How the evangelistic spark of a mass crusade is fanned into a burning flame
As the gospel is preached clearly and concisely each night, hundreds of thousands of precious people respond to the call of salvation and receive Jesus as their Savior. Such is the dimension of this response that the hundreds of participating churches are each flooded with thousands of new converts and wonderful reports pour in from the leaders and members of participating churches.
Often we hear of congregations doubling and tripling in size during the weeks following the Great Gospel Campaigns. We have learned that this leads some churches to even start multiple branches to accommodate the new arrivals. On the CfaN team, we call this Spirit-enabled phenomenon “addition” to the kingdom of God.
But our ministry team feels a second responsibility, and that is to inspire and train others in the communities and nations in which we hold crusades to—as the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy—“do the work of an evangelist” (see 2 Tim. 4:5).
A Fire Is Lit
In times past, it has been our observation that a local pastor participating in one of these great outreach events can often find the experience to have a negative effect on him and his ministry. In simple terms, it can be very challenging for local pastors to follow the energy of the Great Gospel Campaigns’ massive and exciting meetings in the churches they lead, and in order to assist such pastors, the CfaN team established a “second leg” of activity.
This is known as a Fire Conference, and it runs concurrently with the large evening public outreach meetings. The Fire Conference takes place over a three-day period and consists of six morning sessions preached by the CfaN ministry team.
Pastors, elders, deacons and church workers are invited to register for the conference. The result is that tens of thousands of delegates attend the event to be equipped for evangelism and receive their badges.
The purpose of the event is to inspire, build up and instruct the delegates to the point that they feel personally empowered to take up the challenge, and to do even more than the CfaN team could do during the months following the gospel campaign.
Session by session, there is a progression in preaching and teaching toward the final morning when the delegates will be commissioned and anointed to go out and continue the work themselves that begins in the Great Gospel Campaigns.
These teachings are characterized by motivational scriptural messages as well as practical principles from the Word of God that both inspire and inform. The Fire Conference culminates in the last session of the event, which is a commissioning service.
Fanning the Flame
This final day of the conference is a triumphant moment in the presence of the Lord when the power of the Holy Spirit falls on the assembled delegates and thousands have hands laid upon them in prayer for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the first time.
The results in the weeks following are well-documented, as the delegates go back to their towns and villages with a vital Holy Sprit empowerment to spread the word in places that we as a team could never reach. Many local pastors report that their own ministries are revolutionized with their church growth in high gear. Others talk of pursuing altogether new opportunities and conducting active evangelistic outreaches on a regular basis as a result of what they learn during the Fire Conference.
There is much rejoicing over reports of resulting moves of the Spirit in outlying areas where people are being saved in great numbers and churches are being established, often led by the most unlikely of people who have been inspired and anointed by the Holy Spirit at the Fire Conference.
We in the team refer to this effect as “multiplication” in the kingdom of God and see our work in evangelism as walking on two great legs: addition from the gospel meetings, and multiplication from the Fire Conference.
Peter Vandenberg is executive vice president of Christ for all Nations.
The Local-Church Connection
Pastors are essential to soulwinning in our crusades
By Reinhard Bonnke
Our ministry, Christ for all Nations, has been the instrument to help many a church rediscover its passion for soul winning. I, the evangelist, bring my nets to town, but I must borrow my boats from the churches. Together we cast the net and bring in a huge haul of fish to the shore.
When we have finished our work, we hand over the catch to the local pastors and congregations. The evangelist cleans and mends his nets and moves on to the next harvest.
I am pleased to say that wherever we go, we break all records for church unity. Excitement builds when we announce an upcoming series of meetings. Every pastor knows his church will benefit from five nights of gospel preaching.
We recruit counselors from these local churches—anywhere from 20,000 to 200,000 per crusade. We train them, and they must pass a test before they are equipped to minister follow-up.
Our invitations result in responses so large that, if we asked the people to come forward, many would be trampled trying to receive Jesus. Rather than risk such a thing, we send our recruited workers into the vast crowds with decision cards to register the saved where they stand.
We are totally church based and church dependent. Fifty-one percent of a Christ for all Nations crusade budget is directed toward enabling local congregations in follow-up. The fruit that remains is truly great, and these churches find themselves ignited with a passion for the lost once again.