This is a blog from David Arrol Macfarlane who works with the Billy Graham society. And before you write it off as a Billy Graham style evangelism piece, I think you’ll be stretched to think about the role of evangelists in the church. Imagine differently.
I love being around evangelists!
Over the years I have been privileged to see God at work when personally involved in the ministries of Luis Palau, Terry Winter, Michael Green and now as I serve with the Billy Graham team. Seeing people come to Christ deeply moves me and brings me tears of joy. I recall a lady I led to Christ the week before, greeting me effervescently: “This has been the best week of my entire life!” How can you ever get tired of evangelism?
While every follower of Jesus is called to be a witness and can lead people to personal faith in Christ the bible recognizes that some of us have the gift of an evangelist. In Ephesians there is one of the few bible references to “evangelists” – but it tells us something noteworthy about their role in the local church.
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Ephesians 4:11-12”
Imagine if every local congregation identified at least one evangelist in their midst and that this person would not only be involved in leading people to Christ but would, more importantly, also be encouraged and empowered by the church leadership to “prepare God’s people for works of service” in this area? What would that look like? What would happen to that church for evangelism?
One church in a major Canadian city caught on to this concept and identified an “equipping evangelist”. His main goal is to regularly and continually train the congregation in effective and relevant personal evangelism; assist and equip department leaders to focus their ministry on reaching people for Christ in their area (such as Sunday School, Small groups, Men’s ministry etc.), be a catalyst for church wide and community evangelistic opportunities and “beat the drum” for evangelism with the church leadership so that it never “falls off their radar”. In the first three months of recognizing this “equipping evangelist” over 90 people came to Christ through the combined efforts of this congregation. Maybe the time has come for congregations everywhere to consider identifying one or more of these “different” equipping evangelists that can help us all make a greater eternal impact for Christ in our communities through our local churches.
David Arrol Macfarlane is Director of National Initiatives for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 519 503 8380.
How about you? How do you think an equipping evangelist could benefit your church? If you’re the evangelist, how does this way of thinking move you? Fear, faith, excitement?