One day I was sitting on my couch sipping a cup of coffee staring at a picture that my wife, Melanie, had hung on the wall. The picture was of Mark 17:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. I asked the Lord on the couch that day to help me to passionately chase after what that looks like. The thoughts contained in this article have helped me to take one more step in the direction of loving God more completely. Loving God is found in humbling ourselves to serve and in loving others before ourselves. As an evangelist, one of the ways I can love my pastors and church family is to encourage them to overcome fears and fight sin.
We must approach pastors and church members out of a heart of wanting to help them overcome their fears. We all have strengths and weaknesses. There are fears that are lurking around every corner of our hearts. However, the body of Christ working together in unity will combat the fears with the strength found in unity. E pluribus unum is a Latin term from which we derive the word university. It means out of one, many or, more loosely translated “one from many.“ We must recognize that we need each other more than we know. The church is the only institution on earth that is diverse and, at the same time, totally unified. When we approach our pastors we need to have a heart of humble submission. We should, however, firmly challenge them if they are not sharing their faith. When we approach another church member it needs to be in a humble corrective spirit.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
We are to challenge, correct, and care for each other. As an evangelist, I am to consistently be challenging myself and the body of Christ to share the Gospel. When I see that this is not taking place, out of care for people, I should correct them by exposing the obvious responsibility that they are not fulfilling – sharing the Gospel. You can’t force someone to share the Gospel. Nevertheless, you can faithfully be an example for them and consistently remind them of the opportunity and responsibility of every Christian.
Evangelists have done it wrong in the past. We tend to have a fight or flight mentality but we should being willing to dialogue for growth, unity, and peace in the body of Christ. The heart of God is His own glory. When all Christians take evangelism seriously and the evangelist doesn’t disown the church when it doesn’t embrace open air evangelism right away, humility is present and God is glorified. With this type of open transparency, the church can be challenged by the evangelist and the evangelist can be challenged by the church to acts of mercy.
People need to admit their lack of evangelistic zeal because of the fear of man and the idol of reputation. This is the first step to being honest and praying with great desperation for God to give them boldness. Listen to what Paul is asking the church in Ephesus to do.
“…and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,” Ephesians 6:19
This is Paul the great apostle asking the church to pray for his boldness. What!? Yes. Let me ask you a question: When is the last time you prayed for boldness to share the Gospel? When is the last time you pressed past the fear and opened your mouth for Jesus?
It is humbling for me to write this because God is exposing a pride of mental elitism that I carry in my own mind. What, exactly, do I mean by this? Honestly, I get exhausted inviting people over and over again only to have a few come out to share their faith in Jesus. I begin to contemplate going to my open air evangelism tribe and intentionally spending time with only the people that love to do what I want to do. However, this is not a healthy approach. What does this cause? A segregation that does not holistically benefit the kingdom of God or the body of Christ.
Instead of segregation, we should be striving for unity for the glory of God. I contend that instead of fleeing from the body, where our gift is most needed, and running to our evangelism clique where we know we will be accepted and understood, we should be doing the hard work of challenging the church to share.
By choosing not to share the Gospel, we show that we really don’t love our neighbor as Jesus is calling us to love them. Admitting we don’t have this kind of love, and pleading for God to give it to us with great importunacy is key. Pastor, you need to realize that you are marginalizing the evangelist because of your own insecurities about not sharing the Gospel enough. This is hard to hear but it is true. This is not merely an assumption that I’m making. I have talked with pastors and had some of them open up and be transparent with me.
Pastor, I encourage you not to push away the evangelist in your church. Instead, use him for the growth and the evangelistic health of your church. When you see him, be reminded of the work that you should also be doing. Although it is not your only work, it is one of your many roles: you should be doing the work of an evangelist. Listen to Paul’s challenge to Timothy.
“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
Both the pastor and the evangelist need humility in order to see unity within the body of Christ. Pastor, the evangelist needs your support more than you will ever know. If you show your support by joining him on a preaching outing, and by sharing the Gospel one on one as he preaches, it would embolden him with the zeal of a hundred men. Evangelist, if you submit to the leadership of the church and remain heavenly persistent by continuing to invite them out to share their faith you will be fulfilling your role completely.
In Ephesians 4:11-16 we see that one of the roles of the evangelist is to equip them for the work of service and to strive for unity in the faith about Jesus. How can you do that if you are not inside of your local church?
Pastor, quit marginalizing the evangelist because he highlights your own insecurities that come from not taking the work of the evangelist seriously. Evangelist, quit running to your evangelist friends to complain about how the church are limp-wristed cowards. Do something about it. It’s time for unity. It’s time to truly love each other enough to speak truth. Start today, pastor. It’s time for unity. Start today, evangelist. Both need to humble themselves to see that they need each other in order to advance the kingdom of God and to make the bride of Christ radiant in love.