Note: This is a continuation of two recent articles about evangelists, missionaries, and pastors and how they all “fit” together in the local church and in the cause of world evangelism. You can read the first two Here (and for the record, this one is satire!) and Here.
“Evangelists are supposed to be church planters,” a well known leader of an IFB church and Bible College stated to an evangelist friend of mine.
“Biblically, an evangelist isn’t a traveling preacher, but a missionary,” a teacher said to her students in a recent class.
“The evangelists were traveling missionaries. . . they were not evangelists as we think of them today,” explains J. Vernon McGee in his Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol V, p 254.
“I don’t have evangelists in my church,” said another IFB pastor, “because evangelists should be church planters or missionaries.”
“I just had a church drop my support because I am not being a missionary,” a missionary friend of mine said. He has lived on the mission field for most of his adult life and has camps and Bible Institutes and has planted churches and helped orphans and conducted medical clinics and has seen thousands saved and more than a few churches started.
Is it true that evangelists are supposed to be church planters or “stay-in-one-place” missionaries in the sense of the word today? Is there a way to know if this is right or not? The Bible provides ample illustrations and evidences of how the ministry of an evangelist should look. In this post, I am listing eleven Biblical illustrations in which the verb form of the word evangelist is used to describe their ministry (the italics below are mine and emphasize the verb). So, here they are:
- Jesus throughout his earthly ministry
- Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
- Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor . . .
- Luke 4:43 And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
- Luke 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him.
- The Twelve Disciples who were sent by Jesus
- Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
- Peter and the other Apostles in the early church who were continually winning souls
- Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
- Believers who were scattered abroad following the persecution in Jerusalem
- Acts 8:4 Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
- Philip who is specifically called an evangelist
- Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
- Acts 8:35 The Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
- Acts 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
- Peter and John who came to minister in the cities of Samaria with Philip
- Acts 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
- Men of Cyprus and Cyrene who ministered following the persecution that came after Stephen was stoned.
- Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
- Barnabas and Paul who were on their first evangelistic journey (“missionary” journey as most would say)
- Acts 13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise was made unto the fathers,
- Acts 14:6-7 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the religion that lieth round about: and there they preached the gospel.”
- Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch.
- Acts 15:35-36 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also, And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
- Acts 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
- Acts 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: Because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
- Paul who wrote about his plans for his trip to Rome
- Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
- Preachers who are called of God to win souls
- Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
- Paul who was describing his ministry in Corinth
- 1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
So there you have it. Apparently the work of the evangelist does involve traveling itinerantly, preaching the gospel to as many as possible, and helping multiple local churches to “observe all things whatsoever [Jesus] commanded” (Matthew 28:20).
May God help all of us to believe in and support the God-given ministry of the evangelist.
Thanks for reading,