open to all) with a general subject matter of apostolics staying in 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 worship with a different media .... though I think he had you in mind, the challenge isn't just to you. I think he'd say this to anyone that isn't open to reaching people in a manner that people

commonly have that the church doesn't normally use. <snip - off the subject> Though he wrote as if he's speaking to you, "you" weren't the subject. The challenge was towards you and others. The selection of manner of outreach was the subject.
<snip>
 "I see his [Smith's] message largely as saying "what if?"  <snip>

The Moderator's comments were right on target. We all too often get stuck in our own "comfort zones" and forget 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 stations was sort of preaching to the choir and that most "Christian" stations would not accept an Apostolic message anyway and I responded that we should buy 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 responded, 'Yes, the secular TV stations do have allotted time for religious broadcasting, and actually that is to the advantage of those who will put the real Apostolic message of salvation on the airwaves.' 

After another negative blast, I responded that too many pastors and churches would rather spend their money of fine church edifices than to spend the money where it will do some good -- reaching out into the byways and hedges to people too lazy, too relaxed, too intoxicated or drug-crazed to get up and change channels.
 
The anti TV man replied: "Here the implication is made that TV evangelism will be the tool to reach these types of people. (Lazy, relaxed, drunken, drugged etc...) I believe 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 millions 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 in affect will place our Gospel in the blender of ecumenicalism. The church was bought to be peculiar for a reason.
The negative is association? What kind of lame excuse is that? A real power packed Apostolic service or a denominational or name-it-claim-it program? Even the worst of the Only Believe and Name-it-claim-it programs do use many valid scriptures wnd the Bible says that God's word 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? 

This reminds me of the blasts I received back in 1973 when the ecumenical churches promoted an effort to 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 teams and use these two vital Apostolic favoring books to teach Apostolic home Bible studies. I was blasted as pro-ecumenical and several Apostolic ministers demanded to be taken off the subscription roster.  What a shame! Not that they cancelled their subscrtiptions, but that they had that attitude toward an evangelism tool that was handed to them at no cost and no prior effort. 

I then challenged, not just that brother but all Apostolics, What about your church services? Are they an opening prayer, three songs from the hymnal or overhead projector plus a chorus or two and a special, an offertory prayer and music or solo, then announcements and a prayer for the sermon by Deacon Jones, then the pastor preaches for 25 minutes to an hour -- if his people don't get bored first -- 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 minister responded:
"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 anointed 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 certain preliminaries are faithfully done, the ministering of the Holy Ghost is always welcomed. This year there has been countless miracles and healings taken place. [Another brother on the list] is one, his daughter is another. We use PowerPoint [teaching program]. Anything else about our services?"

Now why would a true Apostolic new creature in Christ Jesus minister take this kind of attitude to a generic question that I know for sure is all too typical of a majority of services in both denomimnati onal AND Apostolic churches.

When I challenged, "When is the last time any of us had someone who was a serious drug addict or drunkard come to the altar and leave a really "new creature in Christ Jesus?"

The other minister responded:
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 for between 2 and 3 years. A sister - 1 month. Could list more but time and memory prevails.

I believe a check-up from the neck-up and a heart tenderizing could 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 fasted more than a meal or two? How about your prayer time...does your job interfere or do you put it off? I believe before you begin to make accusations and commands you should check on your spiritual condition. One who can parade himself with arrogance as you have and throw darts of bitterness is truly in need of a spiritual checkup. I will sincerely pray for you.

Of course I welcome anyone's sincere prayers for God's leading and direction in my life, as we all should, and 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. The accusations I made are intended not to be antagonistic to anyone, but to 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 Lord. 

 -- S. M. S.
Finally: DO NOT LOWER your holiness standard, but elevate, RAISE it
to full agreement with what the Bible really says.

Yours for Jesus' sake,

Bro. Sam

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This page last updated 13 February 2012.