Table of Contents
Evangelism forms part of discipleship. Too often people divorce evangelism from discipleship and that creates a unbiblical dichotomy.
- Evangelism: We “make” disciples (in the sense of “creating” a disciple) through evangelism.
- Edification: We “make” disciples (in the sense of “molding” a disciple into the image of Christ) through edification.
Therefore, we should never talk about “evangelism and discipleship” as if they were two separate things.
- We evangelize the lost to make (create) disciples.
- We edify the save to make (mold) disciples.
So… if you're looking for my teaching on evangelism, please visit the discipleship page!
Evangelists & Evangelism
My Point: The local church pastor is the person primarily responsible for evangelism in his church.
The Problem: Most churches don't evangelize because the majority of pastors refuse to do the work of an evangelist.
There are three mentions of “evangelist” in the Bible:
- Acts 21.8
- Ephesians 4.11
- 2Timothy 4.5
 The Evangelist Evangelizes
Acts 21.8: And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
Philip, one of the seven original deacons in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6.5), was an evangelist. Through the example of his life we can see and understand that an evangelist evangelizes:
- (Acts 8.5) He “preached Christ.”
- (Acts 8.12) He preached “the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
- (Acts 8.35) He “preached unto him Jesus.”
- (Acts 8.40) He “preached in all the cities.”
 The Evangelist Trains
Ephesians 4.11-12: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…
The evangelist is also one of the four leaders Christ gave as gifts to the Church for the perfecting of the saints, that the saints might do the work of the ministry that results in the edifying of the body of Christ.
So we can clearly see the will of God (the divine design) in the evangelist.
- The evangelist is principally a “trainer” of the saints that attend a particular local church. God expects the evangelist to perfect the saints in conjunction (in a team effort) with the apostle (we call them missionaries today), the prophet (we call them preachers), and the pastor-teacher (the senior pastor).
- The evangelist, therefore, will teach the saints the biblical principles of evangelism.
- The evangelist will, after that, show the saints a good example of of how to apply those biblical principles of evangelism (he'll take them out with him and show them how he evangelizes).
- The evangelist will then provide opportunities to the saints to go and evangelize so that they can apply the teaching he gave them and follow the example he showed them.
Remember that all the redeemed (all Christians) are called by God to evangelize. There is no “gift of evangelism” in the Bible. The gift is the evangelist and God gave the evangelist to us as a gift so that we could be trained up and made ready for the work of evangelism that God expects all of us to do.
2Corinthians 5.18-20: And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
If you are one of the reconciled, you have been entrusted with the word of reconciliation (the gospel) and God calls you an ambassador for Christ. God expects you to preach this word to those who need reconciliation with God. There is no “gift of evangelism.” God called you just like he called me and every other Christian to evangelize. It's not a question of “gifts” but rather of obedience.
 The Pastor & the Work of an Evangelist
2Timothy 4.5: But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
In the absence of an evangelist in the local church, God has commanded (it is an order from the Lord) the pastor of that church to do the work of an evangelist. That includes everything we have just seen that Bible says is the work of an evangelist:
- Like Philip the evangelist, the pastor is required to evangelize.
- Like God stated in Ephesians 4.11-12, the pastor is responsible to teach his congregation how to evangelize biblically. After that he is to provide them with a sound, biblical example of how to evangelize by showing them how to do it. After that he is to provide opportunities for his people to go out and evangelize with him so they can apply the teaching he gave them and follow the example he showed them.
The local church pastor is the person primarily responsible for evangelism in his church.
The Problem: The majority of pastors refuse to do the work of an evangelist. Because of this, most Christians and the Church in general do not evangelize.
Pissing Up a Rope
I've heard it said that open-air preaching is futile and useless. The actual phrase that was used by the brethren was that street preaching was just “pissing up a rope” (you can find a nice, lovely, thoughtful definition of that Christian phrase in the Urban Dictionary or in the Wiktionary).
Noah, “a preacher of righteousness” (2Pet 2.5), was given 120 years to preach to lost people, warn them of coming judgment and wrath, and call them to the gracious salvation provided by God.
But he won no convert.
Gee… What a tool (also defined in the Urban Dictionary). I guess he was just pissing up a rope.
For apostasy there is no remedy but judgment.
2Timothy 4.3-4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
With regard to open-air preaching, street ministry, and intentional evangelism… Since that is the clear, biblical model of the main thrust of the Great Commission…
I think that's a fine rope to piss up.
Motivation to pass out tracts: George Street (9 mins)
Buy good tracts:
- One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill
- Terrified by Todd Friel
One of the problems I have encountered where I live is the restrictive nature of local “soliciting” law. Many of the municipalities where I live define “soliciting” in such a way as to include door-to-door evangelism.
Lenexa, for example, states the following in their City Ordinance regarding Soliciting:
- Purpose: The City has a substantial interest in protecting citizens' right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of their private property. Courts have recognized the government has an interest in protecting individuals from unwanted intrusions into the privacy of their homes.
- Definition: Solicitation defined by the ordinance and it includes leaving a gospel tract or church invitation: “Hanging, leaving, or depositing any advertisement, flyer or handbill on or upon any door, porch, driveway, residence, or business, regardless of whether a doorbell is rung or any physical or verbal contact is made.”
- Prohibited: Solicit at a residence, dwelling, business, or individual dwelling unit in a multi-family residential complex, or other location at which a sign bearing the words “No Solicitors” (or similar)…
- Prohibited: Solicit or attempt to solicit at a multi-family residential complex when all street entrances or all primary entrances to the complex have been clearly posted with signs marked “No Solicitors.”
- Prohibited: You cannot place gospel tracts on vehicles in Lenexa, Kansas: “It shall be unlawful for any person to throw or deposit any handbill in or upon any vehicle, unless the vehicle is occupied and the occupant is willing to accept it.”
Overland Park and Olathe have similar City Ordinances. Leawood is even more restrictive (and it's not a bad thing!) in that they require all solicitors to get a permit.
Most people want their privacy at home. They want the quiet enjoyment of their private property (me, too). They don't want unwanted intrusions into the privacy of their homes (me, too).
In addition to that, we don't want to break the law (Rom 13.1-5, etc.).
So, how can we reach people in our community with the message of the biblical gospel in a way that abides by the law and doesn't intrude into people's quiet enjoyment of their private property? EDDM is an interesting option…
EDDM is a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that reaches every address in a chosen and defined geographic location.
- Create or Use an Existing USPS.com Account
- Select Neighborhoods & Audience
- Design & Print Your Mailpiece
- Choose Drop-Off Date & Payment Options
- Print Forms & Prepare Mailing Bundles
- Drop Off Your Bundles at the Post Office
- Comparison of minimum and maximum EDDM sizes
When I was the pastor of Harvest Baptist Church, we invested in several rounds of EDDM in order to reach our community with the message of the gospel and an invitation to our Bible-believing congregation.
Andy, founder and owner of Tract Planet, helped us with the mailer design and printing. He's outstanding to work with and a good Christian brother.
The USPO charges $0.178 per EDDM mailer (that's less than 18 cents; it's less than half the price of mailing a normal postcard).
In 2012, Andy (from Tract Planet) designed and printed 100,000 mailers for $7,500.00 (that's $0.075 – seven and a half cents – per mailer). Granted prices will have increased since then, but this give you an idea of how relatively inexpensive EDDM is.
You can reach your entire community with the message of the gospel for about 25 cents each.
Or… you can keep your quarter laid up in a napkin and see how that works out for you…
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come… And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin… And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. [Luke 19.11-27]