The biggest evangelism thrust ever undertaken in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch) will officially “Switch On” on Sunday (August 16, 2015). But in reality fired-up evangelists who couldn’t wait that long have already been out winning souls.
And at a pre-launch pastors’ breakfast and meeting this morning (Thursday, August 13) at the citywide mission headquarters at Greenacres Presbyterian Church (GAP Church), the mood was upbeat and expectant among what was possibly the most diverse group of church leaders ever assembled for a common purpose in the city.
“I don’t remember a gathering of this size and kind before a mission in a long time,” said evangelist, author and founder of African Enterprise (AE) Michael Cassidy, who has been at the forefront of evangelism missions for more than 50 years. He was addressing the multicultural gathering of local mainline, charismatic and Pentecostal church leaders who are partnering AE in the historic Switched-On mission which aims to see at least 100 000 people in the metro come to know Christ during the mission week from August 16 to 22 at stadium events and about 70 meetings a day at the university campus, schools, clinics, factories, offices, shopping malls and street corners.
AE colleague and international evangelist Stephen Lungu who will be one of the main speakers, together with Cassidy, at the Switched On opening festival at St George’s Park Cricket Oval on Sunday, is also amazed at the vibe in the city before the official launch.
Unity, enthusiasm and passion
“Never in my time with the AE ministry have I seen such unity, enthusiasm and passion among local church pastors,” he writes in a pre-launch report.
“Last week we went to a school to ask if we could come and preach the gospel to the students and have the Foxfire Team do a dance and drama. The principal immediately responded: ‘Why not preach right now, before next week? And next week, after you preach at assembly I want you and the Foxfires to speak about Jesus in every class.’ In almost every school and clinic we went to we were asked to start preaching right away! But since we had to visit over 60 schools, we could not manage to preach right away. That is how the wind of the Holy Spirit is moving here in Port Elizabeth!
“Another pastor felt that waiting for next week to start the mission was too long to wait, so he went ahead in his area and pitched a big tent with the ‘Switched On’ banners posted outside. Today he brought just over 100 decision cards indicating people who have made a first time commitment to the Lord. The figure is growing by the day as we continue with preparations before the mission starts.”
This evening a 3-day Evangelism Training Summit began at three different venues in the city (GAP Church, 50 Nile Road; Cornerstone Church. 4 Allan Hendricks Drive, Cleary Park; and Good News Community Church, 38 Stofile Street, Kwazakhele). The goal is to train 1 000 evangelists to participate in the mission week. Hundreds of counsellors have already been trained to follow up new believers and equip them to become disciples of Jesus Christ. More local Christians will get involved in the mission as volunteers at the stadium events where they will assist with parking control, collecting offerings and other essential support functions. The Switched On Steering Committee has called on the people of Nelson Mandela Bay to sow into the evangelism campaign by making financial donations to the considerable mission costs: Donations can be paid to the following bank account: Account Name: African Enterprise; Bank: FNB; Account Number: 5095 000 5121; Branch Code: 221325. The payment reference must be “Switched On” with the name of the church or individual. Proof of payment should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or faxed to 033 347 1915.
Invite unchurched friends to events
Every Christian in the city can also play a direct role in the soul winning vision of the mission by inviting unchurched people to any of the many events. Events include a men’s rugby lunch with former Springbok rugby players Ollie le Roux, Jannie de Beer and Vleis Visagie, a men’s cricket lunch with former Proteas star Gary Kirsten, and a women’s lunch with Debbie Kirsten — wife of Gary and author. The lively opening and closing festivals with popular musicians and bands and dynamic speakers from 3pm to 6pm on Sunday, August 16 and Saturday, August 22 provide further opportunities to invite friends and colleagues. Former beauty queen and drug-smuggling prisoner, Vanessa Goosen; TV celebrity Dr Michael Mol; and prominent Christian fighter for the family and religious freedom, Errol Naidoo are among other speakers in the mission programme which can be downloaded at http://www.switchedon.org.za/programme.php. People are also welcome to phone the mission office at 041 363 0394 to make event bookings.
Referring to Jesus’ Great Commission for His followers to make disciples (Matthew 28:16 – 20), Michael Cassidy told the pastors’ meeting this morning that “these last words of Jesus should be our first concern”. For any of us who may feel daunted at the prospect of obeying this command of Jesus to all believers, he pointed out the Lord’s promise in verse 20 to those of us who do obey — “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He also said that with the number of people all over the city, the nation and different parts of the world who have been praying into the mission, expectations for God to change the course of people’s lives should be high.
The Switched On mission provides the Christians of NMB with unprecedented opportunities to partner significantly in the main priority of Heaven.
Visit the Facebook page for latest developments: https://www.facebook.com/SwitchedOnNMB