How do you define evangelism?

By Ted Traylor

There are various ways to define evangelism. Here are three that I have found most helpful.

1. Evangelism is overflowing.
When one is so full of joy about Jesus, the Good News cannot help but exude into life. Psalm 16:11 speaks to this. It is like a bucket filled with water and running over. It is spontaneous and natural rather than forced. We read in I Thessalonians 1:5 that, “our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” The word is plerophoria in the Greek New Testament. It speaks of full assurance, firm persuasion and confident overflow. This is the branch life of John 15. If we abide in the vine, God will produce fruit on the branch.

2. Evangelism is filling.
The powerful 19th century preacher C.H. Spurgeon said evangelism “is one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.” There are several takeaways from this definition. The evangelist is no better than the one he is seeking to win to Jesus. It speaks of the needs of the lost man and the generosity of the evangelist. These words remind us the ground is level at the cross. All men are soul hungry for the bread of life, and when we are fed, we are in the business of telling others how to be filled.

3. Evangelism is all encompassing.
English Archbishop William Temple gives a clear, pointed definition in that, “Evangelism is to so present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the church.” Here are a few points to ponder from Temple:

Jesus is our message.

The work of evangelism depends on the Holy Spirit for its effectiveness.

Evangelism is not a work of isolation.

New believers need to be incorporated into a local church.

Conversion is bowing to Jesus as King and Lord.

We are not making decisions but disciples.

As one good friend of mine is fond of saying, “It is only Good News if it arrives in time!” In all of our activity in ministry and doing the work of Jesus, as Christians we must never forget the message.

Published May 30, 2018

Ted Traylor

Since 1990 Dr. Ted Traylor is the pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. His weekly radio and television ministry, At the Heart of Things, reaches thousands of homes along the Gulf Coast and through weekly podcasts and streaming. Dr. Traylor’s bold and practical preaching brings people to a fresh understanding of God’s Word and challenges them to become bondservants for Christ. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Samford University in 1997 and a Master of Divinity (1981) and Doctor of Ministry (1986) degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as First Vice-President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 and President of the Florida Baptist Convention in 1995, Dr. Traylor was President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2004 Pastors’ Conference, 2010 Pensacola Bay Baptist Association moderator, and was part of the 2010 Great Commission Resurgence Task force team. Currently Dr. Traylor is proud to serve on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes board for the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!).