Paul says that God gave to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. As we read the New Testament, we find two men associated with the word evangelist. The first is Philip. He seems to have the role of one who moved around proclaiming the gospel. The other is Timothy. While we find him as the pastor at Ephesus, Paul exhorts him to do the work of an evangelist and fulfill his ministry. He does not move around as much as Philip and is more associated with a local congregation.
How do we create a culture in the local church where the work of the evangelist is accomplished? Here are some actions and convictions required to create that climate.
1. There must be a clear understanding of the Good News.
The pastor fulfilling the ministry of evangelism is not shy when it comes to the gospel. He knows what it is and proclaims it.
2. A clear vision arises from a heart with great passion.
As Vance Havner would say, “We need hearts on fire!” Teaching people to pray by name for the lost stokes that fire. I teach my people to keep a list of lost people in the front of their Bible. A man I prayed for several years was saved a few years ago. This week, he thanked me for keeping his name in my Bible.
3. Great optimism must fill the soul of a leader creating a climate of evangelism.
If the pastor does not expect fruit, the members rarely will. The optimism is born out of a conviction that God can save any person, anytime, anywhere.
4. Joyful celebratory churches have a climate of evangelism.
Our Father rejoices when one person repents. An evangelistic pastor must allow the joy to spill over to his congregation. This comes with testimonies, baptisms and giving of thanks for God’s work of redemption.
5. Training is a part of the climate.
Use a tool to teach the art of gospel presentation. Take time to train people. It will build expectation and a climate of evangelism.
There is a lot of talk about climate change in our culture. Some tell us the earth is getting hotter, and we must work to cool it off. I am telling you we need climate change in the church. We are getting cooler, and we must make it hotter!