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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 14
More on Evangelist

By Teresa Seputis

In our last lesson, we started to look at some of the things that evangelists have to be very careful about. The list included

The last lesson already covered walking blameless and promoting only Jesus. The main point was that the evangelist must walk in a holy and godly manor and avoid all inappropriate behavior that might reflect poorly on the message of the gospel. And the evangelist must assure that their primary and only message is the good news of how many can come into personal relationship with Jesus. They must not promote their personal issues and pet causes (anti-abortion, gun control, etc) because they must have a single and clear message about Jesus, they must point only to Him.

Now, let's continue on with the other three areas where the evangelist must be careful.

Foster Faith and Belief

John 14:12-14 is the passage where Jesus told us that if we have faith, we can do the same things He did. This promise is for all believers, but it is particularly important for evangelists, because evangelists need to have God's power to back up the Good News. The early believers experienced this.

In Acts 2:43, we see that "many wonders and signs were done." In Acts 6:8, we find that "Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." This is in direct relationship to verse 7, which says, "Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith." There was a direct tie between evangelism and the manifest power of God, and there was also a direct tie between faith and the manifest power of God. Thus, it follows that evangelists need to be people of faith, and they need to foster faith in their own life so they can move in His power and authority.

History is full of men and women of faith who proclaimed the good news of the gospel and moved in healings, deliverances and evidences of the power of God. Stephen the first martyr did this, as did Paul and the original 11 apostles. Recent history has people such as John Alexander Dowie, Maria Woodworth-Etter, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kuhlman, William Branham, A.A. Allen and John Wimber. And we have seen many modern-day evangelists who proclaim the gospel and God backs their message up with manifestations of His power with physical healings, deliverances, and signs and wonders. There are many such men and women alive today, people of faith who have the office of evangelist. I can't possibly list them all, but let me name a few: Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn, Charles N'Diffon, Randy Clark and Mahesh Chavda.

Second, those in the office of evangelist need to foster faith in others and equip/release them into moving with God in His power. John Wimber was an evangelist in his own right, having lead many to the Lord. But his bigger "claim to fame" was that he trained and equipped thousands of everyday believers to do it too. In fact, an entire association of churches was birthed from John Wimber's efforts to train/equip/release the saints into power evangelism and physical healing. It is known as the Association of Vineyard Churches. Another example is Randy Clark. He preaches the good news and sees many thousands of people saved and healed each year all over the world. Randy's message to the church is, "God can use 'little ole me' and He can use you too!" Randy frequently takes teams of believers with him on foreign evangelistic outreaches to serve as his prayer team. He takes pastors and leaders and everyday believers. He has a mandatory training program they have to go through to travel with him and so far, each person Randy has taken with him has seen God do miraculous healings by the second day they were praying on his teams. Randy is not just proclaiming the gospel, he is training and equipping other believers to do it. And He is fostering their faith and releasing people to move in the demonstration of God's power that backs up the proclamation of the gospel. That is what an evangelist is supposed to do.

Raise Up Witnesses

Some Christians have a tendency to look for excuses not to become witnesses. They will say things like, "I am not an evangelist. Let the folks with the gift of evangelism go do the work of witnessing and proclaiming the gospel." In other words, if you are an evangelist, others will use you as an excuse not to witness. But Eph. 4:12 says that the reason Jesus gave evangelists to the Body of Christ was "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up." In other words, part of an evangelist's calling and mandate is to train and equip believers how to be effective witnesses and how to share their faith.

Make Disciples, Not Converts

We live in a very numbers-and-statistics orientated culture. Often people measure the effectiveness/success of an evangelist by how many people he leads to the Lord each year. And those with perceived success are the ones who are rewarded financially. In other words, churches and individual believers invest their offerings in the ministries they believe are most successful.

This can put real pressure on people to "go for the numbers." In other words, there can be pressure to get decision cards and then not invest any more of the ministry resources on new converts. But studies find that new believers need follow-through, they need to be discipled and trained, to be connected with good churches.

Many people who make a decision for Christ struggle with basics like, "How do I know I'm really saved?" "Do I have to stop doing the things I enjoy now that I am saved?" "How can I know what God's will for me is?" Many of new converts do not know that God will help them with their problems, that He will set them free from enemy oppression and depressions, addictions, etc. Many do not know that God wants to speak to them clearly and directly. They don't know how to begin the process of learning to recognize God's voice. They haven't read the Bible yet, so they don't even know what the Bible says or where to begin. Most new converts will start at the beginning of Genesis and then read Exodus and if they are really persistent, they may start on Leviticus. Most don't make it very far because they are starting in the wrong place and it is confusing and frustrating. They need someone to help them past the initial basics and "getting started" or they will become like the seeds that were sown on the rocky soil where they don't take root and become scorched and withered.

According to my Fuller seminary evangelism class, about 75 percent of those who pray to receive Christ and don't receive follow-up to help them get rooted and begin to grow end up falling away from the faith.

It's not enough to make "converts" or to get the people to "pray the prayer" and then leave them to their own devices. Jesus never commanded us to make converts; He commanded us to "make disciples." He phrased it this way in Matt. 28:19-20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The commission involves teaching them to obey Christ or helping them to grow and become rooted in Him. And that is an evangelist's goal - to make disciples who can in turn learn to share their faith and make new disciples, who will also eventually grow and mature and learn to share their faith and make new disciples, and so on.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

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