Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Evangelist - (Part 5 of 7)

The third role in the 5-Fold church model is the Evangelist. In the modern Protestant church an evangelist is often an individual in a para-church organization that does not have a Bible degree, where as a pastor does. The difference between a pastor and an evangelist is a degree?! That just seems silly to me.

The person with the role of evangelist is to bring others to Christ! He is also an equipper, so he needs to equip others to bring folks to Christ. Evangelists care about souls, and not too much else, I have found. They ask, "Are you right with God?" "Do you know where you'll go when you die? " And they are quick to turn any Bible passage into the Gospel message. They are most often preachers and not teachers. Sure, we are all to preach the Gospel to the lost, but teaching is for believers so they may "put on the mind of Christ." Preaching is to the heart, as Peter's first sermon cut to the "heart," and 3000 were added to their number. Teaching targets the mind and it is different from preaching. One works on our spirit, and the other renews our thoughts. As we are body, mind and spirit, each one requires a different type of nourishment. Amen? These definitions of delivering the Word of God are certainly in the Bible, but often overlooked. I mean, why would we continue to preach the Gospel to a group of saved sinners? Wouldn't it be better to teach them to be disciples and get them past the elementary teacings?

On April 24th, 1999, I met a Brazilian fellow, in the hallway at the Salvation Army, after attending an evening service with a couple of friends and my family. I felt impressed by the Lord to pray for him as I was making my way to the parking lot. So, I asked Carlos for permission to do so. As I was praying, I felt the Lord say to me, "he's an evangelist." I said that as I was praying over him. He said, "Oh no brother, I am not an evangelist, I am a pastor."

The prophetic gift in me pressed on. "How many people got saved the last time you preached?"

"57... that was on a street corner in Belo Horizonte." he said in a very humble voice.

"57! Are you kidding me? I exclaimed. "I don't know a church within 400 miles of here where more then a dozen got saved in the last year!!!!! You, you're an evangelist, says the Lord"

"Brother I am a pastor." He replied, "I have been to Bible school."

"I don't care where you've been, my friend, you are an evangelist. The kind that preaches the gospel with power!"

We later talked about Phillip in Acts 8, and some other instances where the gift of evengelism was in use.

In the ten years that we've been friends, he brought 44 people to Jesus on a tour bus of 60, as it negotiated the mountinas in central Brazil. On the streets of Brazil and the restaurants of Cape Cod, I have watched him lead many to the Lord. In one church meeting with about 100 people, there 14 more. These were people that thought they were already saved, but when the anointing of the evangelist came, they were convicted and repented. I have rarely seen such a gift in operation. From Jerusalem to Bogota, New York to Boston, he has brought the message of salvation in four languages to those the God had prepared their hearts.

I one attended a church where the pastor was an evangelist. People got saved just about every week. One week we were praying over the chairs in the cafeteria of the school where we met. I stopped at one specific row, and proclaimed, "this is the row of salvation." He sort of rebuked me and said, "all these rows are rows of salvation." As he finished his fifth or sixth closing, that particular row had a couple that were living together, sitting on the right of the main aisle, and a lone woman on the left. As he gave the call for those that wanted to give their heart to Jesus, three hands went up. The couple went on to get married and became the youth pastors of the church.

The problem with that type of church, is the pastor is so focused on souls, that their ministry has little depth in terms of pastoring, or teaching. When believers become hungry for more of the Lord, they either get pressed into the model of soul-gatherers and become like the pastor, or burnout on getting saved each Sunday, and move on to greener pastures.

The evangelist primarily belongs outside the walls of the church except when they are teaching to equip the church. There are many expressions of the Gospel. From friendship and servant evangelism, to tent meetings, altar calls and street evangelism, all should end with an opportunity to receive Christ, and the evangelist is the perfectly equipped for the job.

The Blood of Jesus and the ministry of reconciliation are the tools of the trade for the New Testament evangelist. He or she may have other gifts, but their appetite for the lost is insatiable.

Evangelists seem to work well with prophets and apostles. Many, but not all of the ones that I know, are strong personalities. I find they generally accuse the pastoral types of being too "soft" from the pulpit, and having too much grace for sin. That is the best reason, to get them out there were they have the greatest opportunity for reaching those who don't know Jesus.

The evangelist coupled with prophetic revelation of who is ready to join the kingdom, are the most effective workers that I have seen. Given the opportunity from leadership, they go to work diligently bringing in the harvest.


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