What is the cycle of a prophetic community? A prophetic community is a people who value the voice of the Spirit and seek to walk in the power of the Spirit until every man, woman, and child has heard the gospel on this planet. However, what is the actual process of developing one?
The Foursquare Church has produced a very good model and like all models, they can be altered to work for different applications in different cultures with different visions. However, what they have given us is a great starting place. I see great value in it as a person that is not foursquare.
They are mainly a church planting movement for their missiology. While this works for them, Vanguard is primarily an evangelistic ministry that exists to complete the Great Commission in the Pacific Islands and beyond. The focus is on evangelism, not church planting. We desire to work with the existing churches, not create new ones.
Like any model, there are strengths and weaknesses. There are things that work. There are things that don’t. One of the most important things to realize is that no one model is “God’s model.” They are just tools to use for the vision of God, the mission of God, world evangelism.
The starting point of any ministry is evangelism or soul-winning. This is finding and winning the lost for Jesus Christ. This is the stage that many want to skip. We never outgrow evangelism. Reaching the lost may look different in different places. Doing a large stadium event works well in Fijian culture but not as much as in Papua New Guinea. In Solomon Islands, compassion works like giving the villages wells is effective but that would not work in American Samoa. Evangelism will always look a little different. The message is sacred but the methods are not.
In the context of Vanguard, it is serving the poor, teaching them to hear God’s voice, miracle services, and gospel crusades. Many people in Fiji are Christian to some degree. They believe in Jesus and attend a church somewhere. The challenge is many of them don’t know the Holy Spirit or can point to a time that they know they heard His voice. A form of evangelism is introducing them to God’s voice.
The miracles that Jesus does will draw people from all different places with God. Some of them are far from the Lord and some of them are close. However, the gospel is preached and the sick are healed. As a result, people are getting saved and know the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is among them.
However, we are called to compassion as a ministry and all evangelism we do is rooted in that commission from the Holy Spirit. It can mean praying for the sick or it can mean providing food for the poor. The heart of Jesus is for the poor and if we are like Christ, our heart must be turned to the poor.
Strengthen the Church
Building upon evangelism, not graduating from it; we must seek to strengthen the churches. For church planters, this is different than missionary works. Our goal is to equip the churches, not be another one in town. The Church is stronger under the leadership of indigenous apostles and prophets. The foundation of all leadership should come from among the converts. Importing pastors and elders from half away around the world does not work. History show this.
As an apostolic work, we seek to build the faith of leadership and grow the congregation in wisdom and revelation unto greater knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 1:17) The heart of the Lord is for assemblies that know the Spirit of God and preach the gospel.
For Vanguard, this means visiting congregations, helping teach them on the spiritual gifts, training their people to do evangelism, and building connections between congregations in a city. An example of this could be having evangelism training in a town where three similar churches (say Assemblies of God, Church of God, and a Charismatic church) exist. They come together for the training and began working together.
Vanguard does not plant churches nor seeks to control church plants. The only exception to this would be when we are going to the regions beyond (2 Cor. 10:16) where there is no church. In most cases, we are committed to not planting new churches. We are a missionary and evangelistic movement and remaining true to that calling matters.
Once evangelism and strengthening the Church have been established, the next layer to apply is the actually sending of evangelists to the region to reach the lost. There is where indigenous evangelists seek to work with the congregations to do street evangelism, personal evangelism, and compassionate works, and equip the congregations to do the work of an evangelist. (2 Timothy 4:5)
An example of this could be a man or woman who has been trained up in what Vanguard does and at some point, an area where we have strengthened the church in evangelism becomes a new home for them. They seek to be missionaries to that community and work with congregations to reach the lost. This would be similar to what the Methodists called Circuit Riders.
The purpose of the evangelists, not church planters, is to take more ground for the Kingdom of God than a pastor could ever do on their own. The evangelist is like rain that the people in a town who have been praying for God to send healing rains.
You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go always, not only to those that want you, but to those that want you most. -John Wesley
The vision must always remain about the harvest and reach lost souls, no matter the context. If it on the streets or feeding the poor, what matters is preaching Jesus Christ as the hope of the nations.
Bridging the Unreached
The ultimate goal of every evangelist is to take the gospel where it has not been. There are currently 7,391 unreached people groups in the world and there are almost 70 of them in Oceania. For example, Fiji has the Urdu people. It is a group, a group of Muslim Indians.
Across the Pacific, there is Japanese and Chinese that need the gospel and have never heard a clear gospel presentation. There are still natives that have not heard the gospel as well. The impact of reaching unreached people is still critical in a region where many have churches in every village.
In New Zealand, there are groups like Sinhalese, a large immigrant population from Sri Lanka that number in the thousands. However, .5% converted to Jesus. Of the 15,000 believed to be in New Zealand, there is about 75 believers in Christ. The same is true in Australia as well.
However, the real attention must turn to the 10/40 windows and raising up evangelists to take the gospel which the areas that have most of the world’s population and the fewest missionaries. It would require some martyrdom to see revival. People will lay down their lives for the cause of Christ.
Ultimately, we are called to preach the gospel, die and be forgotten.
Role of Vanguard
As an apostolic ministry that supports the indigenous churches, the goal is to train the believers to do the work of evangelism, raise up evangelists, and send them to unreached people groups around the world. It is a focus on the heart of the mission: lost souls.
The core of the calling is hearing God’s voice and obeying. Knowing Jesus and making Him known!