Every Monday night, regardless of holidays or weather, upwards of 40 people disperse and make their way to five set locations in the City of Calgary. First, they have met together and spent an hour in worship, training, and prayer. Monday Night Evangelism is a ministry of Centre Street Church but is not solely confined to people from CSC. Over the 17 years the ministry has been running, God has drawn men, women and young people to join them. Currently, there are approximately 80 people on the evangelism team, from 12 area churches. A motorhome transports equipment, Bibles, and some chairs to each location. Team members at each site sing worship songs as a crowd gathers, preach a short gospel message or someone shares a brief testimony.
Following this, free pizza slices and hot chocolate are on offer and the team is alert, listening to God for opportunities He presents to engage others in spiritual conversations. Sometimes these are ‘one time only’ opportunities to bless individuals and invite them to follow Jesus. In these cases, the results are known only to God. But often the same people return again and again and relationships are built and lives are changed. For some, even when they are off the street and living further away, a Monday night location has become their ‘church’ and they become regulars. Val, from CSC, has been leading the group for 7 years. She says they are not looking only for team members who have the gift of evangelism. Rather they are looking for people who will, in simple obedience, answer God’s call to everyone to preach the good news and make disciples.
The following vignette received from Val is but one of many examples of God’s leading in an actual conversation. It highlights for each of us the importance of ongoing prayer for those who are not yet following Jesus, as it illustrates God’s delight in using obedient servants of His to answer those prayers. With God, there are no random encounters.
“We walked back to the motorhome and a young man came up and asked if there was any pizza. I was able to give him a muffin. I asked if I could pray for him. I could smell alcohol on his breath but he was very coherent and not drunk. Through our conversation I found out that he struggled with alcohol and drugs. He was staying at the Drop-In Centre but had not been there long and had never been homeless before. His parents died when he was 13 and he was raised by his grandparents. His grandma prayed for him. I then knew there was a spiritual war over his soul, and that I got to be an answer to her prayers. He asked for prayer for her as she was struggling with stage 4 cancer. He knew there was a God and took Him very seriously. He was very ashamed that he had been drinking and to have me pray for him in that state. I assured him God wanted him to come as he was. I prayed for him and he was very thankful. I told him to make a decision about who he was going to serve, and to think about if alcohol and drugs were going to be his master. I told him God had so many plans for him, but he had to make a decision. He agreed with me and said he did not like who he was. I did not want him to make any decisions in that moment as I did not know how much he had been drinking. I wanted him to think about it and I pray he will remember my words. I urged him to read a Bible and gave him one. I could see God’s potential for him…how exciting it will be when he fully surrenders to God.”
As would be expected, this ministry is not without opposition. The team faces both natural and demonic opposition, but they continue undaunted in the strength of the Lord who sends them out and goes with them.