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?