The Bible says: “Pray for guidance before you start talking about your faith or invite your loved one to accompany you on this spiritual journey. Pray that God will open their eyes to the knowledge of Him and soften their hearts to accept His grace” (Ephesians 1:17-18). In Christianity, evangelism occupies an extreme importance. It is an act of proclaiming the Gospel and sharing the message and teachings of Jesus Christ with the aim of winning people to follow Jesus.
But the question is, why is evangelism essential? What are the results and, in the first place, what is the need for such a practice? Sadness, despair and silent sorrow are the reasons why Jesus’ message of love and kindness must be spread among people. According to a study, suicide is the second leading cause of death worldwide. People are not aware of God’s love and mercy; therefore he was forced to take this extremely unfortunate step.
In today’s chaos, who has time and energy to preach the Bible? Traditionally, lay people, priests and pastors have devoted themselves to this course. A study showed that 73% of them have failed to transmit their message to the next generation and remain ineffective in their work to evangelize society partly because of neutralization. Neutralization is a blend of modern secular philosophy with biblical tradition. This produces a part secular – part biblical message. The study showed that religious leaders who engage in this type of mass appeal strategy do themselves a disservice. Their message remains unheard especially by the younger generations. Fortunately, some in the religious community have preserved the pure and sometimes hard-to-hear message of Jesus. Israel Gimba is one such man. Young people call him a “fiery preacher because his preaching is raw and unfiltered.”
There are more than 1.6 billion people who have never heard about the message of Jesus. Coming from a family of pastors and preachers, Gimba has a heart for those who have never heard the good news. He founded Dunamis Army on December 14, 2015. A Canadian Christian non-profit organization targeting the next generation (Gen-Z and Millennials). Dunamis Army plans and organizes evangelistic gatherings to preach the Gospel.
“Dunamis is a movement that loves Jesus Christ.”
– Israel Gimba
One of Dunamis Army’s most popular events is the JON Festival, an annual gospel festival that combines city community work with concerts. The festival helps the city’s low income and vulnerable population before ending with a concert at the stadium. The concert attracts Grammy Award-winning artists and performers from around the world and is alcohol and drug free.
“I was reminded that you don’t need alcohol at a party to have a good time.”
-Volunteer of the Dunamis Festival
Photo courtesy: Chika Milan. Youngsters enjoy one of the Dunamis Festivals.
In the gospels, Jesus was fearless in bringing God’s message to the people. On one occasion He entered the temple full of businessmen and men of influence and began to overturn tables and clean the synagogue with a whip; “It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves! “. One must be bold and to a great extent fearless to be an evangelist. One thing Gimba lacks is fear. In the midst of COVID – 19, Gimba organized an outdoor event for its people and volunteers. It was right after the jam. In fact he organized these outdoor events every Saturday night offering young people a place to gather, have fun, enjoy free food and hear the Good News while maintaining distance and wearing masks. It is easy to see how reckless and dangerous this must have been for the community, especially with so many elderly and vulnerable people.
However, according to some reports, the events were a great success. After constant preaching sessions, many people experienced healing and decided to follow Jesus’ teachings. Some people were even baptized at these events. Gimba explained his reasoning:
“We’ve noticed anxiety, depression and loneliness on the rise and wanted to bring community back.”
Staying faithful to the teachings of Jesus and converting people to a Christian worldview is undoubtedly the most important work of a Christian evangelist. Dunamis Army Ministry has converted many people, especially those usually younger and more impressionable to Jesus. Whether you hate him or love him, Israel Gimba is doing “an evangelist’s job.” His sermons are raw and direct and yet filled with warmth and compassion. Will it last? Many evangelists have risen only to fall in a humiliating public way. Time will tell.