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What do a 73-year-old Indian theologian, an American high school student and a pilot in the French navy have in common?
Each one has signed on for Awakening Evangelism BASE Training, a unique program dedicated to equipping the saints with the tools they need to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Let me speak prophetically, I believe that what's happening in our generation is this: for the last 40-50 years, God has been actively working to re-establish the foundation of the apostles and the prophets," says AE founder and president Mattie Montgomery, former vocalist for hardcore band For Today. "As God has re-established the seats of the apostles and prophets, what has happened now is that He has laid a foundation for the evangelists to arise.
"Not evangelist meaning people who preach the gospel, that's what a Christian is. An evangelist in the true sense is one who stands on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets and works actively to equip the saints for the work for the ministry," Montgomery says. "The evangelist seat is rising."
Tattooed sleeves decorate Montgomery's arms, and another inked design peeks out from underneath his collar. His gauged ears are sewn shut. Montgomery looks nothing like famed evangelists Billy Graham, Reinhard Bonnke or Greg Laurie, but the anointing on his life is evident.
For more than a decade, Montgomery preached the gospel through his music. He avoided temptations that caused his peers to stumble. He humbled himself before the Lord, fasting and praying that God might be glorified. His living sacrifice manifested with countless salvations and supernatural encounters.
"I really believe the most substantial prophetic word I've ever heard maybe in my whole life came in 2016," Montgomery says. "A lady in our church said, really in passing, it wasn't the centerpiece of her message that day. She said, 'It's time for the church to break its covenant with death.' She said, 'We've made death our doorway into heaven; we've convinced ourselves that when we die, then pain will end. Or that when we die, then I will finally be able to behold glory.' But Jesus is supposed to be our doorway to glory. It seems so obvious, right?"
He points to John 16 and Isaiah 6 as glorious realities, "But most of the church is blind to it."
And that's where evangelism comes in. It's time for the saints to understand just how much power they possess.
He bid For Today farewell in January and focused on the AE training program. The online classes launch this fall, and video teachings will include spiritual heavy-hitters such as Todd White, John Bevere and Ben Fitzgerald. More than 144 students have registered with 600 other applicants awaiting a decision.
"What really drew us to this program is that it's an incredible, resourceful solution to the desire in our hearts to see the gospel preached on a global scale like it never has been before while also enabling us to be faithful to the things God has called us to steward over at home," AE Director Elijah Ward says." Without leaving our families for weeks on end and touring the world to preach at weekend conferences, we can have a huge impact on the world from right here in Mobile, Alabama. We can reach the body of Christ internationally and equip them to take the gospel everywhere they go using a 16-week evangelism training course called BASE. It's a dream come true."
Many of the students were drawn to the program because of Montgomery's tangible passion for Jesus.
"I think the only impact that someone like Mattie could have is to grow the kingdom," AE Media Director Matthew Kimble says. "Since I first met him over seven years ago, he has always taught from the stage and pulpit that we have to put action to our faith. As someone who has walked with him as a friend through good times and bad times, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he's the real deal.
"These are urgent times we live in, and I think that in many Christian circles, the gospel is often more a subject of internal debate than external application. Mattie challenges all of us on the Awakening Evangelism team daily just by his example of choosing boldness and courage in his walk. With Awakening Evangelism, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to stand with the church and empower her to reach neighborhoods, cities, regions and nations in a supernatural way that hasn't been seen in a long, long time (or perhaps ever)."
Come August, AE will empower men and women internationally with courage, vision, a theological foundation and a heart to serve with humility.
"He's willing to teach us an excellent way to walk in evangelism to avoid pitfalls like the fear of man; endless hell-centric spiritual warfare; and so many other snares that hinder the power of personal evangelistic ministry. I believe that a massive move of God is coming to this generation if we will see it and receive it, and I believe that Awakening Evangelism is a part of that," Kimble says.
While Montgomery may be the catalyst, the movement already exists beyond his immediate reach.
As exciting and as congregational conferences are, they only last for a few days at a time. AE is different, both in scope and mission.
"It's birthed from a place of family and honor and will require you to invest your heart and life into it," BASE student pastor Matt White says. "Because of that, you'll see a real return on investment into your life and thinking. It's not a momentary, emotional change but a lifelong changing of your heart."
And it's not for the faint of heart or for those looking for a quick Jesus high.
"This is like, people don't take our evangelism training course because their family wants them to," Montgomery says. "The thing I'm excited about is Jesus said, 'Bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.' Ultimately, the people who are signing up are signing up because they want more than Sunday-morning Christianity. They're signing up because they want to be a conduit, a vessel for the glory of God into their workplace, onto their school campus, into their local coffee shop, wherever they happen to be. And I have to believe that if that is somebody's heart, then God is always going to answer that prayer."
Evangelism is rising, Montgomery says, and the keys are ready for the taking.
Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor's family in Alabama, she attended Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She's passionate about sharing God's goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.
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