I have heard this term used recently by a friend of mine. I’m not totally certain what it means but to me it seems to refer to a believer who has a special ministry to those on the streets. They disciple those who are non believers or the new believers who are just off the streets and need proper grounding. The likes of David Wilkerson who wrote ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ shows us that it really takes some very special people to do the apostle ministry. But it seems a lot of us have already jumped into this ministry without being aware of it.
Or how else do we want to explain our spirit-filled tongue lashing presence at clubs, digging it with the people we are trying to disciple? How do we explain our association with those whose conversation is seasoned with vinegar instead of salt? Nowadays, the old time religion our forefathers used to sing about is truly outdated. It has given way to a permissive, free-for all, come-as-you-are-but-don’t-bother-to-change kind of Christianity.
The effects of these are obvious. The folks we are trying to disciple do not see any difference between them and us. They look in bewilderment when we quote to them the scripture: ‘Come out from among them and be separate.’ They really do not have any idea what we are talking about, because we go with them to all their parties, laugh at their crude jokes…some of us even take apostle Paul’s advice of just drinking a little wine. Maybe some feel they want to appear as all things to all men so that they might win some. But we need to be honest with ourselves. Is our approach really helping these ones? Are we rescuing Mary Madgalene from her seven demons or are we helping the demons to thrive in the house they are dwelling in? Worse, we might actually be inviting demons into our own lives also. We must never underestimate the power of the blood. The blood is available to still change from the inside out. It is still available to cleanse sin. And the standards of God can never be changed no matter how understanding we want to be.
It has been said that it is easier to pull a person down than to pull a person up. That is why the Bible warns us to take heed lest we fall. If we do decide to disciple those from the streets, then we need to establish some ground rules.
1. We should not agree to go with them to places that Jesus cannot be glorified. In fact, we should actively discourage them from going to night clubs or drinking parties. Isn’t that how many of them fell in the first place? They need to be taught that they cannot go back to their vomit that though they have been saved by grace, they still have the responsibility of protecting themselves from evil gatherings.
2. Their conversation should be censored. We must not allow them to get away with crude jokes or swearing. They should know that once we’re around at least, they need to wash their mouths with soap. With time, they might eventually realize that their uncouth manner of speaking is not necessary to get points across.
3. Flee from every appearance of evil. This is important both for us as street apostles and for those we are trying to disciple. The enemy has subtle means of trying to place us in potentially dangerous situations. The thing to do is not to try to reason ourselves out of the dilemma we are in but to take to our heels immediately.
Paul and the other apostles were successful in their ministries because they remembered that their allegiance was to Jesus first and foremost. Not to the people they were trying to convert or disciple. If our relationship with Jesus is uppermost in our minds and we draw our strength for Him, it makes it easier for us to truly minister to His children.