August 2007

The Elijah Challenge (TEC) began in the year 2000. Since then tens of thousands of people have been taught The End Time Model of Evangelism. Many aspects of the teaching have changed over the years. Seven years ago it appeared in relatively rudimentary form; today it takes nine hours to teach in its entirety. In the beginning an overhead projector and transparencies were used, today a very effective Powerpoint Presentation consisting of 800-plus frames. The miracles that take place in the meetings as the trained believers minister to the infirm are increasingly powerful and glorious. The Seminar was recently described as “life-changing” and “revolutionary.” After these seven years three patterns are beginning to emerge regarding the effect of the teaching on different kinds of people. These three patterns reflect three out of the four kinds of soil described by Jesus in the parable of the seed in Matthew 13.

Let us begin by quoting Pastor Carl Henderson, currently Elijah Challenge Coordinator for the Philippines:

From our own experiences, we know that it is a normal reaction for people to complete a TEC seminar and be very excited and passionate for a season. I know of people who were very passionate, who swore this was a life-changing experience and that they would never go back to the old powerless method of serving God. However, in months they had lost their steam. Some could still make a strong intellectual argument for the possibility of “power and authority” evangelism, i.e., TEC. Yet they never did it again in an evangelistic context and only once or twice in a church context.

Why does this happen? There are a variety of reasons. The Church almost universally has a spirit of fear and doubt when it comes to ministering to the sick and infirm, especially in the context of evangelism. This fear and doubt are the primary reason why the Church would much rather pray for the sick instead of heal the sick as Jesus commanded his disciples when he sent them out to preach the gospel. Through the exhaustive teaching of the word of God in the TEC Seminar the fear and doubt are dispelled and the participants boldly heal the sick as Jesus taught his disciples. The sick are actually healed and give immediate testimony. The climactic Evangelistic Healing Services are especially powerful and glorious.

However, without proper follow-up, leadership and encouragement, the trained believers are eventually again overcome by fear and doubt. They return to the traditional way of praying for the infirm; the miracles decrease in frequency and level off. The fire lit in the Seminar goes out. It is like the seed that “fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”

There are a few, however, who boldly press on with what they have received. They even teach the Seminar to others with eye-opening results. They have reported powerful miracles taking place as they teach. One missionary even brought together over twenty churches in an undeveloped Third World country for an Elijah Challenge Seminar with very impressive results. However, even some of these eventually pull back and stop teaching and giving away to others what they have received. Perhaps they are tested severely in their personal life or ministry and cannnot endure. Or for some reason they no longer feel called to continue equipping the body of Christ in that way. And so they put down the talent that was entrusted to them. For the seed that fell among thorns, the plants that grow from these seeds are choked by the worries of this life and other such distractions.

Distractions can even be competing opportunities and ministries. Pastor Carl Henderson, after arriving in the Philippines in January 2007 as a missionary, was deluged with offers to minister. He was not sure which to choose. Teaching The Elijah Challenge was simply one of the several good alternatives set before him. Then he was given the opportunity of ministering healing to the infirm in a Crusade. What the Lord through him in that Crusade settled matters for Carl. He wrote:

It all started when we (a YWAM group) went to help a small church conduct a Crusade. I have preached on the outreach frequently, 20 times now in the last 23 days but I never felt the freedom to do the Elijah Challenge. However, this group put up a banner saying that there would be healing and deliverance ministry. I was asked by the YWAM leader, ” Do you know how to do the healing part of the Crusade? I told him, “Sure, I could do it!” He replied, “You know what to do?” I told him I could do it, I would just add it to end of my evangelistic message. He seemed shocked at the matter-of-fact, way I said it. My confidence came from the Elijah Challenge training I had completed with you back in Houston. I also felt it was time to get out of the box we were in.

I wanted you to know that this event (the Crusade with the nine powerful miracles) is an answer to prayer, because we were asking God which way to go with our ministry. We had so many open doors and offers to preach, teach, take over churches, and join different ministries that our heads were spinning. Now we know that we are to go back to the original plan and that many of these “opportunities” were actually distractions from God’s plan. We are confident that our future lies in God’s hands, using The Elijah Challenge, and teaching the Seminars.

Now let us look at the third pattern so far observed among those who have been trained.

Those in this third category took the word that was sown in their hearts and applied it fruitfully. They proclaimed the Kingdom of God, they healed the sick, and they equipped other servants of God as they themselves were equipped. Then they were tested through some circumstance or uncertainty. This test can vary in nature from person to person. Perhaps during the trial their ministry activities were curtailed. But they persevered in the trial; they endured through their faith in the Lord. When they came out of the situation or the uncertainty, they took up the yoke again to proclaim the Kingdom of God in the spirit and power of Elijah. They were able to overcome the distractions. They began to train others again. They had passed the test. “The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Evangelist Emmanuel of Nigeria had been trained under The Elijah Challenge in November 2004. Within a month he launched out by faith, holding an Evangelistic Healing Crusade. The Lord was pleased to bless him as many were healed of their infirmities and a reported two thousand souls accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He continued to hold Crusades and the Lord did most amazing miracles through him. Once nearly an entire community in a witchcraft-saturated area of Nigeria came to Christ through his Crusade. He also began to teach and equip other servants of God as he himself had been equipped.

Earlier in 2007 Brother Emmanuel was severely tested. Word had gotten out about how powerfully the Lord had been using him, and he and his family were forced out of their home on very short notice by an unbelieving landlord. Brother Emmanuel, his wife and his children were left virtually homeless. With the Lord’s help he and his family settled back into a home later in the year. He then promptly resumed the Father’s business. He wrote the following report:

Beloved Father, Calvary greetings in Jesus’ name. I could not communicate with you for sometime because I traveled to an interior village in Jos, where the gospel has not reached. It is a newly discovered tribal people who are naked and violent. I spent three days with them preaching Jesus to them. During the course of ministering I prayed over two people among them who had one leg shorter than the other leg. The shorter leg grew out to normal size. Many of them gave their lives to Jesus.

From there I traveled to Kaduna State to meet with some pastors to plan for The Elijah Challenge Seminar & Healing Crusade. They all agreed and were happy about it. In their presence a popular boy born deaf & dumb boy was healed with a very simple command in the name of Jesus. I told them that after the Seminar, they also will be experiencing the same power that I demonstrated. The Crusade and seminar will be held next year March.

This powerful servant of God persevered in the time of testing. Read his amazing reports. Evangelist Emmanuel is now The Elijah Challenge Coordinator for Africa.

May more and more servants of God persevere and endure the testing that will come after they have been equipped and begin to minister in the spirit and power of Elijah. May they take care to cultivate their hearts, making it fertile soil for the seed of the word of God.

Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham.

Matthew 13:18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”