The word evangelist comes from a Greek word (euangelizō) that literally means “to bring good news or glad tidings.” Jesus Himself came proclaiming the good news that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:14-15).
Now let’s apply what we have been saying about metron (the measure that Christ gives). Some might be gifted to function as evangelists with huge crowds filling stadiums.
I think of Reinhard Bonnke, who has preached to millions in Africa during his gospel crusades. I think of street evangelists who often declare the gospel boldly to passers-by. I also think of a retired lady in my church who is happy to share the good news of what Jesus has done for her with her friends at her local gym, with her neighbors or even at her 50-year high school reunion.
Each one is functioning as an evangelist proclaiming good news, but each operates with a different metron.
Evangelists have a passion to engage with people who don’t know God. They want as many people as possible to hear their message because they believe whole-heartedly that it is a message worth hearing. They are, as Michael Brodeur calls them, the “recruiters” for the Kingdom.
The Body needs evangelists to invite and challenge unbelievers to respond to God’s personal call. We also need to see that evangelists are not simply “Type A” personalities (though I have met many who are).
An evangelist burns with a passion to see Romans 10:13-15 in action:
For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”
Paul knew how to contextualize his gospel presentations. One day whilst in Athens, he was invited to come and share his “strange, new” message to a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in the Areopagus.
Rather than share the message in the same way that he had done with the Jews (which Paul was careful to do in every town he visited), he starts by observing the philosophers’ practice of having altars to unknown gods, and he makes a connection between what they are searching for and what he has to say about the God of creation. He even quotes Greek poetry to them as a means of connecting them to his Good News message.
The fruit of this was that while some mocked him, a few listened, believed and joined him. (You can read this story in Acts 17:15-34.)
Evangelists long for people to hear the gospel message in a way that they can relate to and therefore respond to.
Question: Did you hear and receive the gospel from someone you would consider to be an evangelist? How did they communicate it to you?