Pastor Rice Broocks on the Evangelist and the Missional Church
“The ministry gift of the Evangelist is given by the Holy Spirit to women and men to preach the gospel to unbelievers and to equip other believers to do the same, while leading the entire community of faith (to which they are connected) to expand their borders as well as plant new churches.”
Ephesians 4:11 says He gave “some as evangelists.” In my research, that number is around 1% of those in a congregation. Identifying, training, and empowering those with that gift is vital to see the church reach its missional potential.
The Evangelist is the catalyst that makes the missional church missional.
Their calling is to preach the gospel and equip the saints to do the same. When an evangelist is practically connected to a local church and in a working relationship with the pastor and ministry team, there is a dynamic power released into the life of that community. When this gift is missing, the fruit of evangelism and outreach diminishes.
Imagine traveling to a foreign country and visiting the churches and noticing there were no Pastors in any congregations. There would instantly be the awareness that those churches would be lacking in a vital grace that God intended to give them through that gift. In the North American context, this scenario is true where Evangelists are concerned. They are virtually missing from the day-to-day life of the church.
Restoring the gift of the Evangelist to the life of the local church should be a top priority for every leader that wants to have a missional congregation that impacts their community with the gospel.
Take the example of C. H. Spurgeon. When he dedicated the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1867, he said he desired to plant 100 churches in London before he died. He employed two strategies. First, he built a Pastors’ College. Second, he also started an Evangelist Association that had over 100 Evangelists. These Evangelists preached in over 600 places in the city on a regular basis. Whenever there was a breakthrough, he would send in a Pastor from the college to preserve the fruit. The result? When he died in 1892, they had planted over 200 churches in London!
The Role of the Evangelist
The mistaken notion is that the Evangelist is primarily a revivalist or someone who conducts evangelistic crusades. They stir the church temporarily, yet the fruit is said to not last. However, when an Evangelist is properly functioning in the life of a church they are helping to identify and train other evangelists that will be connected to that body of believers and providing daily encouragement and help in equipping God’s people. Gospel meetings are wonderful if they are able to be a part of the Evangelist’s role rather than the only thing they do.
An overview of the job description of an Evangelist:
A preacher of the Gospel – the greatest form of evangelism is simply preaching the Gospel.
Can be male or female – this gift is given to women as well as men. The first evangelists were women instructed to tell the good news to the Apostles that Christ had risen. The Samaritan woman in John 4 was the evangelist to an entire region.
Is a gatherer – that seeks the lost and gathers them to be a part of Christ’s church.
A builder – that lays the foundations of true discipleship. They should go beyond giving an invitation and having people pray a “sinner’s prayer” and make sure that Christ is fully preached and that the foundations of repentance and faith are laid.
An equipper – the Evangelist must mentor other Evangelists as well as train believers to make disciples.
A strategist – they can devise tools and strategies that attract the lost and enable believers to share the gospel more effectively.
A pioneer – they should lead the faithful beyond the church walls into the harvest field. They are able to see outreaches turn into new church plants.
Overall, the Evangelist is a vital part of any church team that desires to be missional.