A new commandment I give you: love one another.
As I have loved you, so must you love one another.
All men will know that you are my disciples
if you love one another (John 14:34,35).

I when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men to myself (John 12:32).

All elders are not pastors and teachers; some will be evangelists. An evangelist is a person who specialises in preaching the gospel. They go out from the Church into the world to preach the gospel and draw people in. At the same time, they will lead and train others in evangelism. Philip is one person in the New Testament who exercised this ministry. Luke describes him as "the evangelist" (Acts 21:8).

There are three criteria for selecting a person for this ministry. First, they must be a Christian who is demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in their life. They will also have a good understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. An evangelist must be able to answer the questions that are raised by enquirers. Finally, they must have demonstrated that they are able to proclaim the gospel successfully. The main sign that a person is being called to be an evangelist is that many people are being won for Christ by their testimony.

An evangelist will be an outgoing person who feels at home in the hurly-burly of the marketplace and the public square. They will take the gospel into any place where people are meeting; into the taverns and onto the streets. The true evangelist is always aggressive; not waiting for sinners to come to them, but going to any place where they gather. Their greatest joy is to see a large crowd listening to the gospel message.

A deep love for the lost will motivate all their actions. They will often weep for those who refuse to accept the gospel. Their love will be obvious to all who hear their words. Signs and wonders will often accompany their preaching, as a visible demonstration of God’s love for those who are in bondage to the devil.

Yet there will be a toughness about the character of an evangelist. They will not be intimidated by brawling crowds or anti-christian authorities. Their zeal for the gospel is such that they will not be deterred, even if the authorities forbid the proclamation of the gospel (Acts 5:27,28,40-42). They will often act in a prophetic way when confronting rulers who obstruct the gospel. A good example of this is Stephen, who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave a stern warning to the Jewish authorities who had arrested him for preaching (Acts 7).

An evangelist will not be frightened to confront sin, and will boldly warn of its consequences. In contrast, pastors who are gentler by nature, usually preach a softer gospel. This kind of gospel tends to produce soft Christians, who are not truly converted.

The church has not been very good at accommodating evangelists. Most have had to work outside the church in para-church organisations. Those who have found a place in the church have usually been forced to become pastors. In this role, they may win many converts, but they do not have the pastoral abilities needed to disciple them. Evangelists who pastor churches tend to use the methods of evangelism. They care for their people by preaching at them, because this is the gift they have. In depth-ministry is often done at the front of the church after an "altar call". This kind of ministry tends to produce thrill-seeking Christians, who are dependent on their pastors. The result is big churches with immature people.

Evangelists should be freed from their pastoral duties, and sent out into the world. This is where preaching with sign and wonders belongs. They should be freed to develop the full potential of their ministry. And every Church should have at least one evangelist who can go out into the world and preach the gospel, and teach others to do the same.

Not every Christian is called to be an evangelist, but all are commanded to be witnesses. Every believer must be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have. As a Christian goes about their daily life, they should bear witness to Jesus at every opportunity. Every believer must be a witness.

Keys

There are two keys to evangelism in the modern age.

  1. Healing of Sickness
  2. Community