Equipping Evangelists for the Church
I love being around evangelists! Over the years I have been privileged to see God at work when personally involved in the ministries of Luis Palau, Terry Winter, Michael Green, and recently as evangelist and trainer with the Billy Graham team. Seeing people come to Christ deeply moves me and brings me tears of joy. I recall a lady I led to Christ greeting me effervescently: “This has been the best week of my entire life!” How can you ever get tired of evangelism? I consider it a high honor to be invited by churches to preach and help them reach others for Christ!
While every follower of Jesus is called to be a witness and can lead people to personal faith in Christ, the Bible recognizes that some of us have the gift of an evangelist. There are few Bible references to “evangelists,” but Ephesian 4:11-12 tells us something noteworthy about their role in the local church. “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Imagine if every local congregation identified at least one evangelist in their midst and this person would not only be involved in leading people to Christ but, more importantly, also be encouraged and empowered by the church leadership to “prepare God’s people for works of service” in this area? What would that look like? What would happen to that church for evangelism?
One church in a major Canadian city caught on to this concept and identified an “equipping evangelist.” Now, his main goal is to regularly and continually train the congregation in effective and relevant personal evangelism. He assists and equips department leaders to focus their ministry on reaching people for Christ in their area (such as Sunday school, small groups, men’s ministry etc.). He is to be a catalyst for church-wide and community evangelistic opportunities and “beat the drum” for evangelism with the church leadership so it never “falls off their radar.” In the first three months of recognizing this “equipping evangelist” over 93 people came to Christ through the combined efforts of this congregation.
Yes, I love to preach the gospel and am grateful for the many invitations I receive to do so across North America. I am thrilled at the stream of people responding to Christ in nearly every meeting, but how much more effective could we be if we also invested in equipping evangelists? Maybe the time has come for congregations everywhere to consider identifying one or more of these equipping evangelists to help us all make a greater eternal impact for Christ in our communities through our local churches.