This is a guest post by Jordan Seng. He is the senior pastor of Bluewater Mission, and has been engaged in teaching, healing and prophetic ministry, worship, small groups, missions and church planting for the last twenty years. Before helping to begin Bluewater Mission, he served for four years in the Presbyterian church and about 16 in the Vineyard association of churches. He holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Chicago, with a Ph.D. in Political Theory. He is the author of Miracle Work: A Down-to-Earth Guide for Supernatural Ministries (InterVarsity Press). He and his wife Sonya have two children.
A self-proclaimed atheist came with a friend to a recent spiritual encounter retreat hosted by a young man in our church. She was just curious to see what it was like. The host politely asked the non-believing visitor if he could include her as he prayed for attendees to be filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. She obliged, and soon felt a surge of power as the Holy Spirit filled her and she burst out speaking in tongues. She was totally shocked. The next day she returned to the retreat and accepted Jesus as Lord.
Another non-believing young woman was brought to our church because of bizarre, uncontrolled outbursts she’d been having. While one of our leaders prayed over her in our office, she lost control of herself physically and cried out in a fashion we recognize as demonic. The young leader cast out the demon, and began a healing friendship with the woman. Today she’s in control and following Jesus like a trooper.
These stories are a little weird, and also very biblical. They reflect, for example, the descriptions of the deliverances and healings Philip used to evangelize Samaria (Acts 8), or the way the Spirit fell upon the gathering of seekers in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), or Paul’s assertion that tongues are a sign for nonbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22). The New Testament is filled with accounts of how healings, deliverances, prophecies, and manifest outpourings of the Spirit helped fuel the evangelism and growth of the early Church.
But I find that very few churches today make the effort to use supernatural ministries evangelistically. Why is that?