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