Saturday, 20 July 2013

Are you for or against tent mission evangelism?

I believe the question above is an important one to ask. If you are for them, does that mean ‘yes, when someone else does them’, or by you getting involved in doing them?

I have been involved in a number of tent missions over the years. Some have been wonderful, where I have seen many decisions for Christ and others where it has been hard work to even get people to come along to the tent, let alone to sit in it while someone preaches! Without a doubt they are great to be part of and working with people on endeavours like this build character besides learning a lot about the people you work with.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: (") ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10: 14

The scriptures above both say something that is very important. The emphasis is on the fact that a person either goes or is sent. This type of evangelism means stepping out of our comfort zones and having to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. After all that is what He wants us to do isn’t it? We never go on our own and neither will we be sent alone. The Holy Spirit will always go with us.

Key Point: We must go to where the people are and share the Gospel in word, action and deeds.

I am only going into a little detail here because there is a lot of work involved. There are many other practical jobs that need to be done on any mission of this type. Without a doubt it needs to be led by someone with good organisational and management skills. Recently I have worked with someone who is outstanding at this. It makes everything run smoothly and I believe these people are as important as the evangelist who preaches the Gospel, because without them it won’t function properly.

The other important aspect of a tent type mission is teamwork. Firstly in order to be effective you will need sufficient team members to accomplish the practical work. The planning and administration can be time consuming. Depending on where you are holding the event you may need to apply to a local authority for permission, set up health and safety policies, inform the local police authorities and all that is besides things like catering if you are providing food for events.

All of this needs to be done before organising the putting up and taking down of the tent.  Decisions must be made on a specific group of people who would perform ministries that would normally take place in a church. These range from those who welcome people as they arrive, to prayer teams, worship groups, and people who preach the messages.

The other important element is a team of people who are willing to “Go” out and meet people. This can take many forms, of course. The main aim is to go and talk to people about Jesus. Here are some examples that I have been involved with and used over the years:

·        Leaflet dropping
·        Street preaching
·        Street entertainment
·        School visits
·        Door to door visitation
·        Events such as barbeques and other related activities
·        Completing questionnaires on the streets and house to house
·        Prayer for the sick
·        Sporting activities
·        Men’s events
·        Women’s events

Other considerations are:

Commitment: This is important because it often means a person taking time off work to be available. This means sacrifice of time as well as money, for the good of reaching those who are away from Christ. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9

Prayer: For me this is one of the most vital elements. More often that not there is a huge spiritual battle over the area. Opposition needs to be broken down through the prayers of the saints. Without it the job is made more difficult. “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18: 19
Unity: This may seem obvious, but the whole team needs to be pulling in the same direction and in agreement with the main objectives. When that happens, the Lord always blesses it.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion,  for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore.” Psalms 133: 1-3
Holding a tent mission means going to an area, setting up and followed by going to where the people are with the message of the Gospel.

I have seen many people come to Christ through them, plus many miracles of God's grace. Probably the biggest impact of them has been on my own life.

I highly recommend it.