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It's Time For An Evangelist: Some Key Steps To Invitations

By Marshall M. Windsor, D.Min.Clocks

When the Philip the evangelist, and the other apostles were sent out for parts unknown, they had already been told not to worry about taking anything, "except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belt" (Mark 6:8 NASB).  They would simply stay where hospitality prevailed - in the home of another believer.  Philip never gave a thought to fuel bills, credit card payments, maintaining a vehicle, booking flights, insurance, or paperwork and postage.  But our society today demands far more from the itinerate ministry than a pure heart with a passion for God.  Gone are the days, in most places, of stopping by someone's house unannounced, without at the very least - calling ahead.  If you are not on the schedule, you may not get invited inside!  The challenge of balancing schedules, family, and finances; while maintaining a passion for holiness, continues to hold a preeminent place in the heart of ministers.

But God has given certain gifts to the body of Christ to further his kingdom, and one of those gifts is the evangelist.  It is evangelization that is the proclamation of the Gospel for the purpose of making converts, whether a one-on-one program or in a mass presentation with crusades.  No matter what the vehicle, the pastor needs evangelism skills and should feel the freedom and confidence in the resource of the evangelist.  Incorporating the use of the evangelist allows the pastor to focus on the aspect of Christianization, or the discipling and spiritual formation of the believer who has come to faith in Jesus Christ.  This discipling engages all areas of human growth: intellectual, emotional, as well as behavioral; and it demands extensive planning and prayer.  For this reason, the following steps should serve as some general guidelines to help pastors maximize the effectiveness of an evangelist.

Be Preventive

Go to the National Evangelist Website at http://evangelists.ag.org/directory and search for the particular evangelist or ministry desired.  If you do not find the evangelist you are looking for you may call the National Evangelist Office for contact information on any Assemblies of God evangelist.  Feel free to call their office at (417) 862-2781 extension 1302.  If no one answers your call, leave a message, and they will return your call.  You can also contact them through their website.

Contact other pastors to find out about personalities, practices and past experiences of your potential evangelist.  Amid the fellowship of sectional, district and General Council functions, fellow pastors are a wealth of information and are more than willing to share some of their wisdom with others.

Request materials, for current and future reference, which could include: brochures, cassettes, videos and/or CD's.  Many evangelists also have websites available for you to visit for further information on schedules, endorsements, and ministry focus.

It's easy to see if an AG evangelist is in your area, because now you can search by location and dates for many AG evangelists who have their schedules online at the http://evangelists.ag.org/directory. This will give you the opportunity to visit a service to observe his or her ministry.  There is nothing better than observing a potential evangelist in an actual service, but don't use one visit alone to make a decision.  Combine this with some of the above-mentioned steps to get a well-rounded knowledge of the evangelist.  As pastors well know, sick days are almost unheard of in ministry, and bad days do show up on our doorsteps - always uninvited!

Be Professional

Don't be rude.  Whether you call the evangelist, or an evangelist calls you, be open and honest with them.  If you don't invite evangelists that you haven't met, tell them so.  If you don't feel the Holy Spirit leading you to schedule a meeting right then it is fine to say so.  Evangelists appreciate definitive answers like: yes, no thank you, call me in August, etc...  Treating others the way you would want someone to treat you glorifies the Lord and reveals a Christ-centered fellowship of believers.

Don't be pressured into scheduling a meeting.  If you feel pressured during the course of your conversations, graciously let the evangelist know that you don't feel good about scheduling a meeting right now.  God has given the church the five-fold ministry offices for the propagation of the gospel and the edification of the body - this should be a win-win situation.

Communicate expectations before the service.  Open communication is a vital key to success.  Inquire about the needs of the evangelist - financial and otherwise: Will they preach and sing?  If they sing do they need certain equipment: CD player, tape, etc...?  If they are preaching do they normally use Power Point presentations or video?  If you are not equipped for certain aspects of a ministry you should state that up front.  Agree on accommodation needs and transportation expenses as soon as possible.  And above all, let the Holy Spirit guide you in every aspect of working with the evangelist.

Be Positive

Talk up the event with your congregation, anticipating a wonderful move of the Holy Spirit, and involve your church in prayer prior to the scheduled meeting(s).  This is their crusade too, and your positive affirmation will help convey a sense of "ownership."  It has been said that "we can do more together than we can do by ourselves," and people with a passion for God will only enhance the crusade.

Share your upcoming meeting or crusade with other pastors in your area and invite them to come if able.  Your crusade may very well be the turning point for someone who has never been to your church but just wanted to visit the revival services.  Evangelists have the vital opportunity to come alongside pastors, not only to preach good news to the sinner, make converts and baptize them; but also to help revive the pastor, their family and their community of believers.

Promote the meeting or crusade in ways that work best for your church.  These may include: a write-up in the bulletin several weeks out, bulletin inserts, posters, newspaper promotions, radio, T.V., or websites.  If you are not familiar with the types of publicity your evangelist normally uses, communicate with them on what each one of you will supply and what is normally done.  Communication again is key. Then believe God for the impossible, because He alone makes the impossible - possible.

As the pastor and evangelist work hand in hand, the practice of consideration for each other will undoubtedly pay huge dividends, building relationships that will last.  Those relationships working together will help us fulfill the mandate to go and "make disciples of all the nations," reaching lost souls that will spend an eternity without God otherwise; and proclaiming a gospel witnessed by signs, miracles and wonders - even today.  A focus on the Great Commission, coupled with our Pentecostal perspective and God's gifts to the church, will always propel us in the right direction.  May we ever strive to hear the words: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," when our time here on earth is finished.

Blessings!
Marshall


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Web Site: http://www.kristilemley.com
kristialemley@yahoo.com

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