Why I am an Evangelist
It is not my desire to answer for every evangelist in the world, but I want to be clear to any reader as to why I personally believe God has called me to the ministry of The Evangelist.
I have very good friends and mentors (surprisingly enough) who disagree with my premise here, and we are still ministry partners with great fellowship. This is not a litmus test for fellowship, however I do believe both sides of the argument can be more gracious to the other.
I believe we all can agree here…
Evangelist by definition is a “proclaimer of the Gospel.”
Evangelist is a legitimate gift to the local church in Eph. 4.
The Gospel is the Death, Burial, & Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (I Cor. 15:3,4)
The Gospel is the Power of God unto Salvation. (Rom. 1:16)
The Gospel must be stood upon strongly. ( I Cor. 15:1)
We must be reminded often of the Gospel. (I Cor. 15:2)
Evangelist = Traveling Preacher
Pastor = Stationary Preacher
Missionary= Supported Preacher
Result of Labels
In our Westernized mindset we like labels and we like things to fit into nice boxes with titles. Questions to consider…What do we call a Pastor Emeritus who travels and preaches a marriage conference? What do we call that pastor who preaches a friend’s Teen Camp? What do we call the Field Rep of a mission board who preaches a revival? Generally ‘the title’ given depends on their mode of transportation and what they are preaching on. We have to acknowledge that this is a pretty shallow standard. Semantics is not the point of this argument. I’m just asking why, if a person is obviously being used of God to help the body of Christ…must we become overwhelmingly defensive if we do not fully grasp which “box” he fits into?
Why the Evangelist title is avoided by many
The reality is that many evangelist have “burned’ pastors and churches. Instead of helping the church of God, they have actually hurt the mission of the pastor. This truly breaks my heart. In all fairness though, there have been unfortunate examples of pastors who have hurt the church and not helped the cause of Christ because of foolish decisions as well. My only counsel is please don’t disparage any office because of the MAN or a MAN.
Evangelist do dumb things…Pastors do dumb things…the Apostles did dumb things…however the office was never in jeopardy, only the character of the individual. Many churches have been hurt by the office of the evangelist, therefore, it causes me to sometimes think of other angles of how to present myself, but I will no longer flee from an office that I believe is Biblical and helpful to the body of Christ. Although on behalf of evangelists, I do sincerely apologize to those churches that have been hurt by the ignorance of one claiming to be an evangelist in the past.
The StereoTypes of Evangelist
Hell-fire Brimstone…Blow in, Blow up, Blow out,…Rip your face off preaching…all of these titles have become synonymous with the evangelist. Personally I do not like to be described in this way. Although I do not apologize for strong preaching, because part of proclaiming the Gospel is the condemning and showing the ugliness of sin and what it causes, and I will cry out against it. HOWEVER, that is only one part of the Good News. There is still the Resurrection, a person does not have to stay in that condemned state…victory has been provided through Jesus Christ. The common stereotype can be debunked if the evangelist’s message coincides with a life given to the complete Gospel.
The Message of the Evangelist?
I believe my primary focus centers around the preaching of the Gospel, BUT please do not limit the Gospel’s Applications. The arguments are often made that Evangelist (especially itinerant evangelist) just parade around the country preaching and that has nothing to do with the primary call. I can disagree and agree with that statement depending on context.
There are some ‘evangelist’ who view this ministry as a popularity contest or a means to continue a livelihood that they feel compelled to follow because of a previous model thereby resulting in arrogance behind the pulpit, badgering pastors and ministry leaders to maintain a livelihood. Some have simply become demanding human beings under the guise of being in Ephesians 4 BEFORE the pastor. I would like to publicly say, that this behavior is wrong, and it grieves me at my core. However, there are many who still do travel across the country with a spirit of humility with a Gospel Centered Message which is defined below.
I am asked “Adrian, why preach revivals, teen camps, VBS, missions conferences, instead of ONLY evangelistic events ONLY Friend Days, Love Your Neighbor Days etc..?” First I would say, I truly would love to schedule more solely evangelistic events however I do not feel I am short changing the Gospel by not preaching every message SOLELY upon the topic of Salvation by grace.
Let us not limit the power of the Gospel by viewing it only unilaterally.
Is this simply Semantics?
You may say, “Adrian, this is simply a semantical word game!” I would emphatically say this is a MINDSET. This is why by nature I “avoid” certain topics. I beg God to make sure I am more “Gospel-y” then “Issue-y.” Do I preach upon issues? Yes, those that surround the Gospel.
For clarified understanding, I must give an example, therefore I will reiterate that this is MY conscious and MY reasoning of what I determine to preach on. I do not go to a church and preach on music philosophy, the intricacies of divorce and remarriage, or other matters that should be handled by the pastor. I have opinions on all, but that is NOT my message or job. The Pastor is the overseer of that flock and my job is already defined. Though it may be viewed on my part as cowardice, I find absolute liberty and security in faithfully executing what God has prescribed for me to do.
SO Why am I an Evangelist?
I believe I have a calling of God upon my life that He has uniquely gifted me for. Although the office is very unique and hard to ‘put in a box’ I do not see my calling as less legitimate. Few books and articles are written upon the topic. I believe there is need for many more people to be simply surrendered to a life given to the Gospel.
Evangelists, can I encourage us to stick to the Gospel. The Gospel is so vast and so deep that we can keep pretty busy simply unpacking its life changing truth.