Will You Support the Proclamation of the Gospel?

20120911-202149.jpg “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” (3 John 1:5-8 ESV)

Anyone who has read my articles knows that I consider the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ of paramount importance. In the American evangelical church, there are literally thousands of ideas that are promoted for church growth, very few of them are biblical. In fact, the one truly biblical church growth method – prayer, bible study, preaching the gospel and trusting solely in the work of the Holy Spirit – is often, if not almost exclusively, ignored in the modern church. We have covered a lot pragmatic, seeker sensitive, unbiblical efforts leveled at “church growth” here on Defending Contending, and why those efforts are not actual evangelism, so I will not belabor the point here. What I really want to talk about today are those dedicated evangelists here in America who are giving their all to preach the gospel to everyone they meet.

So often, we get so tied up in identifying the false teachers and heretical teachings that we can sometimes feel like Elijah, thinking that we are the only ones left who truly worship God. Then God reveals that he has a remnant of brethren who have not bowed the knee at the altar of the modern evangelical gospel. And when He has done so, I believe it is a good thing for us to dwell on what God has accomplished through these brethren, to be encouraged by the work they have done and to partner with them in the proclamation of the gospel.

Most often when we think of partnering and support those preaching in the field, we think of foreign missions. And trust me when I say those those ministries sorely need the financial assistance and prayers that Christians regularly provide. But there are also missionaries in our own backyards. Brethren who have committed the entirety of their lives to the daily preaching of the gospel here on the streets of America. They have left the American dream of making their livelihood and wealth in the daily grind of business and entrusted the entirety of their existence to God through His provision so that they might daily preach the gospel any and everywhere they go. And these are not brethren who are out in the field, “Lone Ranger” style, who are accountable only to themselves. I am speaking of committed brethren who are under the authority of their local churches, ready and willing to be held accountable for all they say and do in the name of the Lord. It is my hope and desire that by highlighting just a few of these ministries that the readers of this blog might considering partnering with them, just as John spoke of in the passage above.

Tony Miano is a committed evangelist, a mentor and a dear friend. Some might think I am playing favorites by mentioning him in this article, but trust me I am not. I truly believe that his daily efforts to preach the gospel in California are a direct result of his deep commitment to the Lord and his intense desire to see the lost come to repentance and faith. From 2008 to mid-2012, Tony served as Living Waters’ Director of the Ambassadors’Alliance, as well as the Director of Conferences and Special Projects. Tony’s service with Living Waters included the supervision of 20 Ambassador’s Academies (the ministry’s 3 1/2-day evangelism training program), conferences, State Representative system, and large-scale evangelism projects. Tony also wrote and co-hosted almost 400 episodes of Living Waters’ live, web-based program, “On the Box, with Ray Comfort.” Tony is the author of the book, “Take Up The Shield” (Genesis Publishing Group, 2005). Further information on him can be found at www.tmiano.com.

Bobby McCreery is a fellow graduate of the Living Waters based training program, the Ambassadors Academy. Around October 2008, Bobby was going through the motions of “church” when God shocked him by calling to go on a mission trip to Bolivia. He wondered why God would send him anywhere for His name when he was living the life of a hypocrite. By God’s providence, the mission team leader used a training method for the team that was not endorsed by the church. The Way of the Master training and teachings such as “True and False Conversion” were used by God to reveal to Bobby that he was unrepentant and hell bound, living in a perpetual state of sin. In January 2009, just days before leaving for Bolivia, God granted him the gift of repentance and faith in Christ alone. Bobby is also grateful to God for the mentoring he has received from experienced evangelists in the Atlanta area. Bobby is the veteran of three Super Bowl Outreaches, including two as a team leader and speaker. He is the founder of To the End of the Earth ministries and left his secular job to respond to the Lord’s call to full-time evangelism in January 2011. Further information on Bobby and his ministry can be found at www.totheendoftheearth.org.

Mike Stockwell and Robert Gray are full time evangelists and the founders of Cross Country Evangelism. Mike originally began the ministry after he felt the call of God to begin preaching the gospel full time. He literally packed his belongings in a car and drove from one state to the next, assisted by fellow evangelists who opened their home to him. Today, Mike and Robert are committed to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with people throughout America, Europe, Jamaica and wherever the Lord leads. Open air preaching and one to one conversations are the means by which Mike and Robert proclaim and explain salvation through Christ. Their ministry efforts can located at www.crosscountryevangelism.com.

These are but a few ministries manned by committed brethren who desire nothing more than to preach the gospel to the lost and to bring glory to their Lord and Savior. All I ask is that our readers look into these ministries and prayerfully consider if, and how, they might partner with them. Please understand, none of these ministries has asked Defending Contending for help. This is not an article written at their request. This is a plea from one meager blogger and evangelist to my readers to consider how they might help local ministries preach the gospel to the lost in our own nation. I am not asking you to give out of what you do not have, nor am I asking you to “sow a seed in faith.” I am only asking you as John did to his readers, to see how God might use you with these ministries to further the proclamation of the gospel. Thanks much for your time and patience with me in reading this. May God bless you and may His gospel continued to be preached till He returns.

Tony Miano’s “Cross Encounters” is now on Blog Talk Radio

The confused looking man in the picture is your’s truly as I maintained the call screen switchboard for Tony Miano’s new Internet radio program, “Cross Encounters.” We have written about Mr. Miano, who authors a blog by the same “Cross Encounters” name, previously on this site, and I must say it is an honor and a privilege to work with him on this new endeavor.

I met Tony three years ago via Living Waters evangelism training program. We had previously talked online due to my seeking him out because of our mutual backgrounds and my desire to learn a truly biblical presentation of the gospel. Tony was instrumental in bringing me to the Ambassadors’ Academy, a three day intensive training program for street evangelists. And while that program is no longer in operation, many street evangelists can thank Tony Miano directly for his passion, his determination and his devotion to biblical evangelism which he has passed on to them. I count myself blessed to consider him a mentor and friend.

Recently, due to the poor economic times, Living Waters had to lay off several employees and Tony was one of those among them. While this was truly sad for all involved, Tony has not ceased his efforts to continue preaching the gospel and encouraging others to do the same. By God’s grace, Tony was able to be part of an evangelism effort in London during the Olympic Games, from which he just recently returned. Additionally, he has started an internet radio program called “Cross Encounters,” of which he says, “Cross Encounters Radio will air every Sunday evening, 6-8 PM (PST). The show will focus on the glorification of Christ and the proclamation of His gospel. We will tackle current events and ongoing social issues through the lens of a Christian worldview. We will have guests on the program: authors, bloggers, apologists, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and whoever else we think would help Christians to grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of His Word. We won’t shy away from hot-button topics, whether they are social or theological. And false teachers will not find our program a safe place to hide. We won’t allow any elephants in the room.”

I was humbled and blessed, and a bit shocked, when Tony extended an invite (more like a very less than subtle hint) for me to join him as the official “sidekick” on this program. After about 5 seconds of thought (can you tell this was a difficult decision) I enthusiastically accepted. As I was not near my house when this happened, there was a bit of logistics involved (part of which involved borrowing my dad’s office for two hours). Additionally, I had to learn the switchboard so I could screen calls and monitor the chat room. Thankfully, Blog Talk Radio makes these fairly user friendly!

During our first program, Tony and fellow evangelist, Bobby McCreery, discussed the recent Olympics outreach, they played audio clips in which they talked with YWAM members in London who were not preaching a true gospel message, as well as one of Tony’s open air messages, and took calls from listeners. We had over two hundred listeners for our first program and are thrilled at some of the responses. I encourage you to listen in live, or even download the weekly podcasts to listen to and share. Please help us to make this program a blessing to the Lord and to reach people with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.