|Intro||Ch 1||Ch 2||Ch 3||Ch 4||Ch 5||Ch 6|
|Ch 7||Ch 8||Ch 9||Ch 10||Ch 11||Ch 12|
Chapter 4: The Evangelist and Finance
This is probably the chapter that most budding evangelists will read first! It is a complete mystery to most people how those in the ministry of evangelism can possibly survive. Lots of things in the life of the church give the appearance of being a shambles and this is one of them. There is little or no teaching on the subject and because most people in Christian work today are paid salaries for ministries principally to Christians, church managers tend not to understand the situation either. The best advice Anni and I received as young innocents beginning a work of full time evangelism in Bristol came from Canon Roy Henderson, our vicar: he advised us against relying either on the Church or on people. He said "Put your trust in God". With a home and two young daughters, and having enjoyed a regular salary as a Chartered Surveyor in London, suddenly to have nothing coming in was extremely difficult. However, Anni was able to get a full time job and won an electric typewriter in the Bristol "Top Secretary" competition run by the local Chamber of Commerce, so she was able to do our secretarial work as well.
After about 3 years our own church started to support us in a small way, 2-3 other fellowships would send us a couple of hundred pounds or so at Christmas, but we never really raised sufficient funds to survive, let alone pay our ministry expenses. Accordingly in the early years I would walk the couple of miles into the centre of Bristol carrying my sketch board and paints because bus fares were beyond us. Walking back one evening I stopped in at the Cathedral to see a full choral service in progress with 6 in the congregation. The contrast with my own activities that sunny afternoon in the shopping centre, Broadmead, where I had spoken to 8 crowds of well over 100 each time, made an indelible impression on me. It may be a jolly difficult ministry in many ways, but I have always felt that the freedom to minister the truth to so many people makes it tremendously worthwhile.
When I talk about the number of people being reached so effectively, those without these experiences tend to throw up their hands in disbelief, which is why everywhere I go I show slides of the events I describe. Recently, preaching at the Fellowship of the King in Bristol who are real enthusiasts for our ministry, the Pastor, Stephen Abbott, was utterly amazed to hear how our schools team had spoken to 10,300 children during the week before Easter. The potential for proclamation is boundless and only restricted by the lack of funding.
I was delighted to meet a group of young, keen, newly appointed Elders at a Baptist Church in Nottinghamshire a few years ago when a young couple with two children were in the process of training with O.A.C. at the Bristol School of Evangelism, hoping to go as missionaries to Romania. They had had the call for a number of years and were excited to see it all beginning to happen. The Elders wanted my advice about priorities for finance and in fact had been reading journals kept by previous church administrators going back to 1863. So far as they could see in all that time their Church had never ever supported a missionary. They were keen to get the matter sorted out as a young single pastor was about to join them to lead the fellowship and it was his first incumbency. They also had a young family at All Nations Bible College in training to be missionary clergy. The figures they ultimately adopted were £20,000 per annum for the new pastor, £2,450 for the young family at All Nations, and £1,500 p.a. for the couple going to Romania. Over the years I have discovered that this is generally the level of priority in the minds of most churches. In one church the verger received a salary in excess of the sum given to world mission.
It seems that in adopting secular priority patterns where perceived seniority dictates the level of remuneration, we are totally failing to meet the needs of those in Christian ministry.
In no other "industry" would those going overseas on service for the Company be expected to sacrifice their home and all their possessions to pay for their professional training for the privilege of serving the Company - in rented accommodation, at a very low salary, in a foreign country where they could not hope to provide for the education and welfare of their children as they could at home - and the children lose all their friends.
Sadly, this kind of situation is the norm - and not just for those going overseas. It seems to me increasingly the case that as The Christian Family we present the worst possible witness to the world behaving in this way. It is of course Biblical, in the sense that Joseph's brothers (who were not terribly happy about his special calling) recognised his gifts, took him out and dumped him in a pit. This happens to evangelists all the time! One brilliant guy, who has assisted me with the overseas ministry for more than twenty years, preached to huge crowds in Vienna and Bratislava last year. On returning home to his fellowship, he was told by his Elders that he clearly had no ministry and they had no intention of supporting him and his family. I much enjoy the memory of something Dr. J. I . Packer said to me: "Korky, you'll find it is really very difficult trying to work with the implacably obtuse".
The church system for raising finance is constantly to ask congregations for their support; in most of the non-conformist churches, Church Membership implies a commitment to tithe on a regular basis each month. This enables all those employed by the fellowship to be properly salaried and properly accountable to the Pastor/Eldership. On this basis additional full time and part time pastoral assistants are taken on, and often these will be described to the congregation as "evangelists" although of course they are not. The title "evangelist" gets applied to all kinds of people and the word "evangelism" to all kinds of activities. Please refer to my chapter on "The Evangelist". I particularly enjoyed meeting a wonderfully gifted young couple, both musicians, from the United States, who were performing in church in Budapest some years ago. They announced that their ministry was "a ministry of evangelism helping the church to worship better".
The generosity and unselfishness of the Lord's people are remarkable. However, it is difficult for anyone to "live by faith" and attract gifts to support themselves, when church Administrators have a policy of controlling all funds coming through the fellowship for Christian work of any kind. There is so much ignorance on the subject that most of these dear people won't have the slightest idea that those who do live by faith need financial support at all. If people say "How are you supported?" and you reply "I live by faith" they will take that as meaning they are absolved from all responsibility for your support. I have often been in a situation of going to preach to a large church, not knowing whether I would have the money to get home again afterwards. This was particularly true when I was on missions in Liverpool with a team of 40-50 people working on a housing estate. Travelling around in our team bus, no local church offered us support of any kind - quite the contrary! They wanted to charge me for the use of their premises.
On the Ford Estate where unemployment was over 60%, drug abuse problems abounded, together with gang warfare and widespread vandalism. Our team did a tremendous job locating 300 or so mainly young men and women interested in becoming part of God's family. The local Brethren church was brand new, constructed like The Pentagon, with quarter inch steel plates bolted over all external windows and a steel roof. I could not make them hear me when I knocked on the door, and an urchin with a little white dog on a piece of string said "Do you wanna get in, Mister?" so I said "Yes!". He said "I'll show yer!". He prised a brick off one of the low walls nearby, broke it in half, and chucked the brickbat on to the steel roof with great force. It made an absolutely splendid noise, and an unbelievably furious Brethren chap appeared at the door, very smartly dressed, holding a broom. The urchin said "Geezer to seeya, mate!" whereupon I was allowed in. The urchin followed close behind me with the little white dog, obviously curious to see what it was like inside.
There was some sort of meeting in progress, about 35 men and women in what appeared to me like19th Century costume, looking very serious. The leader was a dead ringer for the Soviet President, Mr. Brezhnev and was clearly not amused. It looked to me as if he had never been amused. I asked whether I might have the use of the building for the team as we would be in the area for a couple of weeks working amongst the teenagers. He did not like the fact that I was a member of an Anglican church, but they were prepared to allow me to use the building for £100 per week. Obviously, I did not have that kind of money and we were not able to use the building - of course if the building isn't the Lord's, if you want to use it, you have to pay for it. The lad then asked for a drink of water for his little dog which further stretched our welcome - such as it was - but the chap with the broom gritted his teeth and very reluctantly brought a saucer of water. On the way out unfortunately the little white dog peed on the end of one of their pews and the urchin was gratefu be under my protection - he kept darting little glances at me and the broom and was careful to keep me between him and it.
I never saw them again - but the chap with the broom turned out to be Doug, who was the only guy from all the churches to come along and take part in the wonderful experiences we had talking to teenagers on the estate, and to help organise the follow-up. I was interested to receive a letter a couple of months later from the Anglican minister who said he felt our time on the estate had been a complete waste of effort as nobody had turned up to join his church. Mr. Brezhnev and the vicar were clearly the sort of people unlikely to see the need for bringing Christ into the lives of local teenagers. Their interest in raising finances and providing other resources likely to bring real results would be non-existent. There are many churches in Bristol like this today - delightful little local fellowships led by splendid sincere people, making absolutely no impact on the community at all as far as one can see. They seem to be locked into their own little ghetto world absorbed completely in each other's needs and in faithfully making sure that the church survives. They regard all funds as belonging to them and members are expected to give only through the church Treasurer.
Our experience is that people who know us, believe in what we do and pray for us, will generally channel their giving through their church, and the Church Council will allocate the amalgamated funds to all kinds of different Societies. The donors tend to take the view that the Elders know best and loyalty precludes debate. Tax refunds are retained in most cases by church treasurers. In Victorian times, wealthy benefactors set up Trusts "for the evangelisation of the locality". In two cases I know of, these funds were long ago subsumed into denominational coffers and in North Devon one was used a few years ago to provide holidays overseas for clergy families. In the case of the Church of England, giving is on such an enormous scale that in a London diocese a few years ago a clergyman in the administration department skilfully salted away £350,000 into a personal account. This went completely un-noticed until accidentally discovered by an accountant. Huge Diocesan Quotas leave local P.C.C.'s with little room to manoeuvre financially. The £140 million or so required by the Church Commissioners towards maintaining our Cathedrals imposes restrictions on what the Bishops can do to help our poorer parishes. To the country as a whole, Cathedrals amount to little more than ecclesiastical museums today.
It is extremely difficult to live by faith, totally dependent on God, when nobody else is doing it.
Living by faith means not talking about money at all and depending on the Holy Spirit to prompt people to provide the financial support for you, your family and your ministry. George Mueller of Bristol was a super example of someone who put this into practice and his story is a glorious testimony of God's faithfulness. However, the editor of "Evangelism" Bill Spencer pointed out to me that Mueller may have lived by faith, but he had the biggest advertising programme in town! Right near the city centre, the continuous building programme of magnificent orphanages, and the hundreds of hungry looking orphans being so beautifully organised and cared for, made his enterprise a very supportable project. Likewise the television images of the Kosovar refugees and their desperate plight stimulated so much interest and love that we were able to raise almost £100,000 in two months which (with help from World Relief in Chicago) enabled Ian and Caralee and their church teams to provide accommodation and food for several thousand refugees in Erseke and elsewhere.
People will give sacrificially for material needs, but not for spiritual ones.
Support for our full time Albanian evangelism and church-planting teams in Albania and Kosova is at a negligible level. T.V. news teams send pictures of people in the final stages of starving to death in countries like Ethiopia and the Sudan and as a result support floods in for the aid agencies. Spiritual destitution fails to evoke concern amongst Christians who do not see the preaching of the Gospel as a life and death issue - in fact most of them do not seem to regard it as important at all - yet brilliant people still turn up asking for training and involvement in this greatest ministry of all.
I was invited to preach at Portsmouth Elim because later that summer we would be bringing a team of 100 or so to work on one of the local housing estates where the needs were very great. University students would be coming from all over the country to take part - half of them recruited by Operation Mobilisation who are wonderful mission partners. In church that Sunday night in January, the place was packed out, the worship had finished, and I was free to share the vision. The congregation were obviously animated and interested and loved the slides of previous similar campaigns which I was able to show. A young Scot called Gordon was walking past on his way to his own church but felt compelled to come in and sit at the back, though he had never been in a Pentecostal church in his life. He told me afterwards how absolutely stunned he was by what he had seen and heard. After the meeting he bought me a cup of tea and said quite simply "God has called me to work with you". I asked when he could start, and he said "Tomorrow week".
Sure enough he turned up in Bristol that Monday morning and camped in our sitting room for a month or two while we found him somewhere to live. He played a full part in all the activities of street preaching and schools ministry, maintaining the old bus, and worked really hard learning the skills that O.A.C. staff evangelists are required to have. He was tremendously inspired by some of the other young men, too - Ken Barrett who had studied law at Bristol University, Neil Simpson with red hair and purple trousers who always found himself doing a lot of counselling after the open air meetings, and of course David Cullimore, the young Rolls Royce turbine engineer, who was headed for the mission field. Gordon fitted right in and became a wonderful preacher. As a German speaker he decided to go and preach in Graz, Austria, wearing a kilt we'd bought from the Oxfam shop and playing a clarinet as he didn't know anything about bagpipes. His ministry was a huge success with good participation from a local church who learned how street evangelism works, good crowds of rather surprised Austrians, who greatly enjoyed his sketch board cartoons and messages, and notably a young Muslim was saved. On the way home in the train, Gordon found himself sitting right next to this young Muslim and was able to do quite a lot of follow-up counselling on the long journey back to the U.K.
Gordon married Pauline, a young O.M. missionary, and God called them specifically to a schools ministry in Gloucestershire where they had settled. Gordon shared his vision with the Elders of his church and was told to demonstrate faithful membership for a year or two and to get a secular job to support his family as this would be good for him to do; accordingly he and Pauline both trained in the nursing profession.
Looking back on it, these dear chaps evidently saw Gordon and Pauline as recipients of their ministry, as opposed to having a ministry which the Elders themselves should encourage and support. Being totally focussed on their own concerns has made it quite impossible to work in partnership with them. Twelve years were to pass, and the Eldership never displayed the slightest interest in releasing Gordon from the need to work in secular employment - a whole generation of young people in Gloucestershire schools has come and gone, and the opportunity to share Christ with them lost.
Last year I advised Gordon and Pauline that if they were ever going to fulfil their original vision, they might as well get on with it. Gordon took part time employment (nursing now out of the question following a back injury) and started to book primary and secondary school assemblies. This Spring of 2000 he spoke to about 4,000 children in the Easter term. He is a very popular speaker at assemblies particularly to teenagers. At one of these schools, 10% of the young people wrote to say they had identified totally with his message, and with God's help would turn away from wrongdoing and seek to lead a godly life, getting to know Jesus.
Various of his current church Elders have now accompanied Gordon on these visits to take assembly and have been very impressed with his directness, his professionalism and the fact that those listening are riveted on his presentations. I wrote to the Eldership suggesting that really this would be a good moment to provide some financial support so that his ministry could grow and develop - and that maybe there might be men and women in their fellowship who would like to learn the skills Gordon possesses. They have recently advised him that they don't intend to help him for a further two years when they might be willing "to release him for evangelism". Gordon and I feel that God has already done the releasing.
It is difficult to see how these sort of people can play anything more than a very peripheral role in winning England for Christ.
They are under the huge disadvantage of having little or no formal theologica£training and little understanding of the ministry skills required, particularly in presenting the Gospel to teenagers. It really does not take much basic intelligence to appreciate that those in school today are potentially the church of tomorrow. Evangelising the very small number met through personal contacts can never be a means of winning a whole generation for Christ. Likewise their non-involvement in missions means that their church messages lack the sort of exciting illustrations that are so demonstrative of the power and the love of God in action. They are much more concerned about their own positions in the fellowship than about accepting someone like Gordon as an important part of the ministry team and they certainly regard church finance as their own. Sadly, it would be easy for me to add a couple of dozen similar stories at this point.
Needless to say, the pressures on an evangelist's wife are appalling; I know of at least one marriage breakdown resulting from it, in another Christian organisation. One of Britain's nationally known evangelists had to support his family by decorating houses for many years.
Over the last 25 years individuals from many of Bristol's evangelical churches have caught the vision for what we do and have helped establish the largest O.A.C. Branch in the world. We now operate in 17 countries and assist with the training of Ugandan clergy and schoolteachers thus enabling the struggling Ugandan church to survive. Most of this has been achieved through the sporadic giving of individual Christians who know us and consider that the preaching of the Gospel to the lost is a significant enterprise. A very small percentage has been church support. In an average month, we minister to about twice as many people as attend the churches in Bristol every year.
For all these reasons the establishment of professional societies such as Open Air Campaigners with the ministry of effectively presenting Christ to the lost, by all means, everywhere, is absolutely essential. A professional society such as O.A.C. performs for its members many of the same functions as the Law Society for lawyers, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for surveyors, and the General Medical Council for doctors. Not belonging to a professional body in my view severely limits the credibility and effectiveness of many evangelists.
I have come to admire the work of Roger Forster very much. He is great fun as a street preacher and on the few occasions I have heard him preach I have been really thrilled with his messages. I like his description of St. Paul's team of travelling evangelists as "the mobile church". In Bristol today our team is the mobile church. Some apologists excuse their lack of support for missions agencies by describing them as "para-church", meaning "they are nothing to do with us". There are lots of examples like this of ways in which we spiritualise our disobedience to the Holy Spirit's instructions to evangelise. The missions agencies are not para-church organisations, they are part of the Christian church with a particular ministry. An individual evangelist may be "para" in that he may work alongside a fellowship for a time, but he is not para-church - he is part of the church. I feel very much that the ministry of the evangelist is so little valued that one of the reasons for writing this book is to put things straight. For the record, those who have played the greatest part in helping me find my way spiritually in the world have all been American missionaries. The almost total indifference of church pastors/managers to those in full time Christian work is more understandable when you appreciate their ministry takes place on only one day a week: most pastors in continental Europe, for example, would regard their ministries as part time and most support themselves with secular jobs.
In fact the life of a full time evangelist is a 6 day week and will probably include a number of preaching presentations every day - so a successful evangelist will not have an opportunity to do secular work as well. Most people in Christian work simply do not understand this. Another reason for this indifference is that it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that many of these pastor/managers are purely motivated by ambition and personal interest in their careers within their particular denominational "Company". David Watson wrote a whole chapter on this subject in his excellent book on "Discipleship", which I found extremely helpful.
When Jesus is not Lord, indifference can very occasionally manifest itself as enmity. One of our evangelists with an international ministry going back many years is from a fairly well-to-do family: he and his wife happen to be very well-spoken. Christian friends tended not to regard them as the kind of people who "need our support" therefore for a number of years their finances were in a very parlous state with the wife in a full time job, the husband away a lot, and the children often being cared for by a surrogate granny down the road. I hoped very much that eventually he would inherit the family business which would have provided a small income to enable the family to lead a more normal life. Unfortunately, however, his sister was married to a Bishop who insisted on liquidating the business as this might secure them a few thousand pounds extra. This exceptionally unpleasant couple then made threats of legal action in the courts to enforce their demands - all this took place while the evangelist was on a number of missions overseas and the whole affair caused a terrific amount of stress and an eventual complete rift in the family, which had been very close. At the funeral this loutish Bishop mounted a vitriolic attack on a rather outspoken charismatic couple who happened to be there; apparently he cannot stand charismatics or evangelists. It is unfortunate that people with dysfunctional personalities occasionally get promoted to a position where they are able to do tremendous damage to the Church.
However - the Lord honours those who honour him, particularly those who preach the Gospel to the lost - so do not be discouraged if you find yourself facing attack or opposition from the most unexpected quarter. Becoming an evangelist means sticking your head up over the battlements in the front line, and you are bound to be shot at!. Incidentally, one of the most usual forms of enemy attack appears to be on the family of the evangelist - particularly on close family members, when the evangelist wants to concentrate on a mission or conference. It is most important to get all the prayer support you can - not just for the finances, but for protection from these spiritual attacks.
I remember being invited by telephone to speak to the Missions Conference at the San Martine de Val de Iglesias Conference Centre, near Madrid, in 1980. I put the phone down very excited and thrilled at the privilege of addressing so many fine Christian workers only to discover later that day that the lowest fare was £161.50p. and we were skint. The last moment for confirming the flight was Friday and in the post on Friday morning came a cheque for £163 from a couple in Sussex I hadn't seen for years! Obviously they had no idea of this particular need - so I was able to enjoy a small glass of wine with my lunch on the flight as well (drinks were extra in those days). It has been like this all down the years, and in the lean times Barclays Bank have stoically stood by us in a way that churches have been unwilling to do. The manager even lent me a couple of thousand pounds to buy an old bus for our Spanish and Italian campaigns - and although he said he was not a believer himself, he was happy to say that in 40 years of banking he had never been let down by a Christian. This contrasts with Tear Fund who, in the emergency in Albania, refused to work through the Albanian church "as a matter of policy" we were told..
People new to living by faith will notice that income dries up at the beginning of the summer - this always happens, but generally by the end of December things will have picked up again. It would be lovely for the housekeeping budget to be able to rely on a regular pay packet on a regular day each month, but living by faith keeps you on your knees, keeps you listening to the Lord for the next directions, and lands you with the most amazing miracles along the way that assure you He is in charge and knows about all your needs. Looking back, all the bills have been paid, our needs more than met, our four girls educated at the best grammar schools in Bristol (courtesy of the Assisted Places scheme), and we have been given the cream of the Lord's people to work with.
was in that visit to Spain in a very big way: as I stood up at 8 p.m.
to do my first presentation on open air evangelism (it was 6th June)
the Spanish Parliament in Madrid ratified new laws on public order
that legalised the holding of evangelistic open air meetings in the
streets and in all public places - but with the interesting proviso
that the Gospel may not be preached within 40 metres of a Roman
Catholic building! Today England and Spain are the only two European
countries where the right for Christians to hold public meetings is
enshrined in law.
Many marvellous young men and women joined our training programme and undertook the twice-yearly visits to Spain where we would often speak to between 10,000 and 15,000 during a week of evening meetings in the streets and squares. Once on a visit to a small town in central Spain we identified so many enquirers and possible converts that the beginnings of an entire new church fellowship came about in less than 36 hours. On the way home, we ran out of money. We realised that we could fuel the bus and just possibly afford the occasional cup of coffee, but coming over the Sierra Nevada during the night we were all extremely cold (the heater wasn't working) and absolutely exhausted from long hours of street preaching. At about 6 a.m. we noticed a very smart white concrete cafe at the side of the road with a number of lorries and cars outside and decided unanimously that we could just afford to have half a cup of coffee each. As we walked in, we trooped past a long counter with a perspex lid, loaded with the most marvellous cakes and pastries. By now desperately hungry, we noticed a very muscular, tough-looking old Spanish lady all dressed in black, stuffing a bin liner with food left by some of the customers. We were all wondering how we might get our hands on that bin liner!
Our coffee arrived, and we watched each other like hawks to make sure each only drank half ... suddenly the family of five on the table next door got up and left, abandoning all their food - a tray of delicious toasted teacakes, quite untouched. Quickly, Neil Branscombe, our most slippery team member, nipped across and grabbed the tray before the bin liner could arrive, and we polished off the lot in double-quick time. To our absolute horror, the family then came back! They were looking high and low for their food... They began addressing angry words to the gorilla with the bin liner, who in turn responded angrily. Our Spanish was not able to cope with the vocabulary being used and we all thought the safest course of action was to withdraw speedily. It really was a dreadful experience and we were not at all amused at the time, although the dozens of stories we have (most of them not like that!) are a great source of amusement looking back today.
One of the reasons for our difficulties on missions was that many of the young Bible college students who came with us would not have the finances to help cover their costs and it was our policy never to refuse a place to someone who really felt God wanted them to come. I remember sitting outside the Billy Graham Crusade meetings at Anfield - our bus parked in amongst a row of others - waiting for people to come out, overhearing a vicar walking past with his Youth Group and one of them saying to him "Oh, look - there's the O.A.C. bus! I'm booked to travel on that to Spain next month" to which the vicar replied confidently "Don't be silly - they'll never take you all that way in an old banger like that!". But we did! (In fact we did 16 or 17 trips over the years, doing all the maintenance on the bus ourselves - eventually it went for village evangelism in Scotland.)
Our financial struggles meant that we were very grateful when supporters gave us their old cars. Over the years I totally rebuilt eleven engines and gear boxes to provide transport for us and the team. Each one took about a fortnight and would then run for 150,000-200,000 miles. We always passed on cars in very good condition, which gave me a great deal of satisfaction as I enjoy working on engines. It was then a great surprise when a local businessman drove in with an almost new Volvo estate car, bright red, with under 30,000 miles on the clock, handed me the keys and said "It's yours - but you've got to pay for it." "How much?" I said. "Give me three..." I assumed he meant three thousand pounds, a very good deal for an £8,000 car. I thought quickly how I might get Barclays to help me yet again and said yes, only to discover that he actually meant £3, not £3,000! Apparently under our British tax laws, businessmen can write down cars against tax in 3-5 years and I think it is extraordinary that more of them don't do this. Having the Volvo absolutely transformed our ministry in Italy and central and Eastern Europe where I was able to go on extended trips carrying five people and towing a half ton trailer full of equipment for the seminars I was holding for would-be evangelists. Many of them are now in full production all over the southern half of what was the Soviet Union and in the so-called "closed" countries further east. I have a tremendous admiration for the work many of them are doing.
Paul was in the Fleet Air Arm all through World War II. As navigator, he had to find the carrier again in the middle of the ocean. He would refer to his pilot as "my driver". He and his driver went after the Bismarck but in the bad weather were fortunately unable to find it. Later that day others who did find it were all killed. A businessman in Bristol, Paul and his wife Mary were a terrific source of encouragement and support right from the beginning and longed to see the church as a whole play a much more active part in Christian ministry. He would arrive in their ancient M.G. and chat for ages about engines and aeroplanes and then quietly hand me a cheque for a thousand pounds, an astonishing help to us and often arriving when we were seriously wondering whether we could survive another week. What made it so very special to us was quite simply that it was from them.
We have been made acutely aware that God does have very significant people who have such a commitment to the Gospel as to be moved to take concrete steps to assist God's messengers.
We have never contemplated fund-raising but have depended quite simply on the Lord and his provision, and looking back on it, it is extraordinary how we have survived, paid the bills, and been free to do some really remarkable things. These mainly involved the mobilising, training and equipping of hundreds of men and women who now have highly effective ministries to the lost.
Starting out, it is no good simply sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring and gifts of money to start arriving. They won't. Most of our recruits and most of our support have come through being seen to be doing the work. The very first open air meeting I had in Bristol I was alone for only a very short time before seven or eight Christians joined in to help with counselling enquirers. The opportunity to begin what was to become the largest schools ministry in Europe came when a school teacher in the open air crowd asked if I would take a school assembly for her. As you walk through doors that God has opened, others open ahead of you, and the finances come. Anni's job was no less one provided by the Lord, and the training she received there has equipped her for the work she is now doing for O.A.C. When the O.A.C. work became too much to handle in her spare time, the funds were there to enable her to give up that job and work at home. By all means take secular work part time to help you get started, and you will see that as your ministry develops, so the ministry gifts will increase. A very helpful book is "Friend Raising" published by Y.W.A.M. The secret is not to set about fund-raising but to make lots of friends, and to keep them regularly informed of what you are doing so that they can pray for you and feel part of what you are doing, becoming your supporters in more than one sense of the word. From time to time some of our friends will come with us on the big street campaigns in Europe during the summer, which they really enjoy, and which gives them first hand experience of the super things that happen.
In the next chapter I shall explain how evangelism becomes a truly effective ministry.