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Evangelists – to equip the saints for the work of ministry

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in discipleship, edification, spiritual gifts | 14 comments

Evangelists – to equip the saints for the work of ministry

As I mentioned in my post “To equip the saints for the work of ministry,” for the next several posts I’m going to consider the work of the gifted individuals listed by Paul in Ephesians 4:11 in equipping Jesus’ followers for doing the hard work of serving others. Remember, in Ephesians 4:12, Paul wrote that this is one of the reasons that Jesus gave these spiritual gifted people. I’ve already written about some ways that some of those spiritually gifted people can equip the saints for the work of ministry: apostles and prophets.

So, in this post, I’m going to consider the third gifted group in the list: How do evangelists equip believers for the work of serving others?

As I said when discussing apostles and prophets, those who are spiritually gifted as evangelists can equip and edify the church in many, many different ways (as can all followers of Jesus Christ). But, the question is, since Paul is talking about spiritual gifts in that passage in Ephesians, what is it about the spiritual gift of evangelism that helps evangelists equip their brothers and sisters in Christ to do the hard work of serving others?

A few people are identified as evangelists in the New Testament, but (as with the other terms for spiritual gifts and spiritually gifted people), the term itself is not defined, nor do the authors of Scripture explain what they mean by an “evangelist.” However, this may be one of the easiest terms to understand.

The term “evangelist” refers to one who proclaim “good news,” and in the context of the New Testament, that “good news” refers to our new relationship with God in Jesus Christ (and everything that includes). Interestingly, as I’ve studied the proclamation of the gospel in the New Testament (either from Jesus, or Peter, or Paul, or others), the proclamation is usually very short (sometimes just a sentence), the proclamation often raises more questions that it answers (in other words, they don’t try to explain everything at once), and the proclamation are usually different from one another (perhaps based on audience).

So, since the evangelists are gifted to proclaim the good news to those who are not yet believers, how do they equip the saints (who are already believers)?

Certainly, evangelists are not the only followers of Jesus who are to proclaim the good news. Thus, those spiritually gifted in evangelism can prepare the saints by helping them learn how to proclaim the gospel as well. They can help people learn how to present the gospel simply as well as help them answer questions. Also, and this may be the most important, evangelists can help people understand when to speak and when to listen.

Are you gifted in evangelism? How do you prepare your brothers and sisters in Christ to serve others? Have you ever been equipped by an evangelist?


Series: To Equip the Saints for the Work of Ministry

  1. Introduction
  2. Apostles
  3. Prophets
  4. Evangelists
  5. Shepherds and Teachers
  6. Others (Conclusion)


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-10-2013

    Alan, why be running around the mulberry bush?
    By heralding the Good News of Christ, the one evangelizing [common use: the evangelist] equips saints in a primary way by aiding to their hearing the call of God upon their lives.
    John Bunyan, with His Pilgrim’s Progress allegory, has helped to illustrate the edifying opportunity of “Evangelist”. Drawing from examples in the New Testament writings, we can understand in the Spirit how the servant heralding the good news of Christ need not also become a teacher.

  2. 1-10-2013

    I am always reminded of 2 Tim. 4:5 in this matter, where Paul encourages his younger co-worker, “Do the work of an evangelist”. This really shows that Timothy might have not been an evangelist himself, but he was being perfected and he was learning to do the work of an evangelist.

    Initially, the evangelists preach the gospel by speaking the truths in God’s word to the unbelievers, and the accompanying Holy Spirit convicts them concerning sin to repent. But this is not all: the evangelists continue to preach the gospel to the believers until they are fully reconciled to God! The gospel is not merely “the good news” or something initial – it is the entire contents of God’s economy in the New Testament. We all need to be under the hearing of the faith all the time, having the gospel preached to us and speaking God’s word to one another, so that we may be saved not only initially but “much more” (Rom. 5:10)!

    I have met some saints who are evangelists, who have a heart for man and are always ready to speak something of the riches of Christ for an unbeliever to understand and receive. It is good to learn from these ones, and it is good to deal with our whole being so that we would not just “learn to speak the gospel” but we would have a proper being, one with the Lord, to have the impact in the gospel! We need to spend much time on our knees before the Lord in repentance and confessing, and we need to call on the name of the Lord that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)! Then, when we speak, we will have an impact!

  3. 1-10-2013


    Don’t forget `equipping` is done as part of leading by example and setting the tone.
    and of course it is the Apostles, prophets etc as a team rather than as individual ministries that do the equipping.

  4. 1-10-2013


    I’m not sure what you mean by “beating around the mulberry bush.” It’s always important for the evangelists (and others) to proclaim the good news. It’s also important for evangelists to equip others to proclaim the gospel as well.


    Yes, I think 2 Timothy 4:5 is a great example! Thanks for sharing it. I also what you shared about how evangelists can help us not only to proclaim the gospel but also to live the gospel.


    Yes! Equipping by example is extremely important.


  5. 1-11-2013

    I’ve been around that gifting a lot in the last few years – not much in the context of equipping the saints though. It seems to be the only gift that imparts URGENCY in the sense that – this needs to happen RIGHT NOW.

    I went out on the streets of an inner city neighborhood with this awesome evangelist. She was this tiny little woman who had no fear of anything except that someone would die without knowing Jesus. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, but she was always intently focused on what was ahead.

    On one occasion – we walked into a shop where the owner was having serious chest pains and had just called an ambulance. She led that guy to Christ while we were waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

    Another time I saw her step in between a prostitute and a potential customer. The prostitute was trying to close the deal with this guy and my friend was going to have none of that. The prostitute did not come to Christ – but she at least let us pray with her. The guy got out of there pretty fast.

    Finally – we came across this gang banger. That kid had on a pair of gym shorts I think was pulled 6 inches below his naval – and he had on a pair of tennis shoes – and that was it besides the aluminum baseball bat he was carrying. That kid dropped that bat on the ground and took her hands and asked Jesus to come in and change his life.

    In an acceptable time, I heard you, and in the day of salvation, I helped you. Look, NOW is the acceptable time; look, NOW is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 6:2)

    It’s not just the gift – it’s the HEART. The body needs to get a hold of the HEART of the evangelist as much as the gift. I’m sure this is true of all of the giftings. People are precious and worth a whole lot and there’s no time to gamble on when your last breath might be. My friend lives much of her life like there is no tomorrow.

  6. 1-11-2013

    Alan, proclaiming the evangel IS equipping of the saints; IS a work of service; IS the very building-up of the Body of Christ. Reckless it would be to continue invention of another sub-function for the Evangelist (as the Protestant-Institutional church has often made us subject).

  7. 1-11-2013


    How did observing her work prepare you for works of service?


    Again, I agree. The primary work of the apostle is to be sent, the prophet is to prophesy, the evangelist is to proclaim the gospel, etc. I agree that these are works of service. However, Paul was writing about how these people prepare OTHERS to serve. So, how does the evangelist prepare others to serve?


  8. 1-11-2013

    Alan, bringing the evangel does help prepare people to serve, and we ought not assume that it must be an arranged or weekly experience for all assembled.
    To example, an evangelist came to me and presented the good news [circa 1972], and a few days later he again presented the news more fully. In this way he was preparing & equipping me and (consequently) building up the Body of Christ. Later, another evangelist communicated with me the good news of Christ even more fully, thereby further equipping & preparing me at that time. These men also did the same for many others.
    We should understand each Ephesians 4 grace as complete in its function, not requiring man-made extensions to application.

  9. 1-11-2013


    At the time the fist evangelist proclaimed the gospel to you, you were not one of “the saints” that Paul was talking about in Ephesians 4:12. How did the other evangelists prepare you (and others) for works of service (after you were one of the saints)? (This is the question that I’m asking in these posts.)

    By the way, these posts are not about arranged or weekly experiences. In fact, I think we should constantly be seeking ways and opportunities to equip and edify one another.


  10. 1-11-2013

    Alan, you have written: “I think we should constantly be seeking ways and opportunities to equip and edify one another.”


    now if only, may God enable us to escape linear thinking together.

    “At the time the fist evangelist proclaimed the gospel to you, you were not one of “the saints” that Paul was talking about in Ephesians 4:12″

    Not true. In this same letter (Ephesians), Paul is explaining from chapter 1 [alt ref: Romans 9] also “we have obtained an inheritance/been made heirs, having been predestined according to His purpose”. My new birth conceived by God is part with preparing me to serve, part in the building up of the Body of Christ.
    Consider for when a couple gives birth to a child, and are they not together built up by way a new life coming into the world? And, is the birthing not part in equipping & preparing this child for works of service?

  11. 1-11-2013


    I think you’ll find both ideas in Scripture, and even in Ephesians. For example, consider this passage:

    “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together…” (Ephesians 2:1,4-5 ESV)

    While I haven’t done a formal study, it seems the term “saints” is reserved for that part of our life after we have moved from being dead in trespasses and sins and to being made alive in Christ… our salvation in terms of the present. (But, like I said, salvation is also often presented as being completed in eternity past and being completed in the future.)


  12. 1-12-2013


    All ‘service’ should start in the heart. You can go thru the motions, but if your heart’s not in it then it’s just ‘dead works’ – and people become ‘your project’ rather than beloved.

    “Preparing someone for works of service” or “equipping someone to do the work of the ministry” starts by implanting a simple desire in someone. That desire in evangelism is to see Jesus ‘birthed’ in someone’s heart. As the desire is nurtured and fed, it grows up into full blown service.

    When we have a disaster at work – I’m the first one to call the project leader and say – hey what can I do? It’s not because I’m anxious to stay until midnight – it’s because I know you gain entrance into someone’s heart by helping them, by taking some of the pressure off, by sharing in the tough situation. Yeah – I don’t have a life – and I make myself a slave to work ….. but I get the security clearance into those hearts.

    I love getting in someone’s heart – it’s like having grand kids. You pray for them, you pull for them, you cry for them, you ache for them. What could be better than that? Jesus gets manifested in that situation so wonderfully and beautifully. You get new friends – and they end up believing.

    The heart of the evangelist is “Give me children or I die!”. Would that we all had the heart of an evangelist.

  13. 1-12-2013

    P.S. In answering your question: I’m not like my friend the evangelist – in fact I’ve never met anyone like her – I’ll never in my life be able to function like that in evangelism… but she prepared me by putting that desire in my heart.

  14. 1-12-2013


    I agree that preparation begins with the heart, but I also think preparation/equipping continues into the real of actually doing the work of service.

    I also agree that you will not be like your evangelist friend, but I love how her equipping of you has influenced you in the realm of evangelism, even though they may not be your spiritual gifting. I think that’s exactly what Paul had in mind when he said they were given “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.”