By Rick Kern
“We preach the Gospel in the middle of a world torn apart by death, pain, and sin…” observes Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, president and CEO of Christ for All Nations (CFAN). And they do! However, their preaching is best characterized by 1 Corinthians 2:4, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” For example, in Tamale, Ghana, a 28-year old man, who was deaf in the left ear from birth, felt fire come on his ear from the very first shout, and suddenly realized he could hear. And in Daloa, Ivory Coast, A woman, whose leg was swollen several times the normal size for three years, said that suddenly, during the prayer, the swelling went down. Her leg was completely normal. The Harare, Zimbabwe meeting had a man attending who had a fist-sized lump in his stomach for the last 21-years, who said that it instantly vanished during the prayer!
Perhaps the greater miracle was that during the Africa campaign, like every region CFAN holds meetings in, literally tens of thousands of people surrendered their lives to the Lord. In fact, since 1987, through a host of major events in Africa and other parts of the world, the ministry has recorded more than 77 million documented decisions for Jesus Christ and they have no plans to slow down.
Daniel Kolenda is the successor to world renowned Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, founder of Christ for All Nations; a ministry which has conducted some of the largest evangelistic events in history. They have published over 190 million books in 104 languages and have offices in ten nations around the world. In addition, Kolenda also hosts an internationally syndicated television program.
Daniel is a gifted, fifth-generation preacher whose ministry is marked by a powerful evangelistic anointing and incredible miracles after the model of Jesus; preaching, teaching and healing. During his tenure, CFAN says that the blind have received their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear. Kolenda reportedly even says he has seen the dead raised, but most importantly, the poor have the Gospel preached to them — and respond.
While Kolenda is a graduate of Southeastern University and the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry, his greatest education has come from the years of ministry side-by-side with his mentor and spiritual father Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.
Reinhard Bonnke is primarily known for his Great Gospel Crusades throughout the continent of Africa. The son of a pastor, Reinhard gave his life to the Lord at age nine, and heard the call to the African mission field before he was even a teenager. After attending Bible College in Wales and his ordination in Germany, he pastored a church and then went on to start missionary work in Africa. It was there, in the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho, that God placed upon his heart the vision of ‘the continent of Africa, being washed in the precious Blood of Jesus’ — an entire continent that needed to be reached and to hear the proclamation of the Gospel with signs and wonders following.
Evangelist Bonnke began holding meetings in a tent that accommodated some 800 people. As attendance steadily increased, however, larger and larger tents had to be purchased, until finally, in 1984, he commissioned the construction of the world’s largest mobile structure — a tent capable of seating 34,000 people! Soon, attendance at his meetings even exceeded the capacity of this huge structure and he began open-air Gospel Campaigns with an initial gathering of over 150,000 people per service! Since then, he has conducted city-wide meetings across Africa with as many as 1,600,000 people attending a single meeting using powerful sound systems that can be heard for miles.
Russell Benson is the International Director of Christ for All Nations and has worked closely with Daniel Kolenda for years. He came to CFAN about eight years ago and is a key player in all God is doing through the ministry. “What has this ministry, in a thumbnail, been all about?” It’s been about souls,” says Benson. “There’s nothing that burns in Reinhard’s heart, there’s nothing that burns in Daniel’s heart or anyone who serves in the leadership of this ministry, more than salvation. We put everything into that.” He adds, “We have been so blessed by God. Reinhard wouldn’t say this, he’s a humble man of God, but what God has done with his ministry and Daniel’s ministry, I believe, may be unprecedented, ever! It really is extraordinary and we praise God and give Him all the glory for what He has done and what He is doing to this day.”
Benson, who has been in pastoral ministry since he was 20-years old, wears many hats for CFAN. “I oversee the administration of the global offices. I also oversee our Fire Conferences, which we do all over the world. We actually just got finished with a Fire Conference in Jacksonville, Florida and we’re planning one in Charlotte, North Carolina, Budapest, Hungary, Germany, and in 2019, we’ll have about four or five others,” he explains. “I oversee those as well and I also do some preaching. I do some of the ministry as well at some of the conferences, even on the crusade, I’ll preach at times. I keep busy and it’s awesome and it’s wonderful to serve the Lord.”
In his capacity as International Director, Benson has a strong handle on the priorities and inner workings of CFAN; among them is their commitment to working with the local church. “God has called us to work closely with the local church,” he notes. “We believe in the five-fold ministry. The evangelist needs the pastor, the pastor needs the evangelist. God has called us to do it together.” Continuing he says, “We don’t go above the church, below the church or around the church. Evangelism always flows through the local church. We live by that and spend a lot of time, money, and effort doing it.”
As mentioned, CFAN is also recognized for hosting Fire Conferences in many different countries of the world. These are events that are aimed at equipping church leaders and workers for evangelism. They have also distributed over 95,500,000 copies of “Minus to Plus,” a profound salvation message, to homes around the world as they seek for every opportunity to reach and to save the lost.
More recently, Bonnke and his team have spent several years developing the “Full Flame Film Series,” which is made up of eight inspirational films aimed at inspiring and challenging the church to Holy Spirit evangelism.
While much of CFAN’s focus has been in Africa, the Lord has led them all across the globe from America to Asia and everywhere in between. Wherever they serve, however, they have no illusions about the need for prayer. “Prayer has always been a key, I believe, to the success of the ministry of CFAN,” Benson declares. “We’ve had prayer coordinators employed by our ministry to organize rallies and to get people to pray. We realize that there is spiritual warfare, and that we not only battle against flesh and blood, powers and principalities, but we understand that prayer is important.”
In fact it is so important that CFAN mobilizes multitudes to intercede and beseech God’s Spirit to move through their events. Benson adds, “We do a lot regarding prayer. We have tens of thousands of prayer partners around the world that are praying, day in and day out for the ministry, for the leadership, and most importantly, for the people coming to our Gospel crusades.”
In the last analysis, though cultures may differ, the message is the same for in God’s eyes CFAN sees all people equally treasured. “When we go into a region, we work with the local churches, we find just a real willingness globally, for churches to work together to see a Gospel crusade happen and to see people, as Reinhard likes to say, ‘Rally around the cross of Calvary,’” Benson continues. “We ask people to drop their denominational dime and come to the foot of the cross together for the sake of lifting up the name of Jesus. We really find a willingness for that to happen in Christians, in churches, in leadership, wherever we go around the world. There’s really more similarities than differences.”
Those similarities can be shared among believers this April 25th – 28th, at the Attwell Centre in Toronto, Ontario at CFAN’s Light The Fire Again Conference. They are anticipating attendees from all around the world to have an encounter with God like never before and expecting a once-in-a-lifetime gathering. An impressive roster of scheduled speakers includes Reinhard Bonnke, Daniel Kolenda, Rick Joyner, Dr. Michael Brown, and several others.