The Greek word Euangelistes means to proclaim glad tidings, a messenger of good. It denotes a preacher or proclaimer of the Gospel.
The Evangelist can either be a preacher who stands before a crowd imploring people to be saved, or perhaps an individual sitting across from someone on a plane or in a living room, encouraging him or her to accept Christ.
The person with the gift of Evangelism usually is outgoing and personable. He or she has mastered a technique of paying compliments to every stranger and asking lifestyle questions such as: “Where do you work?” “How many children you do have?” “In what part of the country were you raised?” When not talking with people about their soul’s relationship with Jesus Christ, the Evangelist is often quiet.
If you are an Evangelist, you have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by communicating with people who are beyond your natural sphere of influence and leading them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The Evangelist is constantly consumed with the need to confront sinners with the Gospel or encourage other Christians to do the same, by directly telling them to do so or by encouraging them with a recent experience. The Evangelist memorizes Scripture in order not to be caught “flat-footed” while witnessing, and often quotes Scripture in an attempt to influence others through God’s Word.
Sometimes the Evangelist turns off other Christians and even lost people because of the “sales pitch” used. Some consider him or her kin to the used car salesperson or vacuum cleaner salesperson. However, much of that perception is because of how others view the Evangelist, rather than as a result of the Evangelist’s own motives or desires.
The definition of the Evangelist as found in the Greek is an indication of the ministry of any person who has the gift of Evangelism. The confrontational witness (some prefer the term “soul winner”) is not limited by lack of opportunities, but makes opportunities. Some people define the gift of Evangelist as a church-planting gift, but that limits the scope of the gift. That definition may have become popular because of the fact that most church planters have the gift of Evangelism and it fits the task of outreach and saturation evangelism needed to successfully begin a new work. Church growth in any type of church probably has at least one gifted Evangelist involved at the center of outreach, regardless of the church’s age or size.
Because of the importance of outreach in the church, God has given two ways to evangelize a lost world. First, He gives every Christian the role of witness. Second, He gives some Christians the gift of Evangelism (approximately 10%). It is important to understand the difference between the two.
SPIRITUAL MATURITY IN EVANGELISTS EQUALS CREDIBILITY IN THEIR WITNESS
Philip is the only person clearly identified as an Evangelist in Scripture (Acts 21:8). He was also one of the first deacons (Acts 6:3-5). As such, he met the qualifications of a deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-12, Titus 1:6-8). Note what kind of man God chose as His Evangelist. He was a man with no obvious problems in his life. In addition to winning souls, the Evangelist must live in such a manner that reproach is not brought upon the message.
Most Evangelists will probably influence 30 people to every one who is led to Christ, many times leaving the other 29 for someone else to reach.
But if an Evangelist falls spiritually, the 29 onlookers may fall too. Many aggressive soul winners have done more harm than good for the cause of Christ. For this reason, if for no other, it is important that Christians with the gift of Evangelism receive the proper training to help them become spiritually mature and more effective in evangelism.
Many new Christians are almost forced to win souls. Sometimes they are thrust into situations they are not yet equipped to handle. Before accepting full responsibility to be confrontational soul winners, Evangelists need to develop some maturity in the Christian walk. This would prevent young Christians with areas that need correction from hurting their witness before those who do not know their past and have not seen the changes in their lives.
The solution is to pair young Christians in ministry opportunities with seasoned, mature Christians who have the gift of Evangelism. The young Evangelist will learn much about presenting the Gospel by watching the seasoned Evangelist minister to the lost.
Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s books from which this article was excerpted: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders) and Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).
Articles in this series include…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
- 14 Characteristics of The Evangelist
- 12 Burdens, Desires and Strengths of The Evangelist
- 7 Special Needs and Weaknesses of The Evangelist
- 5 Ways in which The Evangelist is Misunderstood
- 5 Ways Satan Attacks the Gift of The Evangelist
- 7 Places where The Evangelism Gift can be Used
- The Witnessing Style of The Evangelist
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors and group leaders.