Today’s guest post comes from Stuart Millar. Stuart is the founder and director of Train to Proclaim Inc. He trains Christians to be more effective in sharing the gospel and develops quality and innovative resources to equip contemporary Christians everywhere. With 23 years as a full time evangelist, he is passionate about Christians being the best we can be at communicating the best message of all time. I asked Stuart the question
Do you need the gift of evangelism to do the work of an evangelist?
Stuart: I have been offering $1000 in many churches over the last decade if anyone can find anywhere in the Bible where it says that evangelism is a gift. In the two big “gift chapters” that cover the manifestational and motivational gifts, 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, there is no mention of evangelism. Why? Because evangelism is not a gift, it is simply sharing the gospel, which is a command that Christ gave to all believers. A bit like His command to love one another. We don’t say “I don’t have to love people because I don’t have the ‘gift of love’.” There is no such thing, of course, loving one another is not an option, we have been commanded to do so and hopefully desire to do so! Likewise with evangelism, we are commanded to do so but hopefully also desire to do so out of our love and deep concern for others. This is not the great suggestion, but the great commission. It is a universal command of Christ not a gift just for some. This is both a great privilege and a great responsibility.
The role of the Evangelist is described in Ephesians 4:11-12 as someone who equips believers for work of ministry. Evangelists train and empower Christians to be effective at sharing the gospel, not to do all the evangelism themselves!
So can someone who is not an evangelist do the work of an evangelist? Sure! Paul wrote to Timothy (who was a pastor) to do the work of an evangelist. He was not asking him to evangelise, everyone in the early church was already evangelising. Rather he was asking Timothy to be involved in equipping the believers to evangelise.
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house,
they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news,
that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 5:42, NIV)
This was the norm for the early church, as followers of Christ, they just did what Jesus had asked them to do. If you were not sharing your faith regularly you would be the odd one out. Sadly today if you do, then you are the odd one out.
Even though He could, God doesn’t just do everything Himself, he involves us in His rescue plan for the world, and that is an exciting thing to be a part of! God is the only One who can save people, we can’t save anyone – all glory to God. Jesus is the Saviour of the world, not me. This relieves a huge weight off my shoulders, I don’t need to save the world. But I do have a part to play, to share the Gospel, and I need to take my responsibility seriously. God asks us to be involved in this process, we can be a part of making an eternal difference in someone’s life!
Let’s get involved.