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May I step into your confessional booth? My Calling is to serve by helping you to hear God’s Call and be a witness to your faith. I am sorry for failing you. The proof is in the pudding. Our churches are not growing. We are not doing evangelism effectively. I have been doing my ministry of Evangelism in the Prophetic Spirit for 41 years but have not been able to help you turn the tide of our churches losing their focus. I have not been able to convince your people about the importance and urgency of doing evangelism.
The first years of my ministry church growth books and articles were popular and influential to pastors and their churches. I realized that what they were writing about and my vision of evangelism was very different. Church growth is a goal – evangelism is a ministry. Church growth is counting heads – evangelism is changing hearts. Church growth is marketing – evangelism is sharing. Church growth is bringing people in – evangelism is moving people out to be witnesses.
Why am I preaching evangelism while our country is crying out for social justice? Evangelism is foundational to the ministry of the Church. It must be revived and revised to include the “fullness” of the Gospel, salvation for self, and salvation for society. God is asking us not to preach evangelism, but to do evangelism, to save our society from injustices and give us hope through love.
In my travels among your churches I meet so many talented and dedicated people, I see no reason why we can’t stop this free fall we are in. I know the pandemic has stopped us from reaching out to people in handshaking and hugging ways, but we still can touch their hearts and show love through prayer and modern technology. I believe a great awakening in our churches is in our reach. Let’s talk about it, pray about it, and make a move that will make a difference.
In the mid-’70s, when I was finishing seminary, my dissertation for my Doctor of Ministry degree was “Prophetic Preaching From A Pastoral Base.” I never thought about any kind of ministry other than being a pastor in the local church. I admired the ministries of the prophets in the Old Testament. Jesus admired them, too, and certainly ministered in the prophetic spirit. His teachings were confronting and challenging, but they were also filled with love and hope. He was a prophet and he was pastoral. I saw in their examples how I wanted to relate to my congregations in actions and word.
I was blessed to have served 12 years in the local church before I began feeling my ‘Call within a Call’ from being a pastor to a servant evangelist. I knew wherever the call to evangelism took me, I would never let it separate me from the local church. If I commit the rest of my life to this new specialized ministry, it would have to be in a way that helps and supports the local church. And it had to be a ministry that mirrors the prophetic and pastoral ministry of Jesus … a ministry of love, confrontation, challenge, and hope.
It was a time when TV evangelists filled the airwaves with messages that were foreign to my belief with their lifestyles and the ways they preached the Good News. They put a disingenuous name on one of the great building blocks of the Church. As much as TV evangelists upset me with their cheap grace and preaching less than the fullness of the Gospel, I am disappointed in us who have let their ways push us away from evangelism. Do we do the same thing, in reverse, that they did? The Gospel is a double edge sword. It is personal and it is social. It is saving souls and it is saving society. Did we choose social justice and abandon evangelism?
This is why I named my ministry, “Evangelism in the Prophetic Spirit.” Evangelism is being a messenger for God, and God’s message is love, and that love moves us to love others through acts of peace and justice. We cannot compartmentalize evangelism into saving of self. It has nothing to do with numbers and building mega-churches. It is not counting heads, it is changing hearts. For me, it is partnering with local pastors to challenge, revive and grow their churches.
Let’s stop pushing and pulling evangelism around to fit our narrow-minded agendas. Evangelism is the fullness of the Gospel in all its Kingdom building ways. Let’s reclaim the true meaning and action of evangelism ~ Evangelism in the Prophetic Spirit.
Highlights from our summer event celebrating 40 years of ministry
Excitement began with the church parking lot filling up with cars and folks gathering to celebrate with us. It continued flowing as they were greeted by members of our Board of Directors and others. The refreshment table was beautifully set and the room was filled with photo presentations and honors of 40 years in the making! One guest said he was enjoying the photo journey so much that he forgot to eat! The oohs, aahs, laughter, tears and endearing hugs touched hearts with sheer joy!
The blessings were just beginning as music from The Calling Band called us to the sanctuary. With the room crowded to capacity, the night kicked off with a video that highlighted many of ways God has used this ministry these past 40 years. (watch video below) Kimball then introduced a new song he wrote especially for this night called “Created By God”. Board members, Lew Fry, Don Leiffer, Warren Stirling, Alma Roberts, and Dick Stager thanked Kimball for rekindling the spirit of their churches, reminding them to never let the fire go out. Eighty-nine-year-old Walt Davis, a friend from Pilgrim Place, surprised Kimball with a poem he had written. As he read it to Kimball from his wheelchair, tears flowed. It was most moving. Kimball and Pam shared their thanks and stories of the many who have encouraged, supported, loved and kept Kimball awake to God’s Call.
The congregational singing was rousing, tender and heartfelt. As God’s servant messenger, Kimball gave the words of the prophet Ezekiel to the Church today, “Awaken O Church—a new heart I will give you, and a new spirit, I will put in you“ (Ezekiel 36:26), along with the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine so that others will praise God.” Kimball challenged us by asking, “Who will be the first one to stand?” (A line from “Created By God”). We all stood together and sang with full hearts, “Created By God” and “Agape.” The Calling Band led us into the benediction and into the world with “This Little Light of Mine.”
“I think of all the clergy and laity that you inspired, especially the churches and institutions you have impacted. I think of individual lives that have been transformed through your preaching, teaching and active ministry. Most of all, I think of the people who have observed your faith and actions and have come to Jesus Christ because of the integrity of your ministry.
Thank you … Thank you … Thank you!”
Blessings, Grant Hagiya
(Excerpt from Bishop Hagiya’s letter congratulating Kimball on 40 years of serving God as a Servant Evangelist. Bishop Hagiya is Resident Bishop of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
40 is a very significant number in the Bible. For 40 years Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land. For 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was tempted in the desert. There are over a hundred references in the Bible to the number 40. When I responded to God’s Call 40 years ago (1979), I never dreamed that at my age today, God would still be using me. But I did know that I wanted to give my all and the rest of my life to be God’s messenger.
“40” in the Bible is symbolic of times of testing and hardship. I have never felt God testing me, although there have been some hardships along the way. There was no salary, housing, medical, or pension plans. I was disappointed when my own Conference was not as enthusiastic as I thought they would be. I felt the friendly support of all the bishops I served under. Deep down in their hearts, they knew and cared about the importance of evangelism, but they didn’t know how to use me.
All the while, I felt God walking right beside me and the blessed assurance that all would be well. I learned that God doesn’t call you and leave you, God calls you and asks you to live by faith.
After 40 years I know that I know, yet, I also know that I don’t know it all. What I mean by this confusing statement is that I am confident in my faith, yet, I am still excited about the new ways I’m hearing God’s Call. There is so much more we can be and do as God’s Church.
Some people fear change in society and the problems they create. Change and problems challenge the Church and give her opportunities to grow. In the past 40 years, I’ve seen the church struggle with unity. I have also seen the Church grow in courageous ways doing God’s Will bringing life and hope to all people. The church is the instrument of God, and as long as we remember this, we will know the Truth, and the Truth will set us free to always be growing in love.
40 years have made me older, but they have also made me wiser. I’m thankful for how the years have shaped me in the direction of servant evangelism for God and the Church.
… and the journey continues …
Although I have a good education and enough money to get by, I am a beggar. To be Christ-like you must be a beggar. You can’t be demanding and controlling. It is a position of servanthood. Thank you for responding to my begging. Without your prayers, financial support, and belief in our mission to take the Good News of Jesus Christ into the world, my ministry of evangelism in the prophetic spirit would have faltered long ago.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, bragged about the churches in Macedonia. Although they were going through hard times and were very poor, they begged for the privilege of sharing in the ministry and relief of other Christians (II Corinthians 8:1-5). Like those faithful nascent churches, I beg pastors and their congregations to allow me to serve them as a servant evangelist. I ask earnestly and humbly to bring the challenge and the Call of Jesus to them.
My mission is to help Churches focus on their mission. Admittedly, sometimes I fail, but other times I strike a spark in congregations. At those times the spark is visible and palpable and the people begin coming to the altar before I finish the Call. It is as though the feeling had been building and they couldn’t wait to come to God with a renewed commitment. I say ‘renewed’ because I preach mostly to churched people who have come to the altar before, but that fire may be only flickering or even smoldering. Church has become just another activity they do as part of a busy schedule. They hunger and thirst for that deeper meaning, and when it comes, they can’t sit still. They become the church on the move, being the best they can be, for Christ’s sake.
This is what I beg for. When it happens, I am renewed. My mission is done. My Calling is fulfilled.
Over the years, people have asked if I am a music minister and if I do concerts. I’m humbled by these questions, but always let them know that I’m not a music minister and I don’t perform musical shows. I am a preacher, a servant evangelist who uses music to enhance my messages and to lift the spirits of the people. Sometimes I’ll write my songs from the sermons, while other times the sermons come from the songs. But every song I write has a complete message that I feel stands on its own. In almost 50 years of ministry, I’ve discovered that the combination of sermon and song greatly strengthens a presentation by making it more memorable and focused. Yes, I suppose there’s a part of me that would like to be a musical performer. But what really gets my heart going is using all the gifts God has given me to share his prophetic message.
I’m also blessed to have children, grandchildren, and good friends gifted in creating music with meaning and purpose. They continue to surround me with their talents and are on all my recordings. We’re extremely proud of the music we’ve produced over the years and are excited to share it with you.
Click the Music of the Ministry tab to listen and download the music. For the highest quality sound, go to Bandcamp and follow the steps and choose from a variety of digital formats. Or simply let us send you any – or all – CDs. The price? It’s my pleasure to share our music free of charge with the hope of encouraging you in your faith.
As I start my 38th year of doing a ministry of evangelism in the prophetic spirit, it is time again for a ‘gut check.’ Have I resisted the world’s call to be popular instead of prophetic, a fundraiser instead of a faith raiser, a singer instead of a servant? ~ I have gone back through my sermons and newsletter articles to check my thinking and see if I have kept moving in the direction of God’s Call. Of course, it is your response to my ministry that makes it happen in your local church. So, let’s look together and remember God’s Call.
“I am convinced there is a place for the evangelist today, but the TV model must be replaced with the biblical model.” (1980)
“Maybe it’s good that people aren’t rushing to our churches today. Could it be this is God’s wake-up call to us saying, “It’s time to start doing evangelism instead of just talking about it.” (1986)
“I challenge all evangelists, pastors, music ministers and musically gifted lay people to create music that will inspire and move the Church into the future.” (1990)
“1950s, goodbye! I loved my old church. I thank her for being there for me at that impressionable age. But I want a church that realizes it’s a new day that calls for a new way!” (1995)
“Being a city boy, I’ve never expressed myself with the words, ‘It pleasures me greatly.’ However, they are the perfect words to express how I feel about being a servant evangelist. Although I graduated from seminary as a Doctor and was ordained a Reverend, nothing is more awe-inspiring to me than being a Servant.” (1996)
“Encouragement for Young Ministers: You can be humble and at the same time, assert your leadership. You can respect the elderly and at the same time, energize the youth. You can be pastoral and at the same time, preach prophetically. You can honor the traditions and at the same time, introduce new ways of worship. You can be a daily servant and at the same time, see visions.” (2000)
“I love the church because she is not self-serving. She exists in humility and meekness to serve the world. She exists to do evangelism, taking the Good News to the lost, confused and hopeless. I love the church because of her constant striving to change the world. I love her prophetic spirit and belief in peacemaking. I love her courage to confront and challenge injustice wherever it resides.” (2005)
“People today are much like those to whom Isaiah was prophesying who said, “speak to us smooth things.” The Church cannot be a ‘garden’ of smooth things. It cannot become an ‘ether environment’ that puts people to sleep to the hurts and pains around them.” (2007)
“Jesus was angry with his disciples when they fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. I am angry with my church because we are sleeping while God is Calling.” (2008)
“METHODISM is known for being pioneering, spiritually fervent, socially concerned, theologically progressive and musically alive. Now put this with COMPASSION to the power of two, and the true meaning of EVANGELISM will be understood ~ E=mc2 (2009)
“When I see the church gaining the crowd but losing her life, it is time to give up popularity for the prophetic spirit.” (2010)
“You cannot be with poor children and not feel the great contradiction ~ the contradiction between God’s Will for the world and our actions in the world.” (2009)
“Challenge to Ministers: Most of us ministers have got what it takes, but we are not giving what we’ve got. It comes off like we don’t have the gifts and graces for ministry. We do have the gifts and graces. The challenge is to have the guts — the guts to stand tall and give our all.” (2011)
“Restlessness can be a good thing, a creative thing, and a positive change. Ambitious restlessness and Holy Spirit restlessness are completely different. One drives you inward to self, while the other drives you outward to others.” (2015)
I love my wife in a romantic way. I love my children in a fatherly way. I love you in a humbled servant way. God called me to be a servant evangelist and you have sustained me in this Calling. You have prayed for me. You have supported me financially. You have believed in me and shared that belief with others by inviting me to your churches.
Yes, God started it all, reaching out to me and taking me by the hand. But with the other hand, I began to feel your hands and knew that I was not alone. Now for thirty-six years you have walked and served with me giving me confidence, courage and a renewed commitment to keep on keeping on.
I am deeply honored to call you friends and fellow servants of the Lord. I wish for you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas. I love you all more than you can imagine.