By Rev G.A. Mangun
Just before the Greater First Pentecostal Church moved into its present facilities, the Lord spoke to Rev. G.A. Mangun and said, “March down to the new church” …put Pentecost on parade.
A float was made and other moving platforms were used to carry singing groups. The radio station was there to provide news coverage. The Chief of Police had to be out of town, but, he told the Manguns that everything would be taken care of, and it was, as police escorted them.
The parade started with about twenty preachers, followed by the church choir. Next was a loud junior choir and then hundreds of saints in the church. After this came the buses filled with happy children. The parade was over three blocks long. Just before the people stepped onto the new property, Pastor Mangun said “When your feet touch this new property I want you to shout,” and shout they did.
Brother Mangun walked down the isles reading the Word of God and the Glory of the Lord filled the sanctuary. The town of Alexandria has never been the same since Pentecost went on parade.
Before coming to Alexandria, Louisiana, Pastor Mangun had held revival meetings for a number of years. He attended Apostolic Bible Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota, and as a young man, gave himself to God in fasting and prayer. While in Bible College he fasted three or four days, almost every week. As an evangelist, the Lord helped him lead many churches into spiritual worship. He would start by getting the churches to fast and pray. He pushed for record breaking Sunday School attendance’s. On the first night of revival, to a church that was running 80 in attendance, he would challenge them to have 120 in attendance on Sunday morning. He offered a prize to the one who brought the most. As the effects of people seeking God and seeing new folks in church began to take hold, people began to believe and receive what they desired from the Lord, and Holy Ghost revival would be happening.
“It is the preachers responsibility” proclaims Pastor Mangun, “to transmit his burden to the laymen. He must transmit it in terms that the layman understands. Jesus taught by precept and by practice and he finally got through to His followers. He taught them the truth and then showed them the truth by the way he lived. If I had a church with just three families in it, I would be a family with them. I would pour my mind and my vision into all of them. They may not all catch the same vision, but some of them will catch it. When we came to Alexandria, we got in with our people and stood with them until they caught the same burden that we had. We began talking outreach. ‘Go out and get somebody!’ A church cannot have a revival and pray people through, if there are no sinners sitting in the pews. A few folks caught that love for the lost and began carrying it and from then on we grew. But the main thing is….if that preacher does not do it, hang it up! If he does not make the consecration and if he does not do it like Jesus taught it, through preaching it and then living it, how can we expect the layman to do it?”
“There have been a number of pastors who have went to Deeper Life meetings and have been stirred and shaken, and it lasted for awhile. But they fall back into something less than what they wanted. They are inconsistent in their dedication to their Lord. Preachers must maintain a fullness of the Spirit of God, so that they have enough to constantly be pouring into their people. One vessel pours into another vessel and the vision is expanded, as more people begin to catch it. Your people must see your example. Jesus taught His disciples to love the lost and to witness to them and then they found Him at the well, doing exactly what he taught them to do. People will not listen to you, if you do not practice what you preach. You cannot teach them to pray if they never see you pray. We cannot tell our people to be faithful on the week end if we spend two or three days on the lake every week. It is still in the book that no one is going to rise above their leader,” explains Brother Mangun.
The wife of the pastor has a tremendous role to perform in being an example of her husband’s preaching. An outstanding book written by preachers wives and compiled by Mrs. C.L. Dees called Heirs Together goes into this important task. First of all, she needs to take on a prayer life. She must be seen at prayer herself. She must lead the way on the layman’s level and yet be the preacher’s wife. She cannot say, “I am the minister’s wife and I don’t have to go to the prayer meetings.” Brother Mangun feels that “If a preacher has a wife who will not pray, the best thing for him to do is to get a job somewhere. And if the preacher himself will not pray, he had better stop calling himself a preacher or else get down to business with God.”
If a preacher has not had the opportunity to be in a revival church, he should get after fasting and prayer and get an experience from God that will set him afire. It may take a three day fast or a seven day fast, but, whatever the price may be, it will be worth the sacrifice. If he is not burdened enough or does not have enough desire to stir himself up, he might as well hang it all up. If it does not matter what happens on Sunday morning or Sunday night or Wednesday night, then he could relax. But, since it does matter, and since eternity is to be considered, a preacher must care what happens with every fibre of his being.
Pastor Mangun is convinced that there is no method of soul winning that can compare with personal evangelism. Whatever advertisements are used to get people’s attention, personal evangelism must still be there to win them. We Pentecostals must become brainwashed with the message and methods of Jesus. Are we so heartless, so cruel that we cannot give what we have to somebody
else! We have God’s Spirit within us and if we do not give it out, we are a criminal in the first degree. Just like a doctor with a cure, if he does not give it out, he is guilty of criminal negligence. If we claim to be a saint and do not want to share what we have with someone else, we need to go back to the altar. We all have at least one friend in this world that we could contact.
One Sunday in the men’s class, Brother Mangun asked a man to introduce his friend to the class. He introduced him and commented, “He wants God in his life.” Brother Mangun stepped over and laid hands on the man’s head and he began speaking in tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance. They marched into the auditorium and told the rejoicing crowd in there, baptized him in Jesus Name, went back and continued with the class. Nothing is ever the same at the Greater First Pentecostal Church. Pastor Mangun has told his people that whenever they know what is going to happen-that is when he will be gone. The Holy Ghost is chairman of every service. Many pastors are at ease because they know what they are going to say and what they are going to do and the Holy Ghost has very little to say. Brother Mangun explains that he “stays frustrated until he finds the mind of the Spirit.”
If a preacher has the gospel and it is not effective in his life, then it is an indictment against him. God is not going to go out and do it alone. He is going to use His instruments. If we don’t go after God’s Spirit like He says we should, it is no wonder that he does not do things for us. God does not force us to read, study, pray, or fast, but it is going to tell on us if we fail to do those things.
There is a certain amount of discipline a person must learn. If a preacher will discipline himself, then God will not have to do it. It saves time, money, healing of misunderstandings, traveling down sideroads of misdirection and many other things. A preacher has to fast, suffer, groan and travail. Paul said, “I die daily.” Before going out in the morning a minister should have touched God for direction and guidance throughout the day. It is not a matter of strategy or of knowing how – it is a matter of dying daily to this flesh and staying in a disciplined place where we can be led of God.
Romance of Evangelism
Pastor Mangun believes that a pastor needs to be getting with the public. Knocking on doors, going to hospitals and contacting people. He can start a bus route and get his people involved in the romance of soul-winning.
It is too late on God’s time-clock for anything “normal.” A “normal” service at the Greater First Pentecostal Church is out of order. We have limited the Holy Ghost to just a little routine. We are in our rut of three songs and the same old testimonies and prayer request, what is it! We don’t know the mind of the Spirit and to save ourselves embarrassment, we have it all planned out, in case, the Holy Ghost does not move. We need to give it to God and let Him be the chairman of the service. We need to fast, pray, dedicate and get frustrated until we have the mind of the Spirit.
Procedure for Progress
A minister has asked, “My church has stayed about 100 in Sunday School for years. There is no doubt in my heart about my call into the ministry but apparently there is a problem. What can I do right now to change myself?”
Brother Mangun believes that the first thing this minister should do is:
1) Go on an extended fast and a giving of himself to God in prayer.
2) Cut out anything that would hinder this searching after the mind of God. (i.e.: fishing, hunting, and other recreational activities.)
3) Seek God for boldness and faith so that he can project the Word of God. If a minister is inwardly scared of his congregation, he will not go anywhere.
4) Teach the whole church the romance of winning the lost.
5) Pour your burden and your vision into those who are willing to be actively involved in outreach. The average church is 95% incapacitated because it is carnal. The preacher has 5-10% of the people with whom he can share the load. But that is not the churches fault – it is the fault of the leadership. The pastor is not suppose to let that happen. That is what he is there for – to keep the people spiritual. Brother Mangun walked into the sanctuary on Sunday night before service and people were milling around and talking. He walked up on the platform and grabbed a microphone and said, “This is not going on here, we have a big devil to fight and this is Sunday night service and you are talking, get on your knees and pray.
6) Keep every service spiritual. There are thousands of people sitting in congregations starving. Never getting what they really want from God. It is not because the preacher does not preach, but because there is no spirit. He does not know how to bring the refreshing. He does not know how to get the wells going again. This is one vital lesson that every man of God must learn and that is how to get people cleaned out so that their wells begin to automatically spring up and the Holy Ghost really flowing through them. If this does not take place, people become as stagnant pools of water. The people have been fighting their jobs, schools, worldliness and the devil during the day. When they come to church, the minister has to be in a position to help straighten them out. He has to refresh in them, what they have, and show them their responsibility to reach the person out in the world who doesn’t have it. If the minister is not spiritual, there is no way he can bring this about in their lives. This is why the apostles wanted to give themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer. Along with a good Bible Study, that spiritual touch from heaven is just as important.
The seed of God’s Word is to be watered by His Spirit.
7) With all thy getting, get the anointing of the Holy Ghost on your ministry. The preacher should fast at least one day a week and pray at least one hour a day. If he does not do this, he is not going to stay in the Spirit so that he can detect what God wants to do in a service. The preacher should fast three consecutive days every quarter and a seven day fast every year. The preacher must live a life of sacrifice. As a young minister, Brother Mangun heard the audible voice of God speak to him and say, “This kind cometh not but by fasting and prayer.” The people will catch the burden only as they hear the preacher preach it and watch the preacher live it.
Brother Mangun believes that the “first love,” to which the church at Ephesus was admonished to return – was the love for the lost. The individual who has just been filled with the Spirit is truly in love with God and with everybody. They want everyone to receive what they have received. They immediately become ardent soul winners, that is – if they are spared the wet-blanket treatment by cold, dead, critical, professing Christians. Clara Clark, a member of the Greater First Pentecostal Church, remembers when Brother Mangun asked his church (with 60 members at the time) for twelve to become really dedicated soul winners. That is when she found her ministry of loving the lost. She went on visitation for three years before anyone came and was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then they started praying people through to the Spirit in their living rooms. Clara explains, “I had a neighbor who was a beautician. She did not have much experience fixing long hair, but I went there to have my hair fixed just so I could talk about the Lord to her. At first, she was not interested at all but I kept going back and talking about the Lord. One day she told me that she was sick of her dry denominational church and I said, ‘Praise the Lord’ and we prayed her through to the Holy Ghost in her home. If people will do this personal work, you will not have to make peanut brittle. This is God’s way of taking care of the church.” Clara pointed out how her pastor never became discouraged in soul winning. If only one other person showed up for visitation, then the two of them would go and determine to turn the town up-side down for Jesus. Addresses of new folks in town could be obtained from the utility company. “We just welcome them
to our city and if they need help in any way, to let us know,” explains Clara. “We give them a tract. Around Easter they will get a letter from us inviting them to special services. We tell them about the beautiful singing. We go out every Thursday and Saturday and spend three hours each day. Do not get discouraged because the first time out, the devil will see that no one is home. Satan tries to discourage soul winning more than any other thing. I have had ten, promise to come to church for one service, and not one of them show up. Generally, you have to go five times before you
get them. Just keep going. If we are effective, it is because our witnessing is well watered with prayer. Brother Mangun has taught us to
1) fast a day a week
2) Pray one hour every day
3) Pray one three hour session each week
4) Go on visitation
After someone comes in and is saved, they need someone to stay with them and encourage them for four or five months. There is a ministry in that alone – being a mother to the new babe in Christ,” states Clara.
Twenty-four Hour Prayer
The Greater First Pentecostal Church has for a number of years, had twenty-four hour prayer going on in the church. The people pray in three hour shifts. Pastor Mangun feels it is important to pray at the church for a number of reasons:
1) At home, a person is not going to discipline himself to any length of time in prayer.
2) The church is to be the people’s center of interest.
3) A person needs to pray long enough to really talk to God. If they have anything they need to repent of, three hours is a long time to cover it up.
4) This gives everyone a chance to be renewed in the Holy Ghost as they pray in other tongues.
5) There are too many things at home to get their mind off of praying.
6) There are usually others praying and this is an inspiration to pray.
7) A self-inspecting question, “How much of the load of this church am I carrying if I do not have a prayer burden?”
Much prayer is an important part of every church that is having continual revival. Gerald and Vesta Mangun preach prayer and they practice prayer. Pastor Mangun has made it a point through the years to spend at least two hours a day in prayer. He believes everyone must pray an hour a day just to keep their spirit strong and preachers, who have to give out, should at least, double that to two hours of daily communion with Jesus. Vesta Mangun is at the church during the day from three to six hours every day, praying and encouraging the young Christians around the altar. Before the Wednesday and Sunday night services she gets to the church around 4:00 p.m. and prays until church time. This is what the saints in Alexandria see on a daily basis, and it definitely has its impact on their lives.
“In my seven years in this church,” declares Joyce Rogers, “I have never seen Brother Mangun complain about being tired or having to go pray for someone, even though he is constantly on the run. I have never seen him ‘down in the dumps.’ He is always on an even keel, rejoicing. Sister Mangun is here just as regular as if she had a job. She comes about 9:00 a.m. to seek the face of the Lord. They are up early like the working people.” Joyce continues, “Another thing is Brother Mangun’s enthusiasm. He always has a happy ring in his voice when he is on the telephone, even if he is talking to a stranger. He is always positive. He taught me the importance of the Name of Jesus in baptism. After a baptismal service, he stood up on the baptistery and said ‘If I had to make a choice between the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and being baptized in the name of Jesus, I would choose Jesus Name. That is how important it is, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Pastor Mangun is our shepherd. He doesn’t ask us to do anything that he does not do himself. He leads the way. He has taught us the necessity of releasing our spirit in worship to God. How important it is to open up and get carried away praising the Lord. In the ladies’ prayer meeting, Sister Mangun taught us that the most important thing in a woman’s life is to pray through and break out of our shell. I danced before the Lord for the first time in the ladies prayer meeting. Whether a person jumps, shouts, runs, dances or yells in the Spirit doesn’t matter, just so they do something. It is absolutely necessary to break out of ourselves and give ourselves to Jesus in worship. Brother Mangun has instilled it in us that we must be actively witnessing or we are lost. How can we say we love our neighbor as ourselves and never tell them what God has done for us! He teaches us to give, to share, to study. Every afternoon when people get off work, the young and the old gather here at this tabernacle to pray. You see some of the young unmarried girls circled around Sister Mangun at the altar. She is counseling them and loving them. She does not care who you are or what you are in this church, she will love you. Sister Mangun is not well. Four years ago she marched twenty miles for missions and should have been carried in, but refused. Since that time she has suffered with a double hernia but will not go see a physician. Since God has taken care of her this long, He will continue. But yet she tells us if our faith is not great enough to cover our children, ‘don’t you sit there and let them die, take them to a doctor.’ She gives and drains every bit of energy, praying in the altars, playing the organ. By her giving all – we know that we have to give also. We do not worship Brother and Sister Mangun but we love them and admire them. My pastor does not want any one’s praise. He will just take off on his way while you’re talking. He wants our love and devotion to God”
Hindrances to Growth
When asked for reasons why some churches do not grow, Pastor Mangun replied, “We have preachers who have no business preaching. They do not know the first thing about the ministry. They do not know how to go out and knock on doors and be a soul winner. If you can not do that, then you have no business being a preacher. Many preachers lack knowledge of leadership. There is nothing new going on, no new burden, no bus ministry or outreach. So the people start picking at each other. That is the first problem.
The second problem is the old order of Pentecostals. Three songs, prayer requests and testimonies that are long and dry. It boils down to a rut of so-called worship, but it is not from the heart.
The third problem is that most people in the average church, pray very
Fourth, active witnessing and personal evangelism must become a part of every Christian’s life. If church services are inspiring and exciting and if the people are praying and witnessing, then God sent revival is imminent. If these things go on consistently, a revival church has been born. These things are brought about in a church by its leadership.
In the foyer of the Greater First Pentecostal Church, encased in glass is a “Commitment” for the Seventies signed by over 150 people. It reads as follows:
In Assembly August 23, 1970 The Unanimous Declaration Commitment of Seventy
for the Seventies.
When in the course of spiritual events, it becomes necessary for our people to be seized by the “burden of eternity,” and to assume their dutiful station as servants of Jesus the Christ, and to be set apart and sent forth by the Holy Ghost, the fire burning in their breasts requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to commitment – we hold these truths to be self-evident, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain faculties and any pursuit other than in response to our Father’s Will would be folly. Whereas this is the year 1970, and whereas “The Lord
appointed other seventy, also, and sent them two by two before His face and whereas the seventy returned again with Joy” – We, therefore, realizing the urgency of the last days, do declare our desire to be especially used of God in Impact ’70. We affirm our assistance in the outreach efforts of the Greater First Pentecostal Church, and for the support of this Declaration, We maintain firm reliance upon Divine Providence.”
While writing this commitment down, the red-hot, heart-felt, praying of Sister Mangun, as she walked back and forth across the front of the auditorium, crying out for God’s blessing, asking for His name to be exalted and revealed and desiring that His will would be known concerning all matters, echoed throughout the building.
Obedient to the Unenforceable
Brother Mangun pointed out that the pastor must be obedient to that which cannot be enforced. The preacher is on his own. He can do what he wants. It is like a pilot in the air. There are many rules laid down for safe flying but the pilot can break everyone of them. He does not have to fasten his seat belt or keep his altitude up. But if he does not obey those rules, sooner or later, he is going to crash. The preacher must have a lot of self-control to make sure he is everything he must be, to represent Jesus Christ to a lost world. If he has never disciplined himself through prayer
and fasting, how can he be a man of God? No one should be given a license to preach who has never won a soul to the Lord. Every applicant should be fasting weekly and praying daily before they are even considered.
Sounds of Sunday School
A bus loaded with children came in singing, “Give me that old time religion.” Another bus had its own P.A system on it. The classes were decorated up with a large variety of visual aids. After classes the kids had a chance to hit some of their bus captains with water balloons. A lot of excitement and action was going on.
In 1975 the Greater First Pentecostal church was awarded a beautiful banner from the Christian Life Magazine. This is the fastest growing church in the whole state of Louisiana.
A Great Administrator
“I do not believe I have known any couple or anybody in my years in Pentecost that is as close to God and consecrated as is my pastor and his wife,” states Tom Rogers. “And I feel that this is their success. Brother Mangun is a great administrator. He knows how to put responsibility on people and leave it for them to see that the job gets done. He delegates and then pulls back and watches you. As long as you keep the ball rolling, he just lets you go.”
Weekly events at the Greater First Pentecostal Church include:
Monday evening – New convert’s class
Tuesday evening – Ladies’ prayer meeting
Wednesday evening – Worship service
Thursday morning – Ladies prayer meeting and visitation
Friday evening – Youth rally or street meeting
Saturday-Visitation all day
Sunday – Sunday School and morning Worship
Sunday evening – Evangelistic Service
A guest to the Sunday night service will get a letter from Brother Mangun’s office by Wednesday and be visited at least once before the next Sunday.
Monday night is a class for all new Christians. They go through the Bible in a survey course called Search for Truth. Also a course in Christian conduct is taught entitled Called, Chosen and Faithful. They also go in to Babylonian history and the Book of Revelations. Guests have visited these classes even before attending a church service.
These new saints also get involved in outreach immediately. Many of them begin working in the bus ministry. A person does not have a right to have this experience who does not want to duplicate it in the life of someone else. Brother Mangun believes that too many Pentecostals have the idea that they are saved to sit down. They just want to hear a Bible lesson and that is all. A church is the place to come and get new instructions, to get refreshed and renewed and then go back out to the harvest field. It is time to fill our cities with the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
The Vibrant Voice of Vesta
“Please do not write success over our names or our church. We are not there. We need something from God,” states Vesta Mangun. “Jesus taught by precept and by practice and he finally got through to his followers. It is a pouring of oneself into another. After one has preached it, then the example must be there to be seen. You have got to remember that there are mothers that get up at 6:00 a.m. and take their babies to a nursery and then go out and put in eight hours of work. Before they are going to be praying like they need to, they must see someone else doing it. Even if it
is in the Bible, people want an example they can see. Paul said, “follow me as I follow Christ.” Jesus taught it that way. By precept, He taught them to be soul winners and fishers of men and then they find Jesus doing that very thing – witnessing to the woman at the well. That is when real teaching takes place. It is a matter of practicing what you preach because people are watching you. You cannot tell them to go pray and they never see you praying. It is still written that people will not rise above their leader and a lot of leaders are babysitting. It has got to begin in prayer and at the same time, we have to get it across that people can be something for God and they can contribute to the Kingdom of God. You build it tall and high because it will soon be over.”
(The above material was published by Revival Churches for the Rapture Generation by David Elms, 1977).
Christian Information Network