“Where are the Billy Grahams of our generation?,” the critics have pondered. The cynics have surmised that the days of mass evangelism are over and that we will only continue to reach lost people through local churches and everyday acts of kindness. There seemed to be a season where evangelism was still happening but it wasn’t under the spotlight that it once enjoyed in the United States and other first world nations.
However, God is right now raising up a movement of evangelism and a movement of evangelists. Evangelism is experiencing a revival and both the world and the church will experience a revival as a result. Evangelism now and in the future will have some of the most massive gatherings history has ever seen. This will also correspond with a rise in personal and power evangelism through believers that carry the gospel message in their daily lifestyle.
“Evangelists not only stand on platforms to preach how Jesus saves but they teach all the members of the body of Christ how to build platforms through their daily life to share how Jesus saves.”
Evidences we see of God putting the spotlight on evangelists again are emerging with people like Greg Laurie and his Harvest America Crusades who has gatherings of over 100,000 people in a single stadium with 10,000s of people giving their lives to Christ. Reinhard Bonnke and his successor Daniel Kolenda with Christ for All Nations have started large scale evangelism crusades across America and partnered with Lou Engle’s The Call prayer gatherings to preach the gospel to the lost. Greg Stier continues to gather thousands of young people across denominations to equip them in how to share their faith at Dare 2 Share conferences and webcast events. Nick Hall of Pulse Ministries gathered hundreds of thousands at the National Mall in Washington D.C. last year to hear the preaching of the gospel. Todd White, a drug addict that was radically saved and launched into a lifestyle of loving people to Christ everywhere He goes is hosting trainings called Power and Love for thousands of people across cities all over the USA and world to be trained in power and lifestyle evangelism. Ben Fitzgerald with Awakening Europe is assembling thousands of people to hear the gospel in stadiums throughout Europe with thousands coming to Christ in what some were labeling “post-Christian” Europe. Andy Byrd and groups like the Circuit Riders who are connected with YWAM are training a modern day missions movement to re-engage college campus’s in the USA and unreached people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Brian Barcelona of One Voice Student Missions is a young campus evangelist that is starting Jesus Clubs in high schools across the country with hundreds coming to Christ in high school gymnasiums and returning for weekly Bible clubs. Time and space fail me to continue to elaborate about ministries like Light in Film with Jamie Rauch, Chris Overstreet, Sean Smith, Meesh Fomenko and many others.
So why? Why does this matter? I believe that there are at least 8 reasons that God is stirring evangelism in the body of Christ in this hour and raising up evangelists with a renewed passion.
1. Evangelists win souls that God passionately loves and for whom He paid the highest price.
He’s a leave the 99 and goes after the 1 God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (1).” God’s loving desire is to reclaim every soul in every nation, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (2).” The evangelist literally carries the heart of God to see sinners reconciled to their Maker. The evangelist wants to proclaim and publish the gospel in every way possible to give all people an opportunity to be saved from their sins.
2. Evangelists equip the body of Christ to do the work of evangelism.
The work of the evangelist is not only to share the good news of Jesus but also to teach others how to do it. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (3).” Everyone in the body of Christ is called to share their faith and be a witness unto Jesus. Evangelists motivate and train all believers no matter what their spiritual gifts are to effectively communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Evangelists not only stand on platforms to preach how Jesus saves but they teach all the members of the body of Christ how to build platforms through their daily life to share how Jesus saves.
3. Evangelists stir up the faith of the whole church to believe God for miracles.
In the Scriptures, it is almost impossible to separate the times where Jesus does miracles and offers forgiveness of sins.” Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk(4)?'” And of course, the greatest miracle is the saving of a lost soul through the power of the gospel. Whether it’s believing God for divine healing or a physical miracle or seeing the hardest hearts melt under the love and conviction from the message of Jesus death and resurrection, the evangelist specializes in giving God space to work the impossible. Under the preaching of the evangelist, the whole church is stirred to believe God for His suddenlys. Hopeless situations in souls, bodies, marriages, and families become an opportunity for God to perform His redemptive power through the ministry of the evangelist.
4. Evangelists are an answer to the prayers of the prayer movement.
“Then Jesus said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (5).”’ Through the past half century God restored the roar of the prayer movement in America. Prayer breakfasts, conferences, and mass gatherings were the norm in multiple denominations crying out for a revival and a great harvest of souls. Lou Engle gave much of His ministry to prayer’s of repentance and the call to a John the Baptist ministry. Lou Himself in the past few years has started to make a shift in His ministry proclaiming that if the first call was for John the Baptist then God’s answer to that call is Jesus ministry with the proclamation of the gospel with signs following. God raises up a prayer movement to bring answers to those prayers. The prayers that have been sowed in the past decades are bringing forth a harvest in this generation.
5. Evangelists are zealous to speak the truth in love.
Evangelists call people to a decision. Evangelists are black and white. Peter proclaimed in the first evangelistic sermon of the early church “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (6).” Evangelists call people to repent and believe. Evangelists have a disgust for sin but a great compassion on sinners. The evangelist says repent and believe. The evangelist proclaims that you either gather people to Christ or scatter people from Him. The evangelist trusts in the authority of Scripture while applying its truth not as a weapon but as a remedy. The evangelist embodies the message of no compromise while simultaneously protecting love.
6. Evangelists are in-part responsible for great awakenings and national revivals.
“These who have turned the world upside down have come here too (7),” said the city leaders of Thessalonica of the early church. Evangelists restore the city shaking power of the gospel to the church and birth movements that touch nations. Throughout church history, we see a variety of revivals. Some are prayer revivals with a marked emphasis on repentance and holiness, others are based in teaching or miracles. But many revivals and awakenings throughout church history were gospel preaching revivals that were spearheaded by those that proclaimed the centrality of the gospel message. Evangelists gather crowds and make a mark on cities, regions, and nations for the cause of Christ.
7. Evangelists cause the church to be a mighty river instead of stagnant body of water.
Without an outlet, a body of water can become stagnate like a pond. God intended for the church to become a mighty and powerful river. When the church is inwardly focused only we lose the mandate of Jesus, which was “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (8).” The evangelist empowers the church to stay true to the mission from our Lord and Savior to go after the lost and the least. The church can’t afford to spend most of its time infighting and micromanaging unnecessary details while those apart from Christ are perishing in their sin. Evangelists are restoring the outflow of God’s power from the church to the world so desperately in need.
8. Evangelists refocus the church on the centrality of the gospel not only for the lost but also the saved.
The word evangelist and the gospel are almost the exact same word in the Greek language. The evangelist is on fire with one message, the message of Jesus. Gospel means good news and an evangelist is essentially a good news-er, if you will. The evangelist recovers the scope, the depth, the simplicity and the power of the gospel message. “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it (9)!” Evangelists not only reach lost souls but they help the church recover the joy of her salvation in the simple yet most powerful message that Jesus death, burial, and resurrection are what changes and sustains our life in God.
Just as Billy Graham served (and still continues to do so) the purposes of God in His generation, God is raising up a mighty movement of evangelists in America and across the globe. The God of Billy Graham is the same God at work in our generation and He is looking for those who will take great risks with Him to win cities and nations back to His heart. May Christ Jesus be glorified among all people and all nations through the ministry of evangelists until everybody hears the good news and has an opportunity to call upon Jesus as Lord.
1. Romans 5:8
2. 1 Timothy 2:4
3. Ephesians 4:11-12
4. Luke 5:23
5. Luke 10:2
6. Acts 2:38
7. Acts 17:6
8. Mark 16:15
9. 2 Corinthians 11:2-4
All Scriptures quoted are in NKJV.