By Eric Kuhns
Tongues of fire, earthquakes at midnight, prison escapes, miracles and mass conversions. I love the book of Acts. I am mesmerized by the stories and convicted by the examples I find in this book. Is this a history book to show us the past glory or is it a manual to teach us how the church should function today? I tend to think it is the latter; like the cover to a puzzle box that we constantly glance to as we seek to put the pieces together. Acts is what we should look like today; Spirit-filled, militant and missional.
Three evangelistic strategies caught my attention from Acts that I think as a movement we need to be capitalizing on today.
1. Prayer. We cannot deny that in the background of nearly every supernatural event in Acts we find people praying. They were praying on the day of Pentecost, they were praying when Peter escaped prison, Peter and John were going to prayer when a man was healed, and Paul and Silas were singing and praying when the prison was shaken open by an earthquake. Prayer was the key to kingdom advancement.
How can we become better prayer warriors? With social media at our fingertips could we create a virtual “upper room” where we can gather for prayer as a holiness movement? Imagine all of our denominations “in one place and in one accord” having movement wide prayer chains and collective fastings; posting our prayer requests and answers to prayer in one place. We have the potential to have thousands of our people praying instantly for our missionaries, revivals, camps and special requests at the click of a button. We are poised to do great things, let’s take advantage of it!
2. Immigration. In Acts chapter 2 God used a wave of immigrants to spread His gospel. Jerusalem was bulging at the seams as people were coming from every nation to celebrate the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. Pentecost counted fifty days from Passover and celebrated with offerings and first fruits. It was during this special event that God poured out His Spirit and enabled His followers to preach the gospel in the native tongues of the immigrants taking the message of salvation internationally in one afternoon!
Immigration is a hotly debated topic in our society but we need to recognize it as a great avenue for spreading the gospel. In a recent missions presentation, Derald Hunt while talking about his ministry to Muslims in North Carolina, mentioned that someone told him that “they shouldn’t be here.” I like brother Hunt’s response, “What is, is and I’m going to take the opportunity.”
The United States is a melting-pot of nations and as a movement we must take advantage of the opportunity to reach them. Hindus and Muslims who in their homelands would be difficult and costly to reach with the gospel are now being brought out of their closed countries and laid at our doorstep with all the liberties we need to evangelize them. We must prepare and plan for a harvest among them! While these religions are still minorities and vulnerable in our nation we should increase our efforts to impact them with the gospel.
3. Church Planting. This is more than just a catchy trend in missiology. I believe this is a core Biblical model to be followed. When Jesus commissioned his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”, how did they interpret that? Did they become strictly social workers? No. They became church planters. House churches sprung up all across the Roman empire. Paul especially focused on urban centers, preaching in synagogues, plazas and public gatherings. We need to pick up the mantle. We desperately need church planters trained in our Bible colleges. We dare not be content with what we are, but we must keep believing in what we can become; a militant movement that prays out bars, that preaches with conviction and plants churches in the most daunting of places.
The book of Acts does not have to be just a history lesson but rather a challenge for us to see God moved in powerful ways in our day. Let’s take advantage of so many opportunities God is putting in our path. He is ready to pour out His Spirit on us so we will be His witnesses, for this promise is for us and for our children and for our children’s children. It’s time to act!