So what can we learn from reading about
the success story of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Fresh Wind,
Fresh Fire? What makes their local church evangelism so
successful and powerful? 1) Their evangelism is driven by
the Holy Spirit, brought into action from prevailing intercessory
prayer. People turned on by the Holy Spirit let the love of
Christ within them shine out to those in need within the community
through good deeds, good works they perform. 2) Then those
people in need, warmed buy the love of Christ respond to the
preached gospel of Christ and receive salvation. Let me explain.
Work parties would go down into the "bad" sections of Brooklyn
handing out blankets, and then invite any who wanted to go
back for a warm meal and church service. Holy Spirit led good
works coupled to the preaching of the gospel is a powerful
form of direct local church evangelism. Usually what would
happen is that a local member would spot a need somewhere
in the community, and then communicate that need back to Pastor
Cymbala. Pastor Cymbala would then assign a work party to
that individual, who would then lead it to fulfill its task
of mercy, coupled to an invitation back to church. Say someone
in church heard of say a single mom with two daughters who
needed assistance in moving from a house they're renting to
an apartment in another town. She is on government assistance
and can't afford a moving van or to hire anyone. The person
who knows about this communicates this to the pastor. When
a sizeable work party shows up with a moving van and moves
her within three hours from start to finish and she knows
its from this person's church, she sees the care and concern
these people have for her. So many showed up, just for her.
Her desire is to be with these warm people, so she asks when
and when services are. Now let's look at this same scenario,
had only two people showed up, one the person who found out,
and another friend. They rent a moving van, work real hard,
and seven and a half hours later, with the mom's relatives
having to show up, she's finally moved into the apartment.
These two church members worked their "tails" off, and the
lady saw their love and concern, but must come to the conclusion
that these people are good caring Christians, but she's not
so sure about their whole congregation. I hope you are
beginning to see that true evangelism is composed of two components--the
preached gospel of Christ and the demonstrated gospel of Christ.
You may ask at this point, "Where did Jesus say that good
works were an important element of the gospel?" Let's see.
Matthew 25:34-40. "Then the King will say to those on his
right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your
inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation
of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to
eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was
a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you
clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then
the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you
hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to
drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or
needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or
in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell
you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
So a pastor is a coordinator and facilitator of promoting
the Gospel by and through directing his "soldiers in Christ"
to spiritual "hot spots", areas of need in the community,
which have been brought to his attention by local members--acting
out the part of recon scouts in the advance of the Gospel.
The local pastor is also in charge of preaching the gospel
of Christ, the Word of God in a simple, clear way.
So we see, local church evangelism marches forward on two
legs, both being empowered by the Holy Spirit:
- Good works (Matthew 25:34-40).
- The preaching of the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ.
What follows are some incredible excerpts
from Pastor Jim Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.
This book should be ordered and read in its entirety to
see just how Pastor Cymbala applied these powerful principles
of local church evangelism through the power of answered prevailing
prayer and the Holy Spirit. You can order this book online
In 1972, the Brooklyn Tabernacle's spark
was almost out. Then the Holy Spirit lit a fire that couldn't
be quenched. Here are some short excerpts from pastor Jim
Cymbala's incredible story about evangelism in action, taken
from his book "FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE". This book is a must
for any individual, pastor or church congregation who earnestly
desire to know the true secret of evangelizing and Christian
pp. 57-58, "Trouble is one of God's great servants because
it reminds us how much we continually need the Lord."
p. 58, "Prayer begets Revival, which begets more prayer."
p. 59, "The reason "other churches" don't grow: "Jim, the
truth is, I couldnt have a real prayer meeting in my
church. I'd be embarrassed at the smallness of the crowd
p.66, "Persistent calling upon the name of the Lord breaks
through every stronghold of the devil, for nothing is impossible
with God. For Christians in these troubled times there is
simply no other way."
p. 69, For all of us involved in preaching the gospel, performing
music, publishing Christian materials, and all the rest, there
is an uncomfortable message here: Jesus is not terribly impressed
with religious commercialism (Mark 11:15-18). p. 70, I am
dismayed by the contracts required by some contemporary musical
groups. To perform a concert at your church, the stated fee
will be so much (in either four or five figures) plus round
trip airfare--often first class, not coach. Every detail of
the accommodations is spelled out, down to "sushi for twenty
persons" waiting at the hotel, in one case. All this is done
so that the group can stand before an inner-city audience
and exhort the people to "just trust the Lord for all your
The first century money changers were in the
temple, but they didn't have the spirit of the temple
were out of sync with the whole purpose of the Lord's house.
"The atmosphere of my Father's house," Jesus seemed to say,
"is to be prayer. The aroma around my Father must be that
of people opening their hearts in worship and supplication.
This is not a place to make a buck. This is a house for calling
on the Lord."
p. 71, "The feature that's supposed to distinguish Christian
Churches, Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer
the Bible ever say anywhere from Genesis to Revelation "My
house shall be called a house of preaching?" Does it ever
say, "My house shall be called a house of music?" Of course
not. The Bible does say, "My house shall be called a house
of prayer for all nations." Preaching, music, the reading
of the Word--these things are fine--but they must never override
prayer as the defining mark of God's dwelling.
p. 72, "What does it say about our churches today that God
birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings
today are almost extinct?"
Secret of Grace"
pp. 80-81, "Paul outlines in Romans 10:13-15
a chain of events that describes New Testament salvation:
"Every one who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How then, can they call on the one they have not believed
in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not
heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to
them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" Churches
often refer to this passage in connection with overseas missionary
work. "We need to give a good offering today in order to send
out preachers" they say--which is true. But that is just the
beginning of Paul's sequence. Sending leads to preaching.
Preaching leads to hearing, hearing leads to believing [faith],
[and] believing [faith] leads to calling on the name of the
Lord." Notice that believing is not the climax
is one more step for demonstrating a real and living faith,
and that is calling out to God with all of one's heart and
soul. The clearest instructions about Church life come in
the Pastoral Letters where Paul tells young pastors such as
"I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone
the same chapter (vs. 8) Paul says, "I want men everywhere
to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing."
That is a sign of the Christian Church.
p. 83, "Over the last 30 years more books have been written
about marriage than in all the preceding 2,000 years of church
history. But ask any pastor in America if there aren't proportionally
more troubled marriages today than in any other era. We have
the how-to's, but homes are still falling apart. The
couple that prays together stays together. I don't
mean to be simplistic; there will be difficult moments in
any union, but God's Word is true when it says, "Call upon
me, and I will help you. Just give me a chance." The same
holds true for parenting
Again J.B. Phillips points out a great insight:
"The Holy Spirit has a way of short-circuiting human problems.
Indeed, in exactly the same way as Jesus Christ in the flesh
cut right through the matted layers of tradition and exposed
the real issue;
so we find here [in Acts] the Spirit
of Jesus dealing not so much with problems as with people.
Many problems comparable to modern complexities never arise
here because the men and women concerned were of one heart
and mind in the Spirit
Since God's Holy Spirit cannot
conceivably have changed one iota through the centuries,
is perfectly prepared to short-circuit, by an inflow of love,
wisdom and understanding, many human problems today."
p. 86, "God says to us, "Pray, because I have all kinds of
things for you; and when you ask, you will receive. I have
all this grace, and you live with scarcity. Come unto me,
all you who labor. Why are you so rushed? Where are you running
now? Everything you need, I have."
If the times are indeed as bad as we say they are
the darkness in our world is growing heavier by the moment
we are facing spiritual battles right in our own homes and
then we are foolish not to turn to the One who
supplies unlimited grace and power. He is our only source.
We are crazy to ignore him."
p. 97, "The key in not money; organization, cleverness, or
education. Are you and I seeing the results Peter saw? Are
we bringing thousands of men and women to Christ the way he
did? [pastor Cymbala can rightfully ask these questions.]
If not, we need to get back to His power source
p. 103, "When we get serious about drawing on God's power,
remarkable things will happen." Acts 4:1-3, 4-14,18,21-31.
"The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees
came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the
people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were
teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection
of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was
evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many
who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew
to about five thousand. The next day the rulers, elders and
teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest
was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other
men of the high priest's family. They had brought Peter and
John before them: 'By what power or what name did you do this?'
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers
and elders of the people! If we are being called to account
today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple [Acts 3] and
are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the
people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that
this man stands before you healed. He is 'the stone you builders
rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found
in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given
to men by which we must be saved.' When they saw the courage
of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled,
ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that
these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the
man who had been healed standing there with them, there was
nothing they could say
Then they called them in again
and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name
After further threats they let them go. They
could not decide how to punish them, because all the people
were praising God for what had happened. For the man who was
miraculously healed was over forty years old.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people
and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said
to them. When the people heard this they raised their voices
together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you
made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything
in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of
your servant, our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and
the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their
stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and
against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate
met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in
this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom
you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided
beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their
threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great
boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous
signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.'
After they had prayed, the place where they were meeting was
shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke
the word of God boldly."
What you just read was an early Christian prayer meeting,
held to meet a governmental threat head-on--David and Goliath
p. 105, The prayer of the early believers recorded in Acts
4 highlights three fundamentals from which we are in danger
of sliding away:  "Enable your servants to speak your word
with great boldness
 Stretch out your hand to heal
and perform miraculous signs and wonders" (vv. 29-30)."
p. 112, "The trouble with man-made novelties is that they
don't produce the impressive results that are often advertised."
p. 113, "There is no better example of God's moving mightily
in a city than the account told in Acts 11:20-21, "
from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak
telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people
believed and turned to the Lord." Such a harvest occurred
that Barnabas was dispatched from Jerusalem to check things
out. "When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of
God, he was glad
And a great number of people were brought
to the Lord" (vv. 23-24). Who were these men who launched
such a mighty church
? We don't know their names. We
don't know their methodology
whether they were pre-millennial
or postmillennial or amillennial. But we do know a couple
of things: They spread "the Good News about the Lord Jesus,"
and "the Lord's hand was with them" (vv. 20-21)."
p. 115, "Let's forget the novelties. If we prevail
in prayer, God will do only what he can do. How he
does things, when he does them, and in what manner are up
to him. The name of Jesus, the power of his blood, and the
prayer of faith have never lost their power over the centuries."
p. 121, "When I ask fellow pastors the same question, I get
the same answer--plus two others: "Membership is at five-fifty,
we've just finished a new education wing, and our gross income
this year will top out at $400,000." Attendance, Buildings,
and Cash, A-B-C. The new holy trinity."
p. 122, "No church, including the one I pastor, should be
measured by its attendance."
pp. 122-123, "Then what kind of spiritual things DO matter
in a book-of-Acts church? The apostles' prayer in Acts 4 provides
our next benchmark:  "Enable your servants to speak your
word with great boldness" (v. 29). What the
disciples wanted was not numbers but an essential quality
that would keep them BEING the church God intended. Boldness
can only be imparted by the Holy Spirit."
p. 124, "The apostles realized that without a bold aggressive
attitude in proclaiming God's Word, they would not build the
church Jesus intended, the apostles weren't trying to finesse
people. They had not the faintest intention of asking, "What
do people want to hear? How can we draw people to church on
The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers
but rather urges us faithfully to proclaim God's message in
the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This will build God's church
p. 125, "God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church. He
only calls us to do his work, proclaiming his Word to people
he loves under anointing power of the Holy Spirit to produce
results that only he can bring about."
p. 135, ""There will come a day, Paul says, when all our work
will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it
to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will
test the quality of each man's work" (I Cor. 3:13). The gold,
silver, and precious stones will endure while the wood, hay,
and straw will go up in smoke. Paul doesn't say that the QUANTITY
will be tested. He says nothing about attendance totals. Everything
will focus on QUALITY
"What's the difference between
these materials, besides the obvious--that one group is fireproof
while the other isn't?" Wood, hay, straw are abundant
if you want gold, silver, and costly stones, you have to "dig"
for them. They're not just lying around everywhere. You have
to go deep into the earth. To me, these words are profound.
Spiritual "construction" that uses wood, hay and straw comes
easy--little work, little seeking, no travail, no birthing.
You just slap it up and it will look adequate--for awhile.
But if you want to build something that will endure on Judgment
Day, the work is much more costly."
p. 138, [Part III of the Acts 4 formula], "BEYOND HEAD KNOWLEDGE:
The absent element is what is expressed in the final sentence
of the prayer recorded in Acts 4:  "Stretch out your hand
to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.""
p. 139, "In too many churches today, people don't see manifestations
of God's power in answer to fervent praying. Instead, they
hear arguments about theological issues that few people care
p. 140, "People pay attention when they see that God actually
changes persons and sets them free. When a new Christian stands
up and tells how God has revolutionized his or her life, no
one dozes off. When someone is healed or released from a life-controlling
bondage, everyone takes notice. William Law, an English devotional
writer of the early 1700's wrote, "Read whatever chapter of
Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with it--yet
it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as it found
you unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit
of God, and brought you into full union with and dependence
One way to recognize whether we suffer from this disconnection
is to look at our concern for people who are dirty
who are "other"
people who don't fit the core group's
image. The ravages of sin are not pleasant--but they are what
Jesus came to forgive and heal. "The Son of Man came to seek
and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Yet Christians often
hesitate to reach out to those who are different. They want
God to clean the fish before they catch them."