So...You Think You're An Evangelist
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. - Ephesians 4:11-12 (NLT)
Have you ever stood on a busy street corner, airport, or subway and watched people going about their day and wondered whether or not they were right with God?
Is your mind constantly coming up with new ideas for how your church could reach your community for Christ?
I hate to break it to you, but you might be an Evangelist.
The Bad News and the Good News
One of the hardest things you may face as an evangelist is feeling like you don’t quite fit in with other clergy. Maybe you have tried to pastor and struggled because your focus was more on the lost than on the congregation that you were hired to minister to. Or, maybe you get the buzz from traveling and speaking as an itinerant in other pastor’s pulpits. Maybe you prefer not being in a pulpit at all and your best messages are shared in a pub, at your job, or on the streets. Whatever your situation, you know you have a passion for the lost, but you can’t seem to figure out where to put this passion that’s inside you.
Enter Luis Palau’s Next Generation Alliance.
Next Generation Alliance (NGA) is a global network of evangelists that are connected to support, encourage, and learn from one another. Evangelism is like a craft and being part of an alliance like NGA is a place to hone your skills, learn from the masters, and develop into all that God has called you to be. You don’t need to be a full-time minister to be a part of NGA. You just have to have a shared passion for the Gospel and a desire to soak up all you can so you can fulfill your God-given call.
I remember when I first stumbled upon NGA. I was in my early twenties and my friend (and fellow evangelist) Brad Butcher invited me to the Palau headquarters to meet the team. He introduced me to the legendary Dr. Tim Robnett (who at the time was the Director of NGA). I plopped down in his office and cockily told him that I was an Evangelist. Tim shared with me stories from his days playing college ball at Stanford and gave me my first lesson about being part of a team and living for something bigger than myself. Then, as if to gently put me in my place, he invited me to sit in on a conference call with other evangelists on soliciting six-figure gifts. I remember slumping down in the chair as I listened to the conversation with real, established, global evangelists and realized that I had so much to learn.
Next Generation Alliance can be that place for you too. You can skip my first lesson in humility if you come hungry and humble. Always position yourself to learn and to serve. You will be amazed by the opportunities that present themselves as you build relationships with other evangelists.
3 Things You Will Need to Get Started
If you decide that starting an evangelistic association or ministry organization is the pathway that God is calling you toward, I have three practical bits of advice to get you started.
- Cover your assets. Before you even get a 501c3, get a pastor. Get a local church to get behind you. The local church can even help you collect donations before you have your own organization. This will save you a lot of time and energy. As you get larger, you can form a board and file your status with the IRS based on necessity. Use the church’s non-profit status as long as necessary.
- Get organized. If you are not an organized person, your first step will be to find someone who is and recruit them to help you! If you are organized, write down your vision and ideas about how you are going to get the job done. Figure out how much it is going to cost. Then, get out there and get people to support you!
- Give it all away. You cannot hold on to any of the workflow you generate too tightly. Delegate to others. Delegate responsibility and not tasks. Raise up leaders. Let people surround you and help you reach your goal. Be incredibly generous with other evangelists you see getting started and make it easy for them. Share information that you have learned with them in the same manner that it has been shared with you through NGA and other relationships that have helped you on your way.
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
There will be temptations to chase rabbits as you explore all the opportunities in front of you. To close, I would say that in order to stay true to the call you must ask yourself how what is in front of you relates to your vision to reach the lost. If it has nothing to do with it, throw it away, give it away, or file it for later. After all, it’s all about Jesus, isn’t it?
Tom Miyashiro (@trmbomb) founded Faith 2 Faith Ministries (f2fmi) in 2001. F2fmi is spreading the Gospel in New England through youth focused, community based outreach in partnership with the Church. Their heart is to understand youth culture and operate within its context, and to present Christ in a language teenagers can understand. Through innovative approaches, connections across denominational lines and equipping Christian teens to share Christ with their friends, their goal is to make Jesus famous again in one of the least-reached areas in America.