Very often, the work of the church stays in the church. It’s a massive tragedy, said Ed Silvoso, who brought a powerful message of discipling the nations through the marketplace to Kingdom Invasion 2018.
“We’re bringing multitudes into the four walls of the church but never looking beyond,” the founder and president of Harvest Evangelism and the International Transformation Network told the audience in the morning of March 15, 2018.
“What goes on inside our four walls, inside the church building, should happen all over the city.”
In Silvoso’s words, the Church was designed to be an all-encompassing, ever-expanding movement – an out-going, dynamic people, not a static building. “Look how we have been fooled. Can you find the phrase ‘I go to church’ in the Bible? You are the Church!”
“I don’t know if you realise how religious we are,” Silvoso said, “What is needed for Singapore to become an Antioch is for leaders to choose the right finish line.”
“That finish line isn’t more people going to church – it is discipling a nation.
“It’s not about a bigger church, but the transformation of cities and nations.”
And to effectively disciple a nation requires moving out of the four walls of the church building and bringing the church to where people are: The marketplace.
The finished line isn’t more people going to church – it is discipling a nation.
This was a concept well-understood by the early church, which explains why the Gospel exploded across the world not from Jerusalem, the original religious centre, but from the merchant city of Antioch, where Paul brought his ministry to marketplace people.
Likewise, Silvoso believes we need revolutionary and radical transition from the religious to the secular, just like Saul, who is believed to have taken on the name Paul after ministering to the Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7, 12-13, 43).
It wasn’t just a turning away from his former life as a persecutor of the first Christians – Saul was a name steeped in his Jewish roots, but Paul was a Roman name that emphasised his citizenship.
That change in identity meant that Paul wouldn’t be perceived to the Roman authorities as a Jewish preacher, but a Roman one who had a “transformation ministry”.
Silvoso made a sharp point: “Paul wasn’t just an asset to the church – he was an asset to the community.” His ministry largely involved partnering with marketplace Christians, such as Aquila and Priscilla, and equipping them to take the Gospel to the rest of the community in tangible ways.
“Don’t try and reel Aquila and Priscilla into the church, go to the marketplace and work with them,” he said.
According to Silvoso, there are four types of Christians in the marketplace.
FOUR TYPES OF MARKETPLACE CHRISTIANS
- Christians who simply survive in the marketplace
- Christians who apply biblical principles in the marketplace
- Christians who operate in the power of the Holy Spirit in the marketplace
- Christians who transform the marketplace
To make his point, he went on to share a few testimonies of transformative Christians who had the right finish line in mind. One was an ice-cream vendor in Phuket who – starting by praying over the ice-creams she sold – eventually brought 700 people to Christ. Her church has since grown to have over 20,000 members.
“Her scooter became a chariot of fire and her ice-cream cones were like arrows in the hands of a mighty woman!” Silvoso declared with a laugh.
“If you want to see what you’ve never seen, you have to do what you’ve never done.”
The other was a taxi driver named Gregorio Avalos who wanted to transform Argentina, inspired by the teaching of his pastor that to disciple a nation started by discipling a city.
He prayed over his taxi, even anointing it with oil, and began to serve passengers in Barrio Las Flores, where he lived – a city that was also the headquarters for a huge drug cartel.
The right finish line is when what goes on inside four walls once a week begins to happen 24/7 in the marketplace with signs and wonders.
Eventually, Avalos ran for and became the president of his neighbourhood association. God used Avalos’ new position to introduce men of influence to him, enabling the destruction of Barrio Las Flores’ drug bunkers. That meant they were now able to pave the streets and build sewer systems. Soon, they built a new hospital, school and train station.
In this new and safer city, people now felt safe to came out at night. And when evangelist Carlos Anacondia came to preach at a night rally, over 10,000 people came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.
Silvoso was beaming as he recounted this story. “Today an entire province is being discipled – all because one taxi driver had the right finish line in mind!”
What is needed for Singapore to be an Antioch? It’s for her leaders to choose the right finish line. It’s when what goes on inside four walls once a week begins to happen 24/7 in the marketplace with signs and wonders.
In closing, Silvoso called for a time of prayer.
“Pastors, give the church back to Jesus and God will bring you your Aquilas and Pricillas with whom you will transform the marketplace. Pray: Forgive me for calling it my church – I give it back to you. It’s your church, I am your servant. I humble myself before you.”
“Christians in the marketplace, give your job back to Jesus – give it back to God. Lord Jesus, I hear you knocking at the door of my workplace. I open the door and say, ‘Jesus, come in! I enthrone You.’”
Kingdom Invasion 2018 will run until Friday at Singapore Expo Halls 7/8. Night sessions starting from 7:30pm are free, subject to availability of seats. For more details, visit www.kingdominvasion.sg.