The Ministry Gifts of Christ (Part 5 of 8)

The Evangelist

We come now to the third of the Five-fold Ministry Gifts listed in “Ephesians 4:11”, the gift of “Evangelist”. It would be good to just remind ourselves that these Five-fold Ministry Gifts were given by the Lord to endure during the entire Church Age – from the Day of Pentecost until He returns to earth again. The Gifts are for “Today’s Church Age” and will remain so until He returns. After the Lord’s ascension, one of the Fivefold Ministry Gifts He gave was that of “evangelist” – one with a special burden for the lost and enjoys special gifting as a soul-winner. Fundamentally, the Evangelist is not only “gifted and inwardly compelled” to win the lost, but also will have and inherent desire to serve in, envisioning, encouraging and enabling others to be successful in winning the lost to Christ. The word translated “evangelists” in the New Testament come from the Greek word, “euangelistes” and has the meaning of, “a bringer of glad tidings”. The Greek word is used only twice, in “Acts 21:8”“On the following day we left and proceeded to Caesarea and there we went to stay at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven deacons” “J.B. Phillips” and “2Timothy 4:5” – “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry”. The word has the reference of “one who declares the good news of Jesus Christ” “Romans 10:15”“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” The profile of this Ministry Gift is that the individual: –

  • Extends the Kingdom God
  • They have a strong passion to seek and save people from hell
  • The desire constantly burns within them propelling them to bring the freedom of the Gospel wherever they go and present the Gospel of Christ to the lost
  • They equip the Body of Christ with an Evangelistic spirit of outreach and encourage an outreach mentality (a heart for the lost)
  • They teach Christians how to win others to Christ.

In addition to this they are also co-workers with the other four Ministry Gifts and together with the Apostle and the Prophet they are there in order that the Body of Christ – the Church – can be build up and grow. The Evangelists are those with a special gift for communicating the Gospel in relevant, compelling terms to others, and have a special, and unique, manner of leading souls to Christ. It is very true to say that in a sense every Christian is to be an Evangelist in that they have received a commission from Christ to “make disciples and to preach the Gospel” and to speak of their faith. Evangelists however are those with a specialised gift who have a wonderful attraction for and ability to speak to others. God has endowed them with a special knack that almost compels people to listen to the good news of Jesus Christ. There are, of course, those whom God has used down through Church history who are endowed and anointed to preach with power to those who do not know Jesus Christ. This special anointing on their lives enables them to draw a net around sinners with keen effectiveness. Billy Graham was just such a man that was outstanding in this field. The idea of someone announcing the joyful message of salvation implies that his own opinion of the message is that it is so fabulous that he cannot keep quiet about it, much like whoever first discovers the cure for cancer no doubt will be. He will be driven to boldly share the cure with everyone who has cancer, and will likely not be easily discouraged by an initial rebuff. Of course, only a small percentage of the population has cancer, so he may eventually run out of “customers.” However, unlike cancer there will always be a market for our message. Jesus was the Master Evangelist, in the same way as He was the, Apostle, Prophet Pastor, and Teacher, that is, he vividly exemplified each of these functions, and that is why he is now most capable of “diversifying himself” by mentoring believers like you and I in carrying out our ministries. It might be today that unbeknown to you at present you are in fact God’s Gift to His Church as an Evangelist or you may even recognise that this is what you are. Either way is equally important that we acquaint ourselves with what an Evangelist is and thus we ask the question “What is an Evangelist?” So then “What is an Evangelist?” Answering the question is good for two reasons:-

  1. If you are not called to be one, you want to recognise those who are and benefit from their ministries
  2. If you are called to be one, you will want to recognise as many aspects of the role as you can in order to be as effective as possible.

The relevant Greek words are evangelizo”, used 55 times, evangelion“, used 77 times, and evangelistes”, used 3 times. In Greek, eu means “good” and angelos (nearly always translated “angel”) means “messenger,” “one who is sent in order to announce, teach, or perform anything” (E.W. Bullinger Lexicon). The idea conveyed by the evangelizo word group is that of proclaiming a good message, or good news. In the KJV, the verb evangelizo is translated “preach,” “preach the gospel,” “bring good tidings,” “show the glad tidings,” “addressed with the gospel,” and “declared.” Bullinger’s Lexicon says it is “to bring someone into relation with the divine glad message of salvation.” The noun evangelion is always translated “gospel,” and the noun evangelistes is transliterated into “evangelist.” Interestingly, a corresponding Old Testament Hebrew word was often used of a messenger coming from a place of battle and proclaiming victory over the enemy. In Greek literature, evangelizo was also used of liberation from enemies, as well as deliverance from demonic power. One more Greek word pertinent to this topic and worth studying, because it is connected with evangelion in Scripture, is kerusso, which is used 61 times and translated in the KJV as “preach” or “preaching” (54), “published” (5), and “proclaimed” (2). Kerusso means “to announce publicly” (which could be one-to-one), and it is more than a lecture, it’s an event. The word has more to do with heralding, or making known, a message than with the subject matter, and to kerusso is to tell people what is available, and expect action by the hearers. Kittels’ Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. 2) says this to us: – “Unique to the NT usage of evangelizo is Jesus, “who is himself the content of his message…If we were to sum up the content of the Gospel in a single word, it would be Jesus the Christ”.

Ministry of Evangelists

  • Imparts passion to individuals, Churches and ministries to share the gospel
  • Supernaturally draws non -believers into a relationship with Jesus Christ bringing them into His church
  • Imparts power to bring conviction and break the bondages of sin, often followed by signs and wonders
  • Cleary teaches on the Biblical truths of salvation, Baptism and the Holy Spirit to the body of Christ
  • Is accountable to Jesus Christ and other Five-Fold Ministers in their sphere of influence

Personally as I think about this Ministry Gift and the Gospel which is at its heart I am excited and motivated. Evangelizo is“not just speaking and preaching”; it is a proclamation with full authority and power. Signs and wonders accompany the evangelical message. They belong together, for the Word God is powerful and effective. The Gospel that is carried like DNA in the Evangelists heart (and should be also in every born again believers heart) is the very power of God “Romans: 1: 16”. The proclamation of the Gospel is God’s method of creating a healthy state in every respect. Bodily disorders are healed and man’s relation to God is set right. The Gospel does not merely bear witness to an historical event, for what it recounts, namely, resurrection and exaltation, is beyond the scope of historical judgment and transcends history. Nor does it consist only of narratives and sayings concerning Jesus that every Christian should know, and it certainly does not consist in a dogmatic formula alien to the world. On the contrary, it is related to human reality and proves itself to be a living, vibrant and unstoppable power. Wonderfully“Romans 1:16” declares For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it, both Jew and Greek. I see in it God’s plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith” “J. B. Phillips”. The Gospel does not merely bear witness to salvation history; “it is itself salvation history”. It breaks into the life of man, refashions it, and creates communities. Since the Gospel is God’s address to men, it demands decision and imposes obedience. The Gospel is not an empty word; it is the effective power, provided to all the Church and especially the Evangelist to bring to pass what it says because God is its author. Faith arises through and because of the Gospel and is again directed to it. The message itself demands and creates faith. It contains and imparts peace. It effects regeneration and gives new life. It is an eschatological (that which regards the end times and life after death) event, bringing the fulfilment of hope.

The Evangelists Heart And Passion

An Evangelist is moved with compassion at the pitiful plight of mankind, and has confidence that the Gospel message will bring deliverance and wholeness to anyone who believes it. He also realises that he will not know who that is until he speaks the truth in love to them. We find out who is hungry by setting good food in front of them. And, understanding that we are not the Cook, but the Waiter, we do not take it personally and give up if people do not eat what we set before them. As is the case with all the Ministry Gifts the very key to that ministry being successful in the sense of fruitfulness is that they are energized by a personal relationship with The Master Evangelist. I do not believe that Jesus ever lost sight of “Where He came from” and in like manner if we are to truly appreciate (as the Children of God and especially as Evangelists) must never lose sight of this also. There are so many in the Church today who have no heart for the lost and lack enthusiasm when it comes to evangelism, and the main reason is that “they have forgotten” where they have come from (and I might add we as ministers of the Gospel are failing to remind them). It was Jesus who desired that “all men be saved and come unto knowledge of the truth – 1: Timothy 2: 4” even though His heart was conveyed by Timothy. We should therefore move in step with “His Heartbeat” in doing so we will share His heart for the lost. It is significant that the prophecy from “Isaiah 61” that Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth near the beginning of his ministry speaks first of his evangelism:- In “Luke 4:18 and 19” it says: – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel (evangelizoto the poor (literally: “those crouching and cringing in fear”); he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord”. The key is to passion is to know him who is the message, Jesus Christ, and this is both “biblically and experientially” so that we are absolutely convinced that He is the only answer for what ails mankind. In that vein, look at these verses: – “2 Corinthians 4:13 – 14” It is written: “I believed; therefore have I spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence”. “Romans 1:15” is a classic declaration by the Apostle Paul (who as an Apostle encompassed many of the Evangelist capabilities) that exemplifies the heart of an Evangelist: – “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also”. What is significant here is that in those days, Rome was about the most challenging place you could find to preach the Gospel. So why was Paul so committed to preach the Gospel there? Because of what he says in the next verse: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”.  An evangelist believes that with all his heart. And the Evangelist is moved to action as was Paul as revealed in the three questions in “Romans 10:14”“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” An evangelist longs for others to believe the Good News about Jesus Christ, and realises the he / she is one who is called to “go, stand, and tell the people the full message of this new life”.

The Evangelists Character

People do change and “grow into” ministries. When it comes to an individual functioning as an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher, it seems that, along with one’s desire to serve the Lord in a particular way, they often have a temperament and personality that is akin to the Gifting. One called to be a Pastor is often by nature a very easy-going, patient, understanding person, whereas a Prophet may be a headstrong, confident, thick-skinned individual. So what might be some of the traits of one whose calling is that of an Evangelist?

  • He may well be: –
  • Someone who finds it easy to talk with people. You might say that he thinks of himself as “everybody’s pal.
  • He may have “the gift of gab.”
  • He may be a “natural born salesman. Someone who finds it rewarding to persuade others to come over to his way of thinking.
  • He might be one who has little fear of people, and a genuine concern for their welfare.
  • He may be a natural motivator, given to inspiring pep talks.

An evangelist pushes themselves not only to learn the basic message of salvation, but also how to present it more and more effectually. They realise that every time they preaches it is another opportunity to improve their communication of the greatest story ever told. Learning to use both logic and emotion, there is a honing of ability to vividly set forth the facts of redemption and bring people to a point of decision.

The Evangelist Portrayed

Philip is the only person in the New Testament who specifically is defined as an Evangelist “Acts 21:8”And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him”. “Acts 8:26-39” tells us quite a bit about how he carried out his ministry, so let us dissect that record somewhat, with the Scripture references in parentheses for the sake of brevity.

  • The first thing we note is that an evangelist is flexible, and “rolls with the punches” (vv. 2-5), realising that if one door closes, God will open another and usually someone will believe (v. 12)
  • First and foremost, he preaches Christ (v. 5)
  • An Evangelist heals people, does miracles, and casts out demons(vv. 6, 7)
  • He brings great joy wherever his message is believed (v. 8)
  • An Evangelist is ready to act on the Word of God, be it the written Word or revelation (v.26, 27)
  • He is in the right place at the right time (v. 27, 28)
  • He recognises the voice of God (v. 29), and eagerly and fearlessly “runs” to obey it (v. 30)
  • He employs questions to open people’s hearts (v. 30), and is ready to open his mouth and answer their questions with the Word of God(v. 34, 35)
  • He brings people to a point of decision, and “closes” them (v. 37)
  • He does not “rest on his laurels,” but takes advantage of spiritual momentum and keeps on preaching wherever he goes (v. 40)
  • An Evangelist saves money on plane fares (v. 39, 40)

As we look further lets delve into “Galatians 1:6-12”, you will find four uses of evangelizo and three uses of evangelion, and it is very interesting. It’s sort of like, “I’ve got good news and bad news” The true Gospel, which Paul received by revelation from Jesus Christ, who is the Good News, is that of salvation by grace through faith. But there is also a false “Gospel” that which teaches salvation by works. That is the Bad News. A true Evangelist preaches the grace of God, and never compromises to please men. By way of a few more uses of evangelizo, let us note other things we can learn about evangelism.

  • An Evangelist knows that people in seemingly hopeless situations can be set free “Matthew 11:5”, and that they can live without fear“Luke 2:10”
  • An Evangelist may develop a systematic plan to share the Word in his area “Luke 8:1”, knowing that nothing will stop those who hunger for truth from receiving it “Luke 16:16”
  • An Evangelist does not let persecution deter him from preaching the Gospel “Acts 5:40-42”
  • An Evangelists message brings peace to those who believe it “Acts 10:36”
  • An Evangelist has the resurrection of Jesus Christ  central to the Good News “Acts 13:32”
  • An Evangelist turns people from idolatry “Acts 14:15”
  • An Evangelists Gospel message separates those who hear it into three basic categories “Acts 17:18-32”
  • An Evangelist is warmly welcomed by those who receive his message “Romans 10:14”
  • An Evangelist is not happy if he is not preaching the Good News “1 Corinthians 9:16”
  • An Evangelist will have central to his message the grace of God, which he boldly proclaims in order to empower believers to stand against the enemy “Ephesians 3:7-10”

“1 Thessalonians 3:6” is the only usage of evangelizo that does not refer to the Word, and it shows that precious saints standing strong by their faith in the Word is also good news! In the Ministry Gift of the Prophet we noticed that there was the term “School of the Prophets” a place where the mature Prophets mentored the “newbies”. I see no reason why this should not also be the case in respect of Evangelists where a “Mature” Evangelist takes 1 or more under their wing to train and develop.

The Evangelist Method (Tips)

We are always learning, the only time we stop in the natural sense is when we die, and then perhaps we discover the greatest learning curve of all, but there are aspects of the Evangelists ministry that may assist us.

  1. Obey quickly the prompting of God “Acts 8:26-29”

When an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip about going to a certain place, Philip got up and went.

When prompted by the Holy Spirit, a follower of Christ needs to respond immediately, in faith, trusting that God wants to accomplish something with him.

  1. Expect that God has prepared the individual to receive the Word you speak “Acts 8:28”

When God speaks to us, we should not doubt, but expect that there is benefit and blessing in doing what He is leading us to do. The eunuch was returning from worshiping in Jerusalem and was pondering the meaning of “Isaiah 53:7”. His heart was open to receive, but he was perplexed and needed help understanding the meaning of this passage. God honoured his heart’s desire by calling on Philip, who responded in faith. Like Philip, we Christians today are the only “hands and feet” God has.

  1. Start the conversation with a question “Acts 8:30”

When Philip met the eunuch, he asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading. How the eunuch responded indicated what Philip would do next. Witnessing to someone is fruitful only if they are willing to talk with you. By asking a question, you can find this out. If they respond positively, you can proceed. If negatively, you should respect their wishes and move on “Luke 9:5”.

  1. Engage them at their level of understanding “Acts 8:32-35”

If you receive a positive response, find a common ground where you can begin your discussion. Unless you get on the same page, it will be difficult to advance the discussion to new material.

  1. Use Scripture “Acts 8:35” 

Referring to people receiving the Word, “1 Thessalonians 2:13b” states: “…you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” When God’s words are spoken, they “…will accomplish what I (God) desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” “Isaiah 55:11”. You don’t always have to reference chapter and verse, but using Scripture in your discussion is a powerful spiritual tool.

  1. Direct your conversation toward Jesus as Saviour “Acts 8:35”

Eventually your conversation will uncover a problem or need in their life, and the chances are it is related to sin. The sin could be theirs, their family of origin, or the fallen nature of the world in general. When they understand the link between the problem and sin, they may well realise that they need a Saviour, and that Saviour is Jesus Christ, the only name under heaven whereby men can be saved.

  1. Bring them to the good news about Jesus “Acts 8:35”

You may share “Romans 10:9” about their personal salvation. During the discussion, you can mention that Jesus came to take away the sins of the world “John 1:29”. The other person may or may not accept that conclusion immediately, but you have offered a solution. If the person doesn’t receive your solution, pray for them and let time and God work within him.

The ideas above are basically the principles that we see at work in the ministry of Philip. By practicing Philip’s principles, the Evangelist (and follower of Christ) is quick to obey, expectant that God is at work in the other person, finds a common ground, precisely shares the Word of God, focuses on Jesus Christ as the only solution to sin, and offers him as their personal Saviour and Lord. You can do so knowing that the Lord is working with you to see people be saved and come unto knowledge of the truth.

A Word of Warning

When an Evangelist works alone, they tend to be left with a “large number of spiritual infants” and an “elitist group” who have not got the help they need to enable them in their growth in maturity in God. Therefore, Evangelists need to work out of or within a Local Church and with the other “Ephesians 4” ministries. Philip again is an example of this. We discover from “Acts 21: 8” that he lived in Caesarea, we are not told how long he was there but it was long enough to Mary and produce 4 unmarried Daughters who had matured enough to exercise the Gift of Prophecy (Verse 9). It would seem reasonable to assume from this that he was very connected to his Local Fellowship of Believers, however, that did not prevent him from having an itinerant ministry as we see from “Verse 40”. Again, I would stress that he would have been accountable to the Local Church and the other Ministry Gifts.