It is not too difficult to notice a new spiritual hunger in people. The media is overflowing with television shows and movies related to spirituality. Shows like, Charmed, Medium and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are indicators of the new openness people have to spirituality, though these shows are not a positive influence. With this increasing interest in the occult and New Age spirituality, one cannot help but wonder if demonic forces have invaded our society. I believe that we are seeing this strange awakening to spirituality because God Himself is planting a spiritual hunger in people and they are searching for understanding and fulfillment.
A new way to do evangelism
Ten years ago God directed me to begin using the spiritual gifts of the word of knowledge and prophecy (1 Corinthians 12) as a means of evangelism to reach people who are not responding to traditional evangelistic methods. Because people are already going to psychics, why not let them know what God truly has to say to them? It sounds kind of spooky and hard to do but actually, we found that it is as easy giving as speaking words of encouragement.
Basically, a word of knowledge is something that the Holy Spirit communicates to us and it is usually about a present or past situation while prophecy is about the future. We have trained ourselves to communicate what we sense God saying in everyday language, avoiding insider Christian talk and obscure Bible references. We are finding that people are actually very open to hearing from God and even receive Jesus Christ during these encounters.
Where’s that in the Bible?
When I first set out to do this type of evangelism, I searched the Bible and found in John 1:45–51 that Jesus drew Nathanael to follow Him by giving him a word of knowledge when He stated, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” It must have been accurate because Nathanael was amazed that Jesus knew about his character. Jesus also told Nathanael that He had “seen” Nathanael sitting under a fig tree; perhaps it was where Nathanael had his prayer times with God, because Jesus did call Nathanael a man of truth. Jesus went on to give him a word of prophecy for the future. This encounter caused Nathanael to declare, “Rabbi, you are the son of God, the King of Israel,” and to become one of His followers.
In John 4:7–30, 39–41, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman and they began to talk about worshipping God. Then Jesus tells her a little about herself: she had been married five times and was not married to the man she now lived with. He did this without condemning her; He did it by a word of knowledge (about her past and present). Had Jesus been judging her, He would have called her an adulterous woman. Instead, He said to her, “What you said is quite honest.” Jesus seemed to find the positive in people. Jesus had appraised her accurately and His compassion and concern for her ignited an evangelistic flame inside. She ran back to the town to tell everyone about Him, which caused many Samaritans to follow Jesus that day.
Loving and encouraging people
We need to see ourselves as missionaries to our own communities. We need to study the language and culture and find ways to fit the message of Jesus into what people already believe. In today’s pop culture, there is a large number of “reality TV” shows. Many of these shows are mean-spirited and attempt to make rejecting people funny. The “Makeover” shows on the other hand, tend to build people up. Why not become part of an “Extreme Make Over—God Edition”!
It is evident with the increased popularity of psychics that people are longing to hear from God. People today are gripped by fear, beat down, and stressed out. They long for encouragement and hope. According to First Corinthians 14:3, prophecy (or any form of revelation) is for strengthening, encouragement, and comfort, especially when it is used as a means of evangelism.
One of our many approaches to Prophetic Evangelism is to give people encouragement and words from God about their destiny. It is very similar to how Jesus interacted with Nathaniel and the Samaritan woman. We say things like, “We took a class on how to encourage people; can we practice on you?” We go on to tell them how God sees them and give them new hope. We often hear, “Are you psychics?” That is actually their way of saying that you are accurate with what you are saying. We respond with, “No we are learning to hear God,” or “We are Christians, but probably not like most that you have met before.”
Imagine the possibilities if Christians everywhere began to speak positive words of encouragement to people. I’m convinced it would change the face of evangelism and bring millions of people into a relationship with Jesus.
About The Author
Doug Addison is the founder of InLight Connection, and he travels worldwide helping people transform their lives and discover their destiny. His training seminar topics include finding your destiny, hearing God, and understanding dreams and visions. Doug is the author of the books, Prophecy, Dreams and Evangelism and Personal Development God’s Way. He and his wife, Linda live in Santa Maria, California. For more information, visit www.dougaddison.com.