Summary: Looking at the difference between the office of Evangelist and the work of Evangelism that we all can take part in.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
First, let’s just define the term Evangelism. Now we should always look to Scripture to get the proper definition but I thought just for fun I would look up the term in the dictionary just to see how they define it. EVENGELISM- the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ
That’s not such a bad definition but let’s try to dig a little deeper – Although the word “evangelism” is not found in the Bible the office or title “evangelist” is at least on 2 occasions. The English term “Evangel” comes from the Latin term euangelion which means Gospel. So evangel means Gospel therefore Evangelism is the sharing or the preaching of the gospel.
Someone might say but isn’t it a Pastor that preaches the gospel and isn’t it the average Christian who is supposed to be out there sharing their faith? What makes an Evangelist different from your average preacher is that they actively go out and preach to new people, many of which have never heard the gospel before.
A Pastor typically preaches to the same people week after week, he has a flock that he shepherds and that is the Pastors primary responsibility. An Evangelist goes place to place preaching to different people. A good example of this is Billy Graham, Billy Graham doesn’t have a church and he is not a Pastor. During his ministry, he was always going city to city, county to county trying to reach new people for Christ.
If you think about it an Evangelist is more like a Missionary than a pastor, in fact some would argue that since the term Missionary is not found in the Bible either, essentially what we call a Missionary the Bible calls an Evangelist. Some might disagree and I don’t want to get hung up on terminology but I think it is worth pointing that out.
But let’s not focus so much on the office or the Spiritual Giftedness of an Evangelist let focus more on the broad term Evangelism. In the broad sense of the word we can all be involved in Evangelism. We often hear and use the term Evangelical, you may tell people that you are an evangelical Christian, or that Moores Corner Church is an Evangelical Church. I think that is accurate because we not only believe the gospel it is the focal point of the ministry here. we want the gospel shared! We want to see people converted to Christ – in other words we want to see them saved!
Not all churches have a gospel centered ministry. Millions of people sit under a ministry centered around a social gospel – helping the poor, feeding the homeless etc. Many are drawn to the prosperity gospel where the preacher (or the “life coach”) talks more about getting a promotion at work then he does about getting promoted to heaven! The there are the churches that are center their ministry around civil rights and ethnic identity and on and on and on!
Nothing wrong with helping the poor, nothing wrong with civil rights and most of us wouldn’t mind a promotion at work but that is not the primary message of Christianity! The primary message of the faith is salvation by grace through faith in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! PERIOD! That’s the message we want to share and when we share that message that is called evangelism. What do we need to be successful at Evangelism? In order to be driven and successful I believe we need the following things -
First let me say a few things about Compassion. I believe most of us (hopefully all of us) have compassion for others and to be fair non-evangelicals have compassion for others as well. In fact, there may be no shortage of unsaved people who have compassion for their fellow man (I don’t doubt that) but do they have compassion for their souls?
We have compassion for their souls because we know that the unsaved, because of their lost condition will not enter into the Kingdom of God. That’s what the Bible teaches, that’s what the Holy Spirit has testified in our hearts but you and I know that many, if not most reject that idea. Of course unbelievers reject that idea but sad to say that many professing Christians reject that idea as well. I think back to a conversation I heard about between an evangelical pastor and a liberal UCC pastor. The Liberal UCC pastor said to the evangelical pastor “I think I know there difference between me and you, you believe the Bible is the Word of God. I don’t! That unfortunately is very, very common.