The Bible mandates the spiritual gift of the evangelist (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 21:8). With everything God created, the Bible says, “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10). I am sure he said the same after he gave every spiritual gift. However, the situation with enlisting, equipping, empowering and employing those with the spiritual gift of the evangelist today is not good. There are five reasons this is the case.
First, there is an appalling lack of training and equipping available for evangelists. Thus, evangelists have to develop their skills and ministries without any training. Second, there is a lack of scholarship in the church in regards to proclamation evangelism. This has resulted in a scarcity of quality teaching tools available to develop evangelists. While there may be thousands of books related to pastoral ministry, theology, counseling and education, books on evangelism lag far behind in numbers produced. Third, the lack of full-time evangelists has meant there are few who are qualified to train emerging evangelists. Fourth, it is also widely misconstrued that the ministry of the evangelist is easy and consists of simply traveling from place to place, preaching the same message at each site.
Finally, most denominations and local churches neglect the training and the office of the evangelist. I frequently hear denominational leaders say, “Kumar, we do not have evangelists in our denomination.” This is the lame excuse of many. Why would training for evangelists be considered if the perception is that they do not even exist? What then happened to the “some” God gave to be evangelists (Ephesians 4:11)? The lack of vision for evangelists blinds leaders to the presence of evangelists in their midst. Unlike the ministry of the pastor, theologian, teacher, worship or music minister, counselor and others, the evangelist is not given equal priority in the local church or in denominations.
Senior evangelists, with very few exceptions, have failed to train and mentor junior evangelists. As a result, Roger Carswell says, “Few evangelists remain at their work for more than a decade.”1 Since the beginning of the Church, God’s command to the evangelist is clear: proclaim the gospel to those who do not know the Lord Jesus. As the Church evolved, however, evangelists became an expendable commodity to the point that we find them today on the brink of extinction.
Second Asian Advanced Institute for Evangelists
Because of our commitment to training evangelists, the GoodNews Evangelistic Association (http://www.heralds.org/), in cooperation with the Billy Graham Center (Wheaton, Illinois, USA) and Luis Palau’s Next Generation Alliance, will be conducting the Second Asian Advanced Institute for Evangelists 4-18 June 2006 in the Philippines. This training institute will enlighten, encourage and empower the lives and ministries of practicing evangelists from across Asia and the South Pacific. We will gather with one goal in mind: to know God and his heart for evangelists so as to increase our passion for the harvest of souls.
The training institute will be held in Antipolo City, Philippines. Subsidies are available for those with needs.
Expect the following:
- A challenging intellectual atmosphere as you hear from experienced teachers in the field of proclamation evangelism
- Stimulating and revolutionary discussion about the life and ministry of the evangelist
- Observing and participating in real evangelistic meetings
- Fellowship with those who share your calling as an evangelist
- Networking with other Asian evangelists
- Praying for Asia’s lost
You may read more about this at http://www.heralds.org/. Experienced proclamation evangelism trainers Dr. Lon Allison, Dr. Tim Robnett and Dr. Kumar Abraham will be speaking.
The institute is open to evangelists from South and Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific. However, only twenty-five applicants will be accepted so applications need to be completed as soon as possible. To register online, visit www.heralds.org/aaie/apply.php.
Carswell, Roger. 2000. And Some Evangelists. Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications. p.18