Paul wrote to a younger man when he penned letters to Timothy. In the second epistle, the apostle exhorts the young pastor to fulfill his ministry (4:5). Included was the imperative, “Do the work of an evangelist.” Pastors today need to do that work, which includes several functions.
1. Be an example. Simply put, share the gospel with lost people. Model the work of evangelism for your people. You need not be boastful when you share of your gospel encounters with the lost. Tell your success stories as well as failures. Nothing I do encourages my people in evangelism more than sharing examples of what has worked and what has fallen short.
2. Be an expositor. Solid Bible preaching and clear gospel presentations are vital to evangelism. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The Bible’s message never returns empty.
3. Be an equipper. Different strategies work for different people. Select one and use it. Many are currently using 3 Circles and it is a great resource. Over the years I have found that changing plans from time to time adds freshness to the training. At Olive, we have used CWT, EE, FAITH and Romans Road. We have written tracts and currently keep True Life cards in the pockets of our members.
4. Be an encourager. Thanking people for being on the front line in evangelism is refreshing to your people. Writing a personal note of appreciation to evangelists is powerful.
Another way of encouraging evangelism is through the invitation time of service. I still invite people to come forward at the conclusion of the sermon. We have members trained and ready to talk with those who want to know more. We call our laymen who work in that ministry “encouragers.”
5. Be an engineer. A pastor must be the creative champion of evangelism. At Olive, we use special events, which have a strong and clear gospel presentation for evangelism. Recently we had a dodgeball tournament, and we hosted more lost people than anything we have done in recent memory. Seven people were saved, and we continue to follow up on scores of others.
Get creative, and keep the gospel central. Every church in today’s culture needs some kind of benevolent expression in the community. It may be food, gas cards or some other expression. This “unto the least of these” ministry will open doors for the gospel.
A key word in Paul’s exhortation is do. Evangelism must be done. If we are going to fulfill our ministry, we must do this work. Persist!
Ted Traylor, a NAMB National Evangelism Mobilizer, is the senior pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He has pastored the church since 1990 and has seen over 5,800 baptisms.
Published May 30, 2018