Evangelists have in many ways operated as ‘sent ones’. That would at first seem to be good news and in many cases it is. They are the most obvious outreach arm of the church. Often however they haven't experienced being sent by the church itself. There is a pressure on them to get cleaned up, to take care of their stuff, to sort out their theology, all of which takes too much time for them with a burning passion to share the good news which they have experienced.
The result is that some have gone into all of the world sometimes without the support of family. Finding themselves sometimes a square peg in a round hole they have pursued a more independent lifestyle and ministry.
Many have come to Christ from a place of dysfunction or been driven in life and they will need healing rather than reproduce their dysfunction in their disciples or lead a driven lifestyle of evangelism, but this must take place in a way which doesn't remove them from their harvest field. It is a delicate balance.
They are however a gift of Christ, the great evangelist, to the church. they belong at the government table, equipping the saints for the work of ministry. Their raw passion is often what the church needs, injecting the desire to reach the lost into every aspect of the churches activities.
We need our evangelists, we need them to stay connected to the world from which they came, it will surely be their first harvest field. But we also need them to be positioned in family and to receive the help they need to be the best that they can be.
They are in my experience very often a unique breed and one which I have come to love and value the more I get to know them. One of the strengths and possible weaknesses is to view them as radically saved. Many of them for sure have dramatic stories, but the truth is that we who know, love, serve and believe in Jesus as Lord and saviour have radical salvation. We are saved from eternal separation from God and that is radical although we may not all have dramatic stories. We need to ensure that this gap is not widened and that we are drawn closer together so that we can all partake in different ways in the evangelistic assignment of the church. To believe that I must have a dramatic story will increase the gap but to share in a radical salvation will qualify us all.
It is I believe the day of the evangelist, there is a desire and a calling of them back to the church. Back to leadership in the church, equipping the saints and creating a culture of salvation. They are not to be the ones which do all of the work but rather the ones who inspire and equip all of us to find our harvest field and serve in it.
The evangelist in an apostolic culture will firstly be valued. They are one of the keys to growth which the apostle desires. The evangelist needs to find home. I always view the returning prodigal in Luke 15 as a returning evangelist, because I have never met someone saved in such circumstances that did not want to tell others. The key is that they find home, like the boy in the story they need to be valued, given the robe of worth, the ring of trust, the sandal of sonship and the celebration party. From this place of home, this apostolic family, they will be sent, there will be no need to leave without the backing of a family who believes in them and waits for their return and share in the ‘spoils’ of their adventure. They willl of course not merely be sent, but will be equippers and senders of everyone, sending them into their unique places of influence and calling.
The apostolic evangelist will have a big picture. They will embrace the church and the kingdom, soul winning and discipleship, being sent while experiencing and contributing to home & belonging. They will in line with the nature of the apostolic versus pastoral led model of church know that first they are sent, the goal is not to gather first but to be sent into all of the world. They will bring the saved home to family, where they will be loved, healed, discipled and sent.
They are a great key, we need them, not to build large churches, though that may happen but to expand the influence of the King and His Kingdom everywhere that they and the saints they serve are sent to.