We are seeking to raise up a style of ministry in the New Age marketplace that is both wise and gentle. In the marketplace ministry we have often found that “less is more!” Our tendency is to want to tell people everything we know but we have found that when we don’t come on too strong it leaves a sense of mystery that will hopefully draw something out of those who have just experienced God, stirring them to probe a little deeper.

We only tell people what they need to know in order to prime them for a God encounter. We proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and then we proceed to lay hands on people in order to bring them into an intense experience of the love and power of Christ. If they have a God encounter, as so many of the people who we minister to do, we take it a step further and tell them who it was who just healed or touched them; the love and power of Christ.

We only tell people what they need to know in order to prime them for a God encounter. We proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and then we proceed to lay hands on people in order to bring them into an intense experience of the love and power of Christ. If they have a God encounter, as so many of the people who we minister to do, we take it a step further and tell them who it was who just healed or touched them; the love and power of Christ.

Jesus told parables in order to tantalize His disciples to search the matter out. In listening to the words of a parable we intuitively sense there are deeper spiritual truths embedded in the symbols and metaphors in the story and it draws something out of us and entices us to dig a little deeper. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”1)Proverbs 25:2

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.”2)Matthew 13:44 The Kingdom of Heaven is sufficiently evident but sufficiently hidden. God always enshrouds His revelation in mystery so that people enter into the joy of seeking and finding. How many evangelistic encounters have been ruined through over-kill? We have to know how to spoon feed people and entice them to explore the mystery just as God does with us.

We underestimate the potency of what we carry within. Let the encounter speak louder than words and then let your words be few. Sow a seed that will still allow an element of profound mystery that will entice people to explore in the same way a parable draws us into a spiritual odyssey. This is the power of the covert operation. It is definitely a road less travelled.

We are dispensers of the glory realm of Heaven and one drop of supernatural peace goes a long way with someone who is accustomed to torment! One drop of love goes a long way with someone who lives perpetually in isolation and rejection! The healing power of Christ is a rare commodity indeed in the world. One drop of healing power arrests the attention of someone who has suffered continual pain!

There is a lot we could tell someone in our first encounter. Instead we spoon feed them spiritual truth. We light a candle in their life rather than pulling out the 4000 watt quartz halogen headlights and shining it in their eyes. Jesus dialled the light down low so He didn’t overwhelm people with the light. Peter, James and John had to be gradually prepared for the Mount of Transfiguration experience and as it was it almost completely fried their circuits! Knowing how to sow seeds in people’s lives is a skill that Jesus wants to impart to everyone who does any kind of evangelism. It is those who display wisdom, tact and reserve who win souls to Christ. These are skills that are desperately needed in ministering in the marketplace.

Jesus is seeking to raise up prophetically gifted men and women who are filled with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation who display great skill and wisdom in the way they minister. So much of the church’s evangelistic endeavours are laced with impetuous immaturity. It’s like some Christians go out and read directly from the script that the enemy has written for them. And often so counterproductive! I think I know exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”3)Luke 16:8

Someone who is ‘shrewd’ possesses intelligence, skill and insight. A shrewd poker player doesn’t show everyone his hand. They hold some things in reserve. Jesus said that, “the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”4)Luke 16:8 Sometimes people in the world display greater shrewdness in the way they conduct their affairs than the people of God who are supposed to be filled with the Spirit of wisdom. Jesus has called us to be “as wise as serpents.” He wants us to be more adept than people in the business world who are known for their skill in conducting their business affairs.

Gentle as doves

Not only did Jesus tell His disciples to be “as wise as serpents,” He also told them to be “as gentle as doves.”5)Matthew 10:16 Gentleness is a powerful key that helps to unlock the hearts of genuine New age seekers. Christians with a heart for evangelism desperately need some seasoned life-coaches to come alongside them and like Aquila and Priscilla with the unseasoned Apollos, “they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” 6)Acts 18:26 In the words of Paul, he said, “And now I will show you a more excellent way.” 7)1 Corinthians 12:31

Of course, Paul was speaking of the way of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”8)1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV Love is gentle and kind. It isn’t forceful and abrasive and it never overpowers someone. Love is sensitive and courteous and doesn’t come on too strong. God wants us to be known by our compassion, our gentleness and our love.

We need to go out as wise as serpents, as gentle as doves, filled with a deep compassion for broken people, free of all religious judgmentalism. This is ultimately not some new style that is a departure from traditional evangelism. It is a return to a style that has been eclipsed by religious fundamentalism where the truth is in the hands of men and women who do not know the heart of the Father. Paul said, “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”9)Philippians 4:5 Can I take this opportunity to give a plug for gentleness? Again, to quote Paul, “Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”10)1 Corinthians 4:21

Paul was a passionate evangelist but he had a huge revelation of gentleness. He listed it as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23. He also said, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.”11)1 Thessalonians 2:7 He was the Apostle of the gentle heart. Paul exhorted us to “be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”12)Titus 3:2 Angry evangelists do not spare the rod but evangelists compelled by the love of Christ come in a spirit of love and gentleness.

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References   [ + ]

1. Proverbs 25:2
2. Matthew 13:44
3, 4. Luke 16:8
5. Matthew 10:16
6. Acts 18:26
7. 1 Corinthians 12:31
8. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
9. Philippians 4:5
10. 1 Corinthians 4:21
11. 1 Thessalonians 2:7
12. Titus 3:2