WHAT IS THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST?
June 1, 1991 Issue
by Joe Hibbs
There are several things that help others learn of God, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. An evangelist should be able to do these and many more.
1. They start new churches, but never so many that the churches are left alone after being established. Some apostles worked with new churches for three years or more. Today, an evangelist has a home congregation that they seldom leave unless it is to hold a "meeting."
2. An evangelist should be knowledgeable and have an understanding of the Gospel in order to give advice and help in building up their congregation. An evangelist builds up these congregations to where they are self-sufficient, keeping in mind that the goal is to be autonomous.
3. They must establish workers in the church by developing leaders and good home study programs which will help members to grew and work on their own.
4. They should periodically check on those they started or helped to start; ensuring they have remained faithful.
As I listened to an Evangelist expand on the Word of God it made me wonder as to what his work is: story telling or spreading the Gospel. So many Christians today cannot tell you even what they must be doing, let alone what an elder, deacon, or evangelist must do. I felt it my responsibility, as a Christian and leader of a congregation to examine this work. I do not aim this at any particular person only as a desire to improve our brotherhood.
As one reads II Cor. 4, Paul speaks of the ministry and spreading the Holy Word of God. My understanding from research is that an evangelist is to follow the standards set forth in God's Word, the rules set up for bishops, elders, or deacons; many of these qualifications are also for any Christian; so why should they not also fit the life of evangelists? Unfortunately the men who enter this work do not always accept these qualifications and many more.
There are some points to examine and questions to be answered. First, does the evangelist have an office? The evangelist's work is much like that an Apostle could do; except of course, giving out various powers. Therefore, he can be called an evangelist, but has no office any more than an Apostle had an office.
What does he have to do to qualify? In Matthew 28:18-20 Christ told the Apostles what was expected of them. An evangelist needs full knowledge and understanding of the Gospel to do his work. II Timothy 4:5, Paul told Timothy "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." For a man to prove that he is ready for evangelistic work he must have full knowledge of God's Word. Now read Acts 6:1-5 noticing that it was the brethren of the church who chose them to be deacons, not the person himself. This could be for an evangelist as well.
Rom 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek." The evangelist must be able to face anyone with the truth.
Too many times, I have seen good men, good evangelists, become as rulers over small churches. Let us consider what we have done or perhaps not done. I Tim 4:14, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Every congregation is autonomous and no one man can or should, rule. Each church is to be subject to God's Word.
We don't want to fall into the unscriptural pastor system of one-man rule. Consider Jeremiah 6:16, we must heed these words. Notice also Jeremiah 12:10-13 and Jeremiah 23:1-4. These Scriptures should be contemplated seriously.
Let us hold to the Old Path, evangelist. Consider these scriptures as you do the work of God. Being in a leadership role, I have had to deal with the same scriptures. It was asked of me if I considered myself the main stay of Okemah. I must say no one man can hold a church together. It takes abilities and courage of all members working together to make a church. It is not an easy task to be an evangelist or leader of a church. As leaders we have forgotten souls because we have become complacent; secure in the fact that we are in the Lord's Church. I remind you of the reason God sent his only begotten son: to save the world from their sins. We have forgotten this, making us as bad as the Jews in their self-righteousness.
It is easy to keep Titus 2:15 when you are standing before brothers and sisters of like faith. Why not spread the truth to the world? The apostles were commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 "to go, preach and baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Lately I have heard plenty on preach, plenty on baptize; but nothing on go to all the world. Go where--to establish a church? When was the last time you wanted to build up the church other than your own congregation? Notice II Timothy 2:2, how many have we taught in a private method to lead and build fellowship? We all will be judged for things done. In II Timothy 4:1-5 we are taught to preach the Word. How can an evangelist do this by just holding meetings that tickle the ears of other Christians? Too often you and leaders fall short of edification. It is no wonder so many have fallen away.
I Thess 2:4-12 tells Christians "We are allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." Let us not forget whom we serve. II Cor 4:5, 7-12 we are servants of God and Christ to bring the Gospel to the world, not the world into the Gospel. The apostles gave their lives that we might learn of the Gospel and share it with the world.
We all have failings in our lives - we are human. Paul told us and the Romans in Romans 7:13-25, "Therefore, put God and Christ first that you may serve God, Christ and the Holy Spirit." Come on leaders, evangelists, let us do the work we are meant to do!
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