Apostolics in Changing Times Conversation with Nathaniel A. Urshan

On How Pentecost Has Changed:

There are several things that have changed about the Apostolic movement over the years. First of all, we are more affluent today than we once were. And in many cases, this affluence is tearing down personal commitment. People are prosperous, which leads to problems. Even preachers are prosperous to a point, yet they often do not recognize that their purpose is to build the Kingdom of God. This has become a point that has bothered me considerably. We need to get away from materialism and commit ourselves more to God.

But perhaps the most important change is this: There isn’t as much holiness preaching as there used to be. And some preachers are soft-pedaling holiness. They’re just not preaching it in many churches. Yet teaching holiness to a church – both inward and outward holiness is one of the most important things we can do.

On The Greatest Needs In The 90s:

The greatest need for the church today is for a greater commitment to intercessory prayer. However, this is something that must come by a personal conviction. People don’t pray unless they get convicted about the need.
Secondly, we need a holy boldness to declare the Gospel anywhere and everywhere. Unfortunately, not everybody is bold about witnessing. This comes by practice. You have to step out and declare it. Boldness will come if you will just make up your mind to do it.

I had a friend in New York City many years ago who would witness on the subway and the buses, The first time he took me out, he stood up on the bus, testified, and then said,

“Now, my good friend here wants to testify.” The result was that two elderly ladies followed us and asked what church we represented. They said they couldn’t believe that two young men would stand up for God like that. As a result, they came to church, and one of them was saved. We need more of that kind of holy boldness today.

On The Keys To Sparking Revival:

Revival comes through a combined effort between the pulpit and the pew. Unfortunately, there is an erroneous concept in many churches that the pastor is to do everything. They do not recognize the value of their own personal testimony, This I know: If the pulpit preaches evangelistically and the people will bring souls by witnessing, the church will have revival and grow. We had a revival once at Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis that lasted for almost three years. Over 500 people came in. We baptized hundreds in our Sunday night services.

On The Importance of Community Involvement:

It is very important for our churches to become involved in their respective communities. This kind of involvement gives you a high profile in your town.
I took part in various community activities such as helping to raise money for the Heart Foundation and Cancer Society, I did so at the challenge of one man who said, “Pentecostals are no earthly good because they’re only heavenly minded.” As a result of that, I got acquainted with a lot of our community leaders.

There are many people in the church in Indianapolis who came in as a result of our community involvement at Calvary. In fact, Dr. Reinking was contacted this way and he’s still a strong member of Calvary today. So this is something a pastor should consider. For example, I was a Rotarian while in Indianapolis. I got a lot of criticism for it but Rotarians were some of the most influential people in our city. The bottom line is that you can go to their meetings, but you don’t have to compromise your convictions.

On Dealing With Criticism:

As far as people’s criticism of myself, I ignore it. Now, if it’s constructive criticism, I listen. But if it’s destructive like much of it is, I just ignore it.

I’ve had all kinds letters written and passed around about me that are not true, if you try to respond to them you sound like you’re being defensive, which causes suspicion. There’s an old saying that goes: “Never try to explain yourself. Your friends don’t need it, and your enemies won’t believe it.”

Concerning a pastor being criticized by another pastor, I would just encourage them to ignore it and to be as personally ethical and upright as possible. Also, never indulge in proselytizing. There has to be ethical practice between pastors, because you are an example to your people.

I remember a crisis while I was Associate Pastor at the church in Indianapolis. My predecessor as pastor had gotten into a long court battle. In this battle, the two attorneys got into a mud fight you know, calling names and making wild accusations. The newspapers put us on the front page every day for a year. It became a nasty affair. I thought Calvary Tabernacle would be destroyed by the criticism and adverse publicity.

But after that, we had a revival that wouldn’t stop. We just kept on growing and growing. People would wake me up in the middle of the night asking to be baptized. I baptized many people at three or four o’clock in the morning.
Also, sometimes people would drive by the church and the Holy Spirit would draw them into the church. The church had such an influence on the city that the Holy Ghost went out into the very atmosphere and touched people in their cars. The devil tried to hurt us, but the Lord turned the criticism around.

On Challenges to the Ministry:

I’ve found that one of the most challenging things for a pastor to do is to teach effectively and place into the hearts of his people a true understanding of the benefits of being a Christian. Personally, I used to spend hours in study for our Thursday night Bible study. As a result, we used to have 600 or 700 people in that service. Strong, solid teaching will build a strong, solid church.

Finally, let me say this: Our ministers need to understand that they’re not building a kingdom for themselves, but they’re to build up the Kingdom of God. We need to be more kingdom minded and less personal minded. This alone would solve a lot of our problems.