There was once a generation of pastors who would have evangelists come in and preach evangelistic meetings. These meetings were focused on clearly communicating the gospel in order that unbelievers who would the truth and give their lives to Christ. These meetings were called revivals or crusades. Many pastors of days gone by were more evangelists than pastors or teachers because their messages were strictly gospel messages. They didn’t explain the Scriptures or veer into other subjects other than the basic gospel message. Ephesians 4 clearly states that the gift of the evangelist and the gift of the pastor and teacher are separate gifts. I have never proclaimed to have the gift of an evangelist, therefore I know that I need preachers to speak the clear gospel to our group at Overcomers. I love to teach and disciple, but there are those who have the anointing of God upon them to preach a clear gospel message and people will be saved.
With the passing of Billy Graham and the decreased number of churches that want to be “relevant”, we are seeing many churches ignore the gift of the evangelist. Many have this gift, but pastors will not invite them because it is not considered “cool”. If you think even on a surface level about this, how many people are truly coming to Christ in our churches? Very few! One of the reasons is that the gospel of Christ has become so watered down that no one would realize the real thing if it slapped them in the face. Too many preachers are giving out self-help and self-esteem pep rallies and few are letting people know that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be hateful to preach truth. People still need it. On the broad scale, the lack of truth-telling is seen in the workplace, the home, and everywhere imaginable. We tiptoe through the tulips rather than telling people what they need to hear.
With that said, I do not see evangelists to be a dying breed. What I do see is the lack of desire among many pastors and churches to acknowledge that gift and see true conversions in their churches. They are hurting not only themselves but many who could hear the truth and come to Christ for salvation.
If you are a pastor reading this, I challenge you to reconsider the gift of the evangelist. If you are attend a local faith community and you are not hearing how to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, drive as far as you have to in order to hear this and how to grow in that relationship. You can tune in to Oprah for a pep talk. Jesus is your only answer when it comes to a right standing with God.