Published August 14, 2008
This article is not written to be critical or judgmental, but to humbly deal with a biblical principle. It is not written by a novice, because God has given me the honor of serving Him as one of His God-called and God-gifted evangelists for some 41 consecutive years, conducting crusades across America and in several foreign countries.
All this has taken place during 57 years of preaching His Holy Word. Those first years, I sought to prepare myself for this ministry through academic study and pastoral experience, which I thought would enable me to be a better evangelist.
I am aware this office and gift has been abused, but so have others in the church. Yet, churches do not stop calling pastors or stop sending forth missionaries because these offices or gifts have been abused. Churches do violence to the Kingdom of God when they do not used God-called and God-gifted evangelists.
The purpose of the evangelist is not just to preach the gospel so that sinners will be converted. The evangelist will challenge the church to be holy (Eph. 1:4), to conform to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24), to become His witnesses (Acts 1:8), and to do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
However, the evangelist is particularly gifted to draw the net so sinners can experience Godís redemption so they will not have to burn in hell, but so that they might reign with Him in heaven forever (Rev. 22:5).
I think it is unfortunate many churches do not use evangelists; and many that do use them do not take proper care of them. Some churches have staff evangelists and help provide for some of their needs, but many evangelists do not have churches that provide for their hospital insurance, annuity, and expenses
to convention meetings, etc. It is also heartbreaking to see many evangelists struggle financially because they do not have enough revivals during the year.
Most evangelists will come on a ďLove OfferingĒ basis, but that offering should be thoughtfully, prayerfully, and enthusiastically promoted. In addition, the church should provide lodging and support for travel and meals.
I have found through all of these years that few colleges and seminaries have anything in their curriculum pertaining to preparing evangelists. There may be even less invitations from our pulpits urging young men to respond to the call of God to serve as evangelists.
However, evangelists preach the necessity of biblical repentance, what it involves, and the fruit it will produce. The message of repentance is not preached much today, but to the evangelist this message is critical to the whole message of salvation. Furthermore, salvation is not something a lost sinner can achieve by simply making some decision. It is not by the will of man (John 1:13). It is the gift of God (Rom. 6:23; Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18).
One has to always take Scripture in context to get the full truth of any doctrine or he will get a half gospel, which is no gospel. All lost sinners can do, by Godís grace, to be born again, is to yield to Godís drawing (Rom. 3:11; John 6:44; John 1:13; John 3:27).
God, by His grace, does the rest. God gives grace to yield to His drawing. He gives the grace to exercise the gift of biblical repentance and saving faith in the shed blood, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Luke 13:3,5; 2 Peter 3:9; Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:14, 17). This is when the Holy Spirit enters the spiritually dead human spirit of the unredeemed, regenerates the lost sinner, and brings about the new birth from above (John 3:3, 5).
Evangelists want to see new Christians grow by Godís grace in the power of the Holy Spirit until they become victorious, conquering, overcoming Christians.
My prayer is that God will bring about a better understanding of the New Testament office of the evangelist. Hopefully, it will create a better relationship between pastors, evangelists, and church members so that all the gifts to His church can be used for the advancement of His kingdom, the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation of souls.
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