“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
Now that your church has decided to have a revival or evangelistic event, one of the most important decisions will now be, who will lead it? I want to strongly encourage you to use an evangelist. Before I get into why you should consider using an evangelist, let me first address two of the most prominent reasons why pastors and churches don’t use evangelists. The first reason I hear all too often is that there are too many bad evangelists out there with bad theology and will do almost anything to get someone to walk an isle or raise their hand for the sake of numbers. Yes, there are bad evangelists out there, but there are bad pastors as well. Does this mean we should stop using pastors? Of course not. It means that we do as the church of Ephesus did and test those who call themselves apostles, or in this case evangelists, and prove that they are not.
In reality, more than any other office in the church, evangelists depend on recommendations from other pastors and churches. If an evangelist is bad, word will quickly spread about him, and he will be weeded out. For this reason, the number of bad evangelists will be far less than you would think. Yes, there are still some bad evangelists out there, but it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to figure out who they are.
The second and most prominent excuse I hear is that a pastor may not personally know any evangelists and therefore not feel comfortable using one. Trust me, after 18 years of pastoral ministry, I understand this concern. The pastor is responsible for the churches spiritual well being and should not allow just anyone to come and preach at their church. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where it is very easy to know who the evangelist is, what they believe, and what they preach. Fortunately, almost every evangelist has websites and social media today. Many of them post their sermons, books, and blogs, along with an abundance of references. Again, a bad evangelist will be quickly weeded out, especially in today’s mass information age. In today’s world of technology, it doesn’t take much effort or digging, to get to know an evangelist. Therefore, the excuse that the pastor doesn’t know the evangelist is a poor one. The pastor should, to the best of his ability, guard his pulpit with the utmost integrity. For this reason, an evangelist should be thoroughly vetted. Fortunately, today’s technology makes this a much easier task in getting the know the evangelist.
Why then should you bother in getting to know an evangelist so you can use one? No church would ever consider not having a pastor, would they? If they are without a pastor, they will quickly begin looking for one. Just as God has called the pastor, He has called the evangelist for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-12). Though the pastor is more prominent in scripture and more prominent in the work of the church, they are both called of God and should, therefore, be used of the church.
The evangelist has a unique gifting and calling to preach the gospel and has a unique anointing that God uses to bring many to Christ. One of the most prominent pastors of our day, Dr. Johnny Hunt, stated, “What an absolute privilege it is, as a Pastor of a local Southern Baptist Church, to realize the importance of using our Southern Baptist Evangelists. The Bible makes it extremely clear in Ephesians 4 that God has given gifts to the church, and one of those gifts being the gift of the evangelist. During my sabbatical several years ago, while being away for seven Sundays, four of those Sundays were filled with Southern Baptist Evangelists. As a result, 52 baptisms were recorded in my absence.”
One might say that evangelists are specialists in the gospel. If your transmission starts acting up in your car, you wouldn’t take it to the tire shop. If the pipes in your house start leaking, you wouldn’t call an electrician. If you’re having heart trouble, you wouldn’t schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you want to see people saved in your revival or evangelistic event, why then would you invite anyone other than an evangelist?
There is no doubt that the calling and ministry of a pastor is extraordinarily important in the life of the church. I believe it’s of the utmost importance. However, though the pastor is commanded to do the work of an evangelist, he is not an evangelist. The pastor wears many hats and preaches on many subjects. The evangelist, however, has a singular laser focus. His focus is the gospel and seeing people saved through proclaiming it. Just as a good mechanic can look over a car and quickly pinpoint the problem, an evangelist can preach in a way that pinpoints the problem of the lost that will bring them to salvation. That is their unique gifting and calling from God. Dr. Johnny Hunt also said, “I thank God for the way that He is using evangelists to make a difference, as it pertains to the harvest that needs to take place in our local churches. Use your SBC Evangelists! Your people will thank you, and the sinners will bless you throughout eternity.”
So, why should your church use an evangelist? Why wouldn’t they? Evangelists are uniquely called and gifted by God for the purpose of seeing the lost saved. I can give you many more reasons as to why your church should us an evangelist, but in reality, what greater reason is there than to see souls saved?