The God-Called Evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12)

By | Mar 14, 2017

For some time I have desired to write an article to share my burden for the church. I write this article after much prayer and following over four decades in full-time evangelism. It is with love for our great Zion (the Church of the Nazarene) that I pen these words. It has been my honor not only to serve my church as an evangelist but to work with some of the greatest pastors on earth. It is with a tender spirit that I send forth this word of caution to the ministry of Christ’s church.

When God built His church He established several offices for the purpose of spreading the Good-news to all men. Paul lists the various offices ordained by God to carry out His ministry to the world. There were apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelist. He needed them all for the purpose of “perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ.” It is not ours to alter, re-write or delete these God-called, God-ordained ministries.

The apostles were given oversight of the church and were responsible for putting much of the Good-news in writing. The prophets expounded or interpreted the Good-news as it was necessary. The pastors and teachers taught the people the principles of the Good-news. The evangelist was called to take the Good-news to the lost souls of the world. They were called the ‘evangel-ist’ for a reason. An ‘evangel’ is one who goes forth to announce the Good-news.

The greatest event that ever occurred in this world was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The day He was born the angel of the Lord announced His birth to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy…” The Wycliffe Version renders this verse: “I Evangelize  to you a great joy.” The Lord’s angel was acting as an ‘evangelist!’ God’s order of evangelist is unique to every other God-ordained office.

The evangelist has always been the head of the spear. They serve on the front line of the battle (spiritually speaking) and are very subject to the wrath of Satan, the enemy of our souls. Satan has always opposed this office of the church more than any other. Evangelists of the past have suffered ridicule, mockery, violence and even martyrdom.

Today the ministry of the evangelist has been subject to derision, censure and criticism and has been stigmatized like no other. We recognize that some of that criticism has been justified by those who have acted unwisely and have brought shame upon their ministry and it then becomes a reflection upon all evangelists. However, it is imprudent and an insult to Christ, who is the Head of the church, to paint with such a broad brush and accuse all because of a few. The same could be done to the other offices of His church.

There are times when the pastor, teacher or leader of the church gets disturbed by the evangelist whose job it is to preach a crisis-truth. His ministry is often times to preach the Gospel pointedly and forcefully in order to bring souls to a decision. He must always preach the truth in love and never demean or embarrass anyone. The evangelist will often times be able to bring a soul to a decision that has been delayed for months or years. His response to the evangelist is not alone the work of the evangelist but the result of many months of the pastor’s faithful ministry. The evangelist is not in competition with the pastor or any other office of His church but rather we are laborers together in the winning of souls. “One plants, one waters; but God gives the increase.” To God be the glory!

The ministry of the evangelist is essential to the ongoing work of the church. A poll was taken which revealed that a great percentage of people made their initial surrender to Christ in a revival meeting or campmeeting. This is not because of any lack by pastors or teachers but rather because the express purpose of such meetings is to bring people to a point of decision. When the church ceases having revivals and using the God-called evangelist the Kingdom suffers greatly. God knew what was necessary for the ongoing operation of His church and has given us the various offices to carry out His work in this world. When we try to re-write the order of Christ’s church and delete the office of the evangelist the church becomes anemic and ineffective. The tendency is to become ingrown and possessive and consider the church to be ours rather than His. When this occurs the ministry becomes sterile and barren and the call to the crisis of the New Birth or Holiness becomes blurred by the murky haze of gradualism.

Since Pentecost, the church has never needed the God-called evangel-ist more then they do today. The call and challenge to the evangelist was the last commission given by Jesus before He ascended back to the Father.  “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Let each of us, be it a pastor, prophet, teacher or evangelist be faithful to His high calling on our lives. Let us realize that God is not redundant in these offices but has strategic need for all (including the evangelist) if we are ever to accomplish His commission on earth.

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