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The Work of an Evangelist

July 13, 1929 The Pentecostal Evangel Page Five

“Do the work of an evangelist.” 2 Tim. 4:5. The spirit of evangelism must ever permeate and dominate the church if she is to fill her appointed place and accomplish her Godgiven task. It is therefore the duty of every member of the body of Christ to foster and encourage evangelistic ideals and methods in every department of church work. The God-called evangelist is the gift of Christ to the church. Together with other divinely called and anointed ones, he is commissioned to labor for the “perfecting of the saints.” He should feel keenly this responsibility and diligently prepare his heart and mind for the largest possible service to those who are the purchase of Christ’s blood and the objects of His special care.

I have often thought that a few years in pastoral work is almost a necessary part of an evangelist’s training. So many who are on the field are without a sympathetic understanding of the problems of the pastor or any real sense of their responsibility to help in his ministry.

It is a near-sighted evangelist who thinks only of having a successful meeting and who is willing to use the pastors and every member of the church to further his success as a special campaign preacher. The true evangelist will think of enlarging the influence of the church in the community, of building with the pastor and strengthening his hands, so that when the special effort is over there will be fruit that shall remain to encourage the church to further aggressive effort.

It is easy for evangelists during a season of spiritual uplift to promote and deepen the spirit of love and unity among the believers. Without seeming to try, he can encourage respect for and loyalty to the leadership of the church that will make for healthy conditions and continued property. But alas, many would-be evangelists never seem to catch this vision. I have known evangelists even to court the favor of those who were standing in opposition to the leadership of the church. Instead of seeking to draw discordant elements together about their pastor, they have personally courted his enemies, sided with them in their petty grievances and strengthened them in their unscriptural attitude. Upon this rock many promising evangelistic barks have been wrecked. Some years ago I became acquainted with a very promising young evangelist. This brother had natural gifts above the ordinary, was well trained for the work, having had a thorough seminary course. Therefore many prophesied a great ministry for him. But instead he has been an utter failure, a veritable flat tire, for fifteen years. There are, no doubt, many attributing causes for this effect, but one outstanding reason is that he is always seeking his own. Since he is forever thinking of himself no one else seems to think of him or his needs. Thus he is up against the double problem of finding a place to minister and then personally contending for a square deal for himself after having landed the job.

This man is not altogether bad, but it would seem that his conscience is just elastic enough to allow little departures from the law of love in the interest of himself. For instance, he was invited to hold special meetings in a certain prosperous church where, had he played fair and proved his metal, he would have had not only a successful meeting, but other doors would have opened to him. But as usual he was thinking of number one. Accordingly when the meeting had begun to warm and the saints began to manifest an interest in his ministry, he confided to certain influential ones that should they be desiring a change of pastors he would be willing to prayerfully consider the matter.

These dirty “little foxes” will spoil the fruitfulness of any minister of Christ. One absolute essential for permanent success in itinerary work is grace to unselfishly seek the prosperity of the church and its leadership. There is a crying need for more evangelists of this type.

There is another tendency in modern evangelism that I must protest against, and that is the introduction of humbug and camouflage. A kind of trumped-up combination of stage play, high-class entertainment, personality exploitations, and flagrant exaggeration—all this with slight religious flavor, is being dished out to a bewildered people in so-called great campaigns.

I am aware that most evangelists, especially in full gospel circles, are of the true order. But they are suffering because of the false psychology and camouflage methods of those who are playing to the galleries. Unless pastors and leaders of the people take a strong stand against unreality in every from, false ideals and standards may be set up, and ultimate disaster result. The church should be protected by its leadership from all, however gifted, who are seeking to further their own ends or who will stoop to any form of deception or exaggeration either from a pulpit of in printed propaganda. God wants real folks, a real message and real results.

No small part of the evangelist’s ministry is in keeping alive in the church the passion for souls or fanning into flame the smouldered fire where neglect or lack of a balanced ministry has resulted in the loss f a definite burden for the lost. It is extremely necessary therefore, that the evangelist live close to God. He will not stir the hearts of others unless he is being moved of God in his own soul.

To a pastor who has labored for weeks to bring up the faith of the saints and to gather in the unsaved, it is extremely discouraging to discover that the evangelist himself is not fired with the passion for souls nor anointed of the Spirit to minister to them. As I write there comes to my mind an experience of this kind. After weeks of prayer and an outlay of considerable time and money in making preparation, our evangelist arrived in his new car. To my great sorrow I found that he had more interest in the scenic drives in the community than in the people to whom he was to minister. His manifest lack of real concern soon killed the interest already created. One by one the fish wiggled through the net and were gone, perhaps forever.

It is a great responsibility to be placed in the lead of a united effort to win souls for Christ. The very possibility that our own earthiness may serve to neutralize the message and defeat the purpose of the concerted effort should sober us and drive us close to God. In doing the work of an evangelist many sacrifices must be made. Yet its compensations are many. One who is gifted for the work and who abides in prayer will have almost continuously the joy of seeing sinners converted and struggling Christian communities strengthened and refreshed. It is a great blessing to be forced by the very nature of the work to keep filled with the compassion of Christ, carry his burden and press His claims upon the souls of men. _____________________________

“He who dallies with temptation, he who tampers with evil, is never safe. People say that such and such a man had a sudden fall; but no fall is sudden. In every instance the crisis of the moment is decided only by the tenor of the life; nor since this world began, has any man been dragged over into the domain of evil who had not strayed carelessly, or gazed curiously, or lingered guiltily, beside its verge.”

Authors: W.T. Gaston

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Evangelist Highlight

Tim Collins

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Personal Information:

Wife: Debora Collins; married 1977
3 Adult Children: Nicolas, 30; CJ, 29; and Rachel, 26

I believe I was called to preach before I was born, when my mother said she heard the audible voice of God telling her to name me Timothy. I preached from the time I could talk, mainly to the elderly lady who lived next door (through the woods) and undoubtedly deserves a special place in Heaven. My dad was a pioneer pastor so I was afforded plenty of opportunities for church work throughout my life. When...

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