JAC Online

Evangelism Interview - Envoy Craig Stephens

JAC - Can you introduce us to Craig Stephens?


CS - I am a Salvation Army Officer who has a deep hunger for encounters of God and passion to share Jesus. Married for 22 years, I have 3 utterly amazing children (Judah 14, Ilisha 12, and Malachi 8). I got wrecked through encounters of the Holy Ghost during a trip to Toronto Canada (Toronto blessing) in 1998 and the grace of Evangelist emerged on my life. I was given the role of Australian Eastern Territorial Evangelism Coordinator and had the privilege of training and equipping members of The Salvation Army in the ministry of evangelism across Australia.

I have managed The Salvation Army’s “Dooralong Transformation Centre” (The largest addictions treatment centre in Australasia) between 2013-2017 where “the Lord add to their number daily those who were being saved” (first time salvations) every day for more than 18 months.

Currently I serve across the NSW Central Coast in Australia and am responsible for New Expressions of The Salvation Army. I enjoy the immense favour of being released by our apostolic divisional leader to pursue new works for the Salvation Army – how blessed is that!

I also oversee a small network of house churches called “community tables”, a company of people gifted in evangelism across nearly 30 churches in our region, as well as “Crazy Love” outreach and evangelism. And just for fun I have a weekly “New Expressions” radio program on Rhema Radio. I serve on the board of directors for a global mission movement “Impact Nations” and love to take teams into the developing world to preach the gospel, cast out demons and heal the sick.


JAC - Who evangelized you?


CS - Tragically the only discernible evangelism I observed or encountered for me as a young person occurred from the pulpit. How limiting! Admittedly, I was being raised in a Salvationist household and many may have presumed regarding my relationship with Jesus and Salvation… they would have presumed wrong.

I did make a response to a sermon at a Music camp in my early teens which was a very emotive response (read snot and tears) but without a real understanding of Jesus and his love for me.  It was more that I was convinced that I was wretched, sinful, a total mess up, and needed to be really, really sorry (and I think I was in that moment). Not much of a salvation - hey?

As a young person I interpreted whatever was being said regarding Christianity / Salvation as “you have to behave well enough, be good enough, not be a hypocrite, and definitely don’t sin”. As a teenage boy (and young adult, and adult) I simply couldn’t do it. So, I walked out. I walked out of church. I walked out of the pretend Christian life. Of pretending to pray, read the Bible and of knowing Jesus. I wanted to believe, BUT I didn’t find anything substantial of Christ and the Spirit in the world I was in. 

Many years later I think I became brilliantly born again through the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. I was in a revival church meeting more out of curiosity than anything else, and suddenly I wanted to believe, and I was physically overcome by the presence of Holy Spirit, and everything changed. Perhaps the Holy Spirit evangelised me.


JAC - Do you have any horror story evangelism efforts in your past? (if so, will you elaborate on one?)


CS - Not too many horror stories. Probably because (like many in the Church today) I ran away from conversations with pre-Christians for most of my church (pretend Christian) life. The “fear of man” and “fear of rejection” kept my mouth well and truly shut from doing any evangelism.

It wasn’t until I had been filled with Holy Spirit that I had grace to share Jesus. Following Holy Spirit promptings has spared me a lot of grief.

I did have faith to believe that one drunk I was witnessing to would be supernaturally sobered and be able to receive Jesus into his heart. He was open, prayed with me, and then he kept on drinking from his bottle – a little disappointing. 


JAC - What essential preparation for evangelism do you recommend?


CS - Get positioned in the love of Jesus…Non-negotiable! Time with Jesus filling you with His love EVERY day (and more often). People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care… and I suspect we don’t care much until we’ve been cared for. Get loved up, and overflow in love towards those you come in contact with.


JAC - What is your favourite evangelism approach?


CS - The only approach I have is “What do you want to do / say Holy Spirit?” And then do or say that.

I do particularly enjoy when its healing He wants to do and, in the healing then opens someone up to salvation.


JAC - What should evangelists be aware of when evangelizing?


CS –

1. You’re evangelising a person! They’re loved, cherished, and deeply precious to the King – interact / share with them accordingly.

2. Make sure your good news is GOOD News. “The Kingdom of God has come, repent and believe” (Mark 1:15) is good news for everyone!

3. Evangelism is introducing people to Jesus – so do that.

4. It’s not an introduction to theology – something to be aware of. 

5. Salvation is the Holy Spirit's job, so make sure He is the one saving.


JAC - What makes what you are doing such an excellent approach to evangelism in the 2020s?


CS - I’m not sure how excellent it is… I’m just functioning out of my current revelation of Jesus and His kingdom (and it seems to be fruitful).  Also, how lovely that It’s not up to me, it’s up to Holy Spirit – His way, His work.


JAC - How can people adapt your approach?


CS - However Holy Spirit directs… sometimes words of knowledge, treasure hunting, sometimes supernatural healing, other times a hug, other times a particular phrase, and still other times a practical demonstration of the love of God (paying for the groceries in the shopping queue, mowing a lawn, baking a cake for a neighbour).


JAC - What advice do you have for Salvationists who want to evangelise their friends and neighbours and family?


CS –

1. Be Loved. Rest in the love of Christ continually. Then, overflow in that love towards others. In the words of our founder when handing the Army on to his son Bramwell, “I’ve been looking back and let me tell you, Love is everything” – He was spot on!

2. Listen to the promptings of Holy Spirit – do and share things His way.

3. Demonstrate and declare Jesus.











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