In today’s episode of the Evangelism Podcast, I am joined by pastor and evangelist Anthony Greco to discuss his journey to becoming an evangelist. Greco shares his powerful testimony of encountering Jesus and feeling called to share the Gospel with others. He talks about how he was inspired by the story of evangelist T.L. Osborn and decided to travel to India to see if miracles really happened. Greco shares how he witnessed miracles at a Peter Youngren festival and how they deepened his faith in God.
Check out Anthony Greco’s Website: https://www.calgarylifechurch.com/
Evangelist Daniel King (00:00):
Welcome to the Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. Today. I have a very special guest with me, pastor Anthony Greco. Thank you so much for being with me on the Evangelism Podcast. It’s
Anthony Greco (00:12):
Just an honor to be here with you and been following you for quite a number of years. Heard some amazing things, and we have a lot of mutual friends, and appreciate what you’re doing for the cause of Christ around the world.
Evangelist Daniel King (00:22):
Well, thank you. You are a pastor here in Calgary, Alberta. Yep. And you are also an evangelist. Yes. And so tell me about how you got started as an evangelist.
Anthony Greco (00:35):
<Laugh>. Well, well, you know, I gave my life to Christ in 1982. Born in a very strong, devout Catholic family, and had an encounter with Jesus. When I was 18, I was in a trailer counting my beer money to see how drunk I could get with my drinking buddies. And his roommate came in and opened up his Bible and shared Christ with me. And five minutes later, I was on my knees and I accepted Jesus. And it was it was a powerful moment where I literally felt, you know, something just lift off my life. The lights came on and, and I was experiencing this, this presence of Jesus. And, you know, I had never experienced anything like that. And I, I remember, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry, but on the inside I was like, this is real. He’s alive. And I heard a voice on the inside of me say, yeah I’m real. And you’re gonna tell your generation, you know, I’m real. Something to that effect. You know how when God speaks to you, you kind of interpret that it wasn’t like an audible voice, but it was so undeniable. And so that’s how it started. And then someone put some Teal Osborne material in my hand, and it just resonated. I couldn’t put it down. And so
Evangelist Daniel King (01:44):
And so, because of Tia Osbourne’s story of going to India, you decided to go to India and test it out to see if it really worked. Yeah. Yeah. I, and so what happened?
Anthony Greco (01:53):
Okay, so I go to India, and so there’s I, I go to New Delhi and I see these posters everywhere. Come see the miracles of Jesus, the Blind Sea, the deaf here, the lame walk, thousands here, the good news, Jesus heals regardless of Casre religion, Canadian evangelist Peter Yare. And I thought, v I mean, my first thought was, are you allowed to advertise? Like that isn’t that presumption. But anyway, I ended up meeting him. And so he, you know, I, I just said, Hey, I’m from Cranbrook, bc and I said, I’ve heard of you and never met you, but I’d like to help. What can I do? And he, he says, well, you got a good camera there. Why don’t you take pictures of the miracles that they happen? And then he looked at my, my, my, my traveling partner, rod Harrison says, and you, you record them as they happen.
I said, yes. So we left that meeting. We went back to our hotel room, and we burst out laughing, like, like he was so matter of fact, and I mean, I believed in the mir, in Mir the miraculous, you know, but I’d never seen a miracle. I mean, maybe a sore knee or a sore elbow, or, but I’d never seen blind eyes open, you know, or deaf ears. And so I thought, all right. So that first night I show up at stadium and big open field, and there’s, you know, couple thousand people that first night. And Peter begins to preach, presenting Jesus, and you could just feel the atmosphere, get charged with faith and possibility. He gives the alter call and, you know, scores of people run forward and dust is coming up. And I’m like, I, I never seen that. And then he began to command miracles to happen.
And this is what I was waiting for. So I got the camera and I’m ready. And you know, he did it in categories, which right away I was disappointed, Daniel, I thought you don’t do in categories. I think I was, I think I was looking for something spectacular and sensational. You know, I I, and I thought once I saw that, that I would be transformed, that it wouldn’t, I would instantly have faith. I was looking for something, some kind of, of a religious experience that would fit into my frame of reference, or not reference, but I, what I would imagined. It starts with the deaf, commanding deaf spirits to come open, come out and blind eyes to open and cripples. And I’m, I’m watching this and I’m, I’ll never forget this little girl who had never walked and beautiful purple plaid dress on. And her father had wonderful Sikh man, you know, beard and turban, and he’s got tears running down his eyes onto his beard, onto his, his vest that he was wearing a sweater vest and big wet spots. And he’s laughing and crying, and his little girl who had never walked is walking back and forth, and he’s holding his big belly and laughing and crying. And he’s like, look what Jesus has done. Look what Jesus has done. And there was so many miracles that night, Daniel. I didn’t believe it.
Evangelist Daniel King (04:44):
I you saw it with your own eyes and you still didn’t believe
Anthony Greco (04:46):
It. I didn’t believe it. It was like water off a duck’s back. So I go back to the Y M C A where I was staying on in, in New Delhi and Dicing Road, and, and I was, that whole night I tossed and turned, I ended up getting on the balcony, and I’m crying out to God. And I said, God, obviously Peter Youngren was in really fine form, and Jesus, you were awesome as always. But what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I believe what I saw? I always said, if I see it, I’ll believe it. And it really comes down to, you know, and, and this is what I understood that night after wrestling, I realized that so much of my Christianity was in the realm of my, in, in was shaped by my, by my worldview. And in the West, it’s such a, a worldview shaped by logic and reason.
Well, it was back then. Now it’s about feelings. But that’s a whole nother, nother story. But back then, it was so much about you know, if I can taste it, if I can measure it, if I can touch it, then I’ll accept it as a reality. And I understood that night that my worldview was very much a natural worldview over in India and different parts of the world, as you well know, there’s a supernatural worldview. And so when I understood that, you know, you know Christ, you know, you know, the natural mind receives not the things of God. I I I will never be able to figure, download God into my brain. He’d literally blow your mind. But yet our spiritual capacity, Christ lives on the inside of us. And I understood that night that my, the spiritual reality of the new creation, that capacity to believe in no God is far beyond my intellect. And so in the West, we’ve elevated reason and logic above the place of simple childlike faith and spiritual realities. And so that night, I repented of my heartness of heart, asked Jesus to help me and begin to really able to appreciate and not be critical and cynical about the miracles that I saw.
Evangelist Daniel King (06:35):
And since you first connected with Pastor Peter Youngren, you helped to organize some of the big gospel festivals mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that he’s done in, in different parts of the world. And, and even till today, you’re, you’re continuing to, to work with him. So, so tell me about some of the adventures. What, what comes to mind of the, these different countries you’ve gone to and what God has done?
Anthony Greco (06:57):
Well in the, in the early days, so I, I’m working in Cranbrook. I’m a manager of a pizza hut. And I would, I would save up my money and then, you know, when I had money, I’d phone Peter and say, where are you going? You know, and then I’d, I’d go in advance and help set up. And so one day, the, we were watching the news, and so he lived in eastern Canada, in Toronto area, and I lived in Bridge Columbia while the Soviets, you know, they invade Afghanistan and, and millions of Afghan refugees begin to pour over the border into Pakistan. So Peter calls me and he says Anthony, you know, did, are you watching the news? I said, yeah. I said, it’s amazing. And he says, wow, the Afghans have never been reached with the gospel. He goes, that’s one of the last strongholds of darkness. We need to go there. And I said, okay, what do you wanna do? And he says, well, let’s go to pva, right by the Kira Pass and let’s, you know. And he says, can you go in advance and set it up for me? I said, sure,
Evangelist Daniel King (07:44):
Sure, no problem. Why not? You didn’t know what was impossible.
Anthony Greco (07:47):
I didn’t know. So I went and so I meet with all the pastors there. Now, when I was there was the same time that Osama Bin Laden was in pva, working on behalf of the cia, getting support from the, from the CIA to buy stingers and mules and weapons. And so the KGB was in the city setting off bombs in the marketplace, trying to force the government to push the Afghan refugees back into the refugee camps. Cause when they were coming into the city, they were getting finances, they were getting arms. And so it was chaos. So I’m there meeting with all the bishops and priests and pastors from every imaginable spectrum of Christianity, telling them what we want to do. And they’re like, you are crazy. There’s bombs going off. You’re gonna get us all killed. You don’t understand what it is to be a minority and a Muslim majority.
And, and so they, they forced me. They said, now you’re gonna call Pastor Peter Youngren and tell ’em to cancel the meetings. Cuz the previous 36 hours, I think it was six or nine bombs had gone off in the marketplace. So I got all the bishops and priests and pastors in a, in a house, and I’m on the, you know, the telephone. We didn’t have, we didn’t have cell phones or internet or fax machines at that day. I called Peter and I explained the situation and he just yells back and he goes, Anthony, tell them I’m coming. And he hung up the phone. I mean, it was like the air Manuel, the air was sucked out of that room. And they were just so despondent when Peter arrived. And we saw, and then, I mean, the first miracles were among, we had a lot of the Afghans experience. We had two interpreters. So we were speaking in [inaudible] and saw amazing miracles predominantly among the Muslims. And I remember going to the Bible Society and buying every piece of scripture they had. And we gave it to all those Muslim that were demanding Bibles and scriptures. It was, it was fantastic to see.
Evangelist Daniel King (09:32):
Let’s talk about power evangelism. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, why is it important for people to see the power of God at work?
Anthony Greco (09:40):
I love the old African proverb, which you’ve probably heard. You’re walking down the road and the road splits in two and you don’t know which way to go. One road has a, a man that’s dead, another one has a alive, which one are you gonna ask for directions? And I think our message is the resurrection of Jesus. And I, I think in North America, we focused on Christ died for our sins. The penalty was paid. But we don’t emphasize enough that the keys of death, hell in the grave are in the belt, in the hands of Jesus. He rose from the grave. He’s the only one. And he’s the same yesterday, today and forever and miracles, you know, they attest, they confirm the message. T.L. Osborn said to me, he says, you know, if you abide in my word, then you are my disciples. Indeed, we need to have the deeds to authenticate our message.
Cuz anyone can talk about what their prophet or guru, you know, had said. And so this, and it’s also when you go to areas where they’re held in darkness, and maybe there’s false religions or demonic powers or al, until you demonstrate that your message has greater power than theirs it’s very difficult for them to put their faith in Christ. So we, we must have miracles, Paul put an emphasis on it. And the only time we see that Paul didn’t have a lot of fruits in his ministries when he went to Mars Hill. And he just, he had a great, you know, apologetic discourse with the leaders. And they said, we’ll hear you again on this matter. But everywhere else, you know, in the book of Acts is like the Holy Spirit moves. And then the church plays catch up day of Pentecost boom. And they’re like, Peter’s like, whoa, what?
Oh, I know what this is. This is that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel. 3000 people are saved. Acts chapter three, boom, A lay man gets healed. Don’t look at us as if, you know, it was by our, and so you see this pattern in the book of Acts where miracles change the spiritual, their signs and wonders and signs point to something they make you wonder, who is this Jesus? And so I have found that that is absolutely vital and it can quickly, Jesus said, even to Sodom and well to Corine and some of the cities, you know, and he said, if the miracles that were done in you were done in Sodom and Gamo, they would repentant. So miracles have an ability to bring repentance and change of mind and change of attitude in, in, in, in, in different people groups.
Evangelist Daniel King (11:58):
I’ve heard you say the gospel of Jesus is Jesus. Yeah. What do you mean by that?
Anthony Greco (12:04):
<Laugh>? You know, it’s you know, that’s the good news man, is that, you know every, every religion is propagated, usually by the parents. And then it’s affirmed by, you know, maybe a priest or a monk or a guru or a holy man. And through certain ceremonies that are performed in pagodas or temples or mosques or whatnot, right? Only in Christianity is our, in the gospel. What’s unique is that our message is advanced by the participation of the founder himself. You know, the Lord went with them, you know, you know, confirming the word. And when people encounter Jesus, our message is a person. You, you don’t become an adherent to a doctrine or you join a religious movement or take membership in a denomination. You encounter Jesus and you find in him, he’s everything you need, your savior, your healer, the Baptizer and the Holy Spirit, restore, deliverer, you know, he’s everything. He’s the life. And so that’s what I get excited is that the good news about Jesus is I know that when someone says yes, they can encounter, they’re gonna have a, an encounter with the living resurrected savior.
Evangelist Daniel King (13:12):
So you have the heart of an evangelist and now you’re pastoring. And so what’s that like to go from traveling, doing crusades to, to now being a pastor? And, and, and how have you brought those two different giftings and callings together?
Anthony Greco (13:29):
Yeah, I mean that’s a, I mean, that’s a tension that I’m, I’m still trying to learn how to, how to manage. Cuz you go overseas and it’s, it’s, it’s proclamation. You know, north America was a bit more explanation. Now, do I still expect the miraculous to happen in my church setting? Absolutely. And just, I heard a testimony just a few nights ago of a young gal that had a, a, a cyst, you know, on her ovary, and we prayed and she went to the doctrine and a vanished, we’ve seen blind eyes open. But what I recognize in the church is that, you know, as a, you know, a pastor, you know, when I started, someone said to me, Anthony says, you know, well actually I heard John Maxwell say this at a conference. He said, the weakness of the Charismatic Pentecostal Church is you guys overestimate the event and underestimate the process.
And so the shift that I’ve had to make is to think long term, build relationships. Now I’m planted in this community. I’ve been here for 23 years, and I want to, you know, invite people into that relationship over that process of time to come to Christ. The em, I I really believe that, that a great pastor, according to Jesus in Luke 50 leaves, the 99 safe sheep to go after the one lost sheep. And so I think it’s the number one job of every pastor is not to grow deeper disciples, but is to reach lost people. And so when we thought about our church, and so how I look at it, I think it’s the angle scale that about, on a scale of one to 10, the five is where someone gets born again, eight nines and tens are your solid, mature believers that can feed themselves.
Your zero ones and twos are those that are not even interested in spiritual reality. Everything, how we’ve designed our church is with, I’m thinking of the threes and fours, which are the people that are starting to ask questions. Is there more to life than this? What about Jesus? Is the Bible true? What happens when I die? You know? And five of course is born again, six, they’re and seven are new believers. So I prepare my messages for three to six or four to sevens. I figured that, well, the zero ones and twos, they’re not there. Eights, nines, and tens. Come on, you can feed yourself. I’m not getting fed in church. Really. You know, you’re, you’re like,
Evangelist Daniel King (15:35):
I have, you need to be feeding someone else. You need to
Anthony Greco (15:37):
Be feeding someone else. Now take some responsibility. So that’s how I gear my church. And so I had to make big adjustment on, you know, how I speak using layman’s terms, you know eradicating some of the Christian Church and Christianese so that it’s very welcoming. And, and I’ve seen people come in and some of them, you know, especially some of the more educated, affluent people, they may take a year or two before they actually make a decision for Christ. They’re really watching everything. But I still believe job number one, ultimately I think you is, is is reaching that one lost person.
Evangelist Daniel King (16:13):
We’re here together at the Advance Evangelist Summit, and it’s really wonderful to see all these different evangelists from around Canada come together here in Calgary and have a heart for evangelism. And I think one of the things that God wants to do is to raise up more proclamation of evangelists who will go and preach the gospel with strengths and with demonstration and with power, with full. Like
Anthony Greco (16:38):
You do. Like you
Evangelist Daniel King (16:39):
Do. Yeah. And, and so what advice would you give to, to a young person who, who would like to be a, a proclamation of evangelists? Maybe they don’t even know what that is, but they, they wanna tell thousands of people about Jesus.
Anthony Greco (16:50):
You know, I had a, a great, one of the great mentors in my life is a man named Wayne Myers. And he’s done in Mexico City. He just turned a hundred. And one day I asked him, I said, why don’t we have a lot of miracles in North America like we see overseas? And he says, you know, he says, Saul never killed a giant, and he never had giant killers under his ministry or under his tenure. And he says, David killed a giant. And then, you know some of my, his mighty men, you know, killed off the brothers of Goliath. And he says, you can’t give what you, what you don’t have. So I would say this, all that to say who’s doing it? Who’s who, who’s caring and demonstrating what you want. Go, go draw ear, connect with them, people like yourself, you know, and I know there’s a, you we’re talking about the bootcamp with Daniel nda, my friend Peter Youngren.
When there, there are people that are operating in this, I would say go and serve under those ministries, draw clothes, study hunger and thirst after it. It’s that association submission is such a powerful thing because when you’re submitted, what’s the anointing that’s on the mission comes on you. And I would say, I wouldn’t be here today without Peter’s mentorship, him acknowledging a gift that’s in me, giving me opportunity, correcting me, you know, fine tuning. And so that is an absolute important thing. Pastors are gonna produce pastors and teachers are gonna produce teachers evangelists will produce evangelists. Find you, put yourself in those environments and step out on faith and be bold.
Evangelist Daniel King (18:16):
Let’s talk about what God is doing in Canada. For many years, Canada has sent missionaries around the world. So many Canadian churches have a heart for missions. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And, and now what we see is that people from around the world are coming to Canada. And so right here in Calgary, you have people from many different nations, many different cultures. And, and it’s like God is bringing the mission field to you. And I know in your church you have people from many different backgrounds. What would you say to other pastors in Canada about this mission field that God is bringing here?
Anthony Greco (18:52):
I mean, I was just talking to one of the local pastors here and told me that in the northeast quadrant of my city, Calgary now Calgary’s about, I think it’s 1.3, 1.4 million, but in that quadrant there are 440081% of those people. So over 300,000 are new immigrants. They’re new Canadians, there are Muslims are Hindus, they’re in our backyard. And I, I think what the inside of the church must reflect the outside of the church. You know, we’re multicultural church. We have about 50 different nationalities represented. And we you know, it’s the, the challenge is I don’t want to be culturally specific. I need to be culturally sensitive. And so I look what’s on my platform is my platform. All white guys or white women, does it reflect my leadership, everything. And I think that that is so absolutely key. And so one of the best things is, is you gotta start connecting, you know, with people from other nations, other lands.
And I, I’m, I’m, I’m blessed and fortunate that I’ve been able to be in 40 different nations. And so when I meet my Nigerian friends and I say, oh, did you bring any [inaudible] you know, and I asked them about, oh, you got [inaudible] you know, <inaudible>, you know, I talk about the food. We make that connection. I do that with my, with my Muslim friends, with my Hindu friends. And I, I try to learn a little phrase in each language where I go. And so when I meet someone I can just drop a few words and shoot because I know what it’s like. My wife’s an immigrant. English is not her first language. She’s from Sweden. We met in India, got engaged in Nigeria. My mom and dad were immigrants that come to this land. I grew up in a street where every house was built by an Italian.
I always felt like I didn’t belong. I always felt like I was an outcast. And if you’ve never lived in another country, you don’t understand what that’s like. I lived in Sweden for four years. I know it’s like to feel like you’re an outcast. You don’t understand the culture, the jokes, the language I to learn it. And I think as the ch Canadian church, what an incredible opportunity. But we gotta break out of our old Canadian mindset and realize our nation has changed. We are, we per capita. I read yesterday or this week per capita, Canadians have brought in more new immigrants than any other nation on the planet. I am a hundred percent in favor of it. And the opportunities to win them, to befriend them, open up an English as a second language, put on an international day, you know, invite your Muslim friends in.
I invite, I met an Iranian family at the park and I’m teasing with the guy and I said, teach me some Farsi. He says, [inaudible] gum. Which is really rude way of saying get lost. He shows up in my church months later, I look at him and I said, gum show. Gum show. He laughs cuz he knew I remembered him. And so his son comes to our, to our youth. He’s like, I’m a Muslim, but he’s coming to our youth. It’s a long game we’re playing, you know. But I think that’s, that is an awesome opportunity as Canadians and you know, we, we have a, you know America, you have the melting pot. It’s
Evangelist Daniel King (21:57):
A great opportunity. It is. And the church needs to take advantage of it. Yeah.
Anthony Greco (22:00):
And you know what? Those people are open for signs and wonders and even I read a study that nine out of every 10 Canadians has had some kind of supernatural encounter. What a great conversation starter. You ever have a spiritual experience and all of a sudden, so what do you think of spiritual reality? It could be a ghost or a demon or something, you know, something really. But we are, Canada has changed, our mindset has changed. And I think, yeah, it is an opportunity.
Evangelist Daniel King (22:26):
That’s awesome. Well, pastor Anthony, thank you so much for being on the Evangelism podcast. I appreciate it.
Anthony Greco (22:31):
Oh, well thank you so much
Evangelist Daniel King (22:32):
Daniel. I know we could talk for a long time. You’ve got so many stories. Thank you so much. Another
Anthony Greco (22:36):
Time. Thank you.