Some sixteen years ago, I was living in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma working for a large church and doing street evangelism every night in Tulsa. I was reaching dozens of people for Christ right where they was. In a city that many have been hurt by the church, that is quite the remarkable statement.
I have met Mike Francen before. He was an Evangelist that preaches huge crusades. We met in an office at the church while he was seeing someone else and he handed me a book he just wrote called, Quest for Souls. I read it that night and it really challenged me to think bigger about evangelism. Just praying for miracles on the streets of Tulsa was not enough.
The message of living for souls was something I had believed and it is why I actually moved to Tulsa. Back in Missouri, doing evangelism was hard and lonely. Most people just do not care about evangelism and going out to the night clubs was considered completely taboo. Even the pastor of our church was against me going right into the bars and minstering to people as they played pool.
I have no idea what everyone did with the passage about the woman at the well or a dozen other stories. Jesus was a street evangelist but I guess he did not live in the 21st century American Pentecostal/Charismatic context.
Mike Francen and Regions Beyond
Shortly after I ran into him, he was putting on a conference in town that helped people get equipped to do evangelism. It was to be a very practical time of training. How to organize sound, how to contract electricity, how to work with government for permits, etc. This is what I need to take my evangelism to the next level.
The speakers were quite the list: Mike was joined by the legendary T.L. Osborn and the evangelism from the revival in Africa, Reinhard Bonnke. The rest of the time was Mike’s team going over some very practical things. In the words of Osborn, it was a “time of seeding” for me.
Now, I have been to dozens of conferences and spoke at dozens more but very rarely does one actually help people. It is normally just a lot of worship and preaching. It the exception, not the rule that it is practical and you actually become a better evangelist because of it.
I took that manual about doing crusades and I read through it and through it again. Over the next several months, I treated it like it was almost a book of the bible.
I watched every video I could about evangelism, crusades, world missions, and anything about traveling to the world. I was fully armed to take the power of the Holy Spirit I saw on the streets of Tulsa to the ends of the earth.
As events unfolded, I would leave the ministry I was working for shortly after that. I left for some time at Los Angeles Dream Center doing evangelism right on the streets of some of the roughest areas in America.
One thing that I remember T.L. Osborn saying again and again was that evangelist are there to seed the nation. I board a flight to my nation of birth, the Philippines. It seemed that many great evangelists had ties to the Philippines, after all. I knew the culture and the most spoken language, tagalog.
If it works for Mike Francen and T.L. Osborn; it will work for me. If I could see the Holy Spirit move in Tulsa, I could see him move in the small towns of the Philippines. I know one thing: if it is biblical anywhere, it will work everywhere!
I went to a small town in Palawan, I rented the town center and got flyers out everywhere. I promised to the people that the sick will be healed, the demonized will be set free and that every family will get some free rice.
By the time, the first meeting started, I think I had half the town standing at the town center waiting to see this young evangelist who could promise miracles and deliverance. They knew the Catholic priest would not make that claim.
I still remember the message I preached using “Silver and gold I have none, what I have, I give: get up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) as the anchor text. It was not a slick message like Rod Parsley can deliver. It was a simple message of healing that is free to all.
Giving teeth to the gospel
I have preached all over the world, literally. I have travel to the most remote islands in the Pacific Ocean and I have stood in churches in Africa. I have cast devils out of people in Corpus Christi, Texas as well as in Sri Lanka. What I learned is the gospel works anywhere and under any conditions.
One of the hardest realities that we face is over 90% of ministries globally are based in the United States but the nation is less than 10% of the world’s population. 90% ministering to 10%. The other statistic that is even more alarming is that only three percent has ever actual been on a mission trip.
One of the reason that I feel the American church lives in a constant state of needing revival is because she refuses to do her mission. The purpose of the Body of Christ is to win souls and preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. Very few churches actually believe this is their goal. The churches that actually live that out are even fewer.
Almost all pastors I know are busy doing everything but soul winning. They lose to talk about community, discipleship, and being on the Christian right (politics). None of that is more important that the proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They need to get back to the fundamentals of the New Testament church.
do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. (2 Corinthians 10:15-16)