Evangelists – Called to Recruit People for the Kingdom.
“11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:11-16 NIV
The other night I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I was thrilled to see him and to catch up for a bit. We talked… and talked. Then I realized something. My wife was standing with me and I never thought of introducing her! She just stood there with an uncomfortable grin on her face feeling left out. She was standing there wondering when I would think it was appropriate to bring her into the conversation. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus feels left out when we run into and talk to people without Him into the conversation. That is not the problem for the evangelist. The call of the evangelist is to be the “bearer of Good News.” These are the people who gladly bring Jesus into the conversation.
When we have good news, isn’t it impossible to contain? Who DOESN’T hear it when your football team wins the Superbowl in the closing seconds of the game? Who DOESN’T hear it when you are getting married to the love of your life? Who DOESN”T hear it when you get the job promotion or pay raise that you’ve been waiting years to get? When we receive good news, it is infectious. It cannot be contained. The problem for many of us is that too often we don’t treat the Gospel as “good news.” We treat it as “offensive news.” We treat the Gospel as, “judgmental news.” Other times we treat the Gospel as “forbidden or embarrassing news.”
The evangelist knows that God’s redemption in Christ is not only good news, but GREAT NEWS! Because they know the joy and freedom in Christ they have found, their faith in Christ is contagious. Because of their infectious personality and love for God’s redemption, they are effective recruiters for the Gospel. The evangelist call people who are far from Christ to make a personal response to His redemptive plan, and they challenge other believers to engage the bigger mission of Christ – growing the church and reaching the lost.
While it was the Apostles and prophets who laid the foundation of the church, it is the evangelist who builds it by winning souls to Christ. I think it is important to recognize that there are the Big “E” Evangelists who have are very extroverted and have a natural tendency toward sharing their faith with others. For them evangelism is a gifting that comes naturally and effectively. For others, like myself, we have a Small “e” evangelist gifting. Not having the Big “E” gift does not excuse others like myself from engaging in evangelism as well.
The big “E” – Evangelist
Some are gifted as evangelists. They are comfortable inviting others into a relationship with Christ and engaging people for the Gospel. Big “E” Evangelists are great at winning people to Christ and recruiting others for the work of the ministry. This person communicates the message of the Gospel with both clarity and conviction. Because it is a part of their personality, they seek out opportunities to talk to unbelievers about spiritual matters and challenge them to faith and become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
Big “E” Evangelists however, can become so focused and passionate about reaching those outside the church that they neglect the maturing and strengthening of those inside the church. They also need to be reminded that the Holy Spirit, not guilt, is the motivator in a person’s decision to come to Christ.
The Little “e” – evangelist
While there are some who are gifted as with a big “E” as evangelists, this is NOT an excuse for others who have a little “e” as evangelists to neglect a burden for the lost and witnessing for Jesus. One of the reasons I hesitate when I get to this gift when I teach Spiritual Gifting Classes, is because it is important NOT to excuse the rest of us who do not have the big “E” Evangelist gifting. While the Evangelist is a gift from God to the church, evangelism is not just a gift that we have or don’t have – it is the RESPONSIBILITY of EVERY Christ follower to engage in.
We need to remember that in Matthew 28:20, Jesus did NOT say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit… if you have the gift of evangelism.” No! Evangelism is not just a gifting we operate in. It is a command that all believers are to engage in. It is a gift that every believer is to develop. Every believer is called to be a witness for Christ. Not having the Big “E” gift does not excuse us from being burdened for lost souls and witnessing to others.
Holy Spirit increase the burden in my heart to share the “Good News” of the Gospel with those who are far from you. I have a small “e” gift, but I pray that for Your power to grow into a Big “E” Evangelist. In the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.