A PLEA FOR EVANGELISTS
BY HARLAN S. MORGAN
The evangelist and his family traveled several hundred miles to get to the revival. He drove a three-quarter-ton pickup and pulled a twenty-six-foot travel trailer, averaging seven miles per gallon of fuel. The family spent approximately $150.00 on fuel alone driving to the revival and back home. Meals and other necessities added up to nearly $60.00. Tithes, of course, were immediately paid in the amount of $35.00, and they needed- to hold out at least $52.50 for Uncle Sam.
The family’s total expenses to get to the revival and back home totaled $297.50. The net income was not great: $52.50 for the week. The evangelist smiled with satisfaction as he thought of the $52.50 he could hold back for hard times.
But on second thought, he still had to pay the truck and trailer note, utilities, bills for maintenance on vehicles, doctor bills, insurance, balances on credit cards (that they used to live on during slow times). Then there were offerings and countless other needs that demanded their finances.
After traveling on the full-time evangelistic circuit, I can assure you that the above scenario is more than a story; it is reality for many evangelists. I am not complaining. I would not trade one moment of our evangelizing days for any other experience. I am grateful to every pastor who opened his pulpit to me and gave me opportunity to minister to his church. Now that we are serving in a difference capacity of ministry, however, I want to plead the case of evangelists.
Finances. According to our experience and after talking to other evangelists, it can be safely said that finances are an evangelist’s greatest stress factor and the greatest struggle he faces.
As can be clearly seen in the previous illustration, $300 to $350 per week will barely pay travel expenses, tithes, and taxes. This amount will hardly begin to touch any other monthly obligations the evangelist family may have.
Recently, a study was made and a report given by the Louisiana District of the United Pentecostal Church on the financial needs of evangelists. In the report, the committee, comprised of both pastors and evangelists, recommended that a minimum payment of $600 per week should be given to an evangelist. I agree with this proposal. When the evangelist pays his tithes and taxes, his weekly “take home pay” would
be approximately $450. From this he must pay fuel expenses, upkeep on a car, truck, or trailer, and food. (Remember, evangelists have no retirement, no paid vacation, and no group insurance.)
I have preached in many small churches and home mission churches. Many times, these churches took as good or better care of us financially than some of the larger churches. They were able to do this because they prepared themselves financially for a revival.
There are slow times in the ministry of an evangelist, such as camp meeting and Christmas. Many pastors are very generous and take an evangelist out to eat or give him an offering at camp meetings or conferences. Some pastors will have an evangelist preach his regular services during the Christmas season and pay him as if it were a revival.
It is good for us to remember evangelists during these times. Consider taking an evangelist on your heart and sending him a special offering during camps or the Christmas season.
Privacy. An evangelist and his family need their privacy as much as any other family. Many times, the evangelist’s trailer is his only home. Pastors and saints need to remember this and respect it as such.
When my wife and I evangelized, often on our days off I would tell the pastor not to worry about us, and we would spend those two days by ourselves, enjoying the attractions in the area. This time proved to be very helpful, giving ourselves and the pastor a little breathing room.
Some pastors expect an evangelist to run with him all day and be at his best for the evening service.
A pastor should respect the evangelist’s need of time for prayer and study. The evangelist and his family some privacy during their stay in your town.
A Place to Stay. Some evangelists do not pull a travel trailer with them. If you invite an evangelist who has no trailer, adequate facilities should be provided for the evangelist and his family.
Do no throw them into a roach infested spare Sunday school room that has no shower or toilet. Give your evangelist living quarters that you would be willing to stay in permanently. We may think, That’s good
enough for anybody for a week. However, an evangelist may only stay in your evangelist quarters for one week, but he will be in an evangelist quarters somewhere nearly every week. Make sure his living conditions are adequate and comfortable while he is with you.
If a pastor is supposed to meet the evangelist at the church upon his arrival, the pastor should be prompt. The church should make sure adequate hook-ups are available for the evangelist’s trailer. Many of the larger trailers require fifty-amp electrical service, while the smaller trailers generally require thirty-amp service. Also, a water faucet and sewer drain should be available for the trailer.
An Evangelist Is Not a Second-rate Preacher. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
An evangelist is as much a God called man as a pastor. Some pastors would like the evangelist to preach only to sinners. According to the preceding passage of Scripture, however, the evangelist also helps to equip the saints.
We must remember, this is God’s church–not ours! “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21). Pastor, take the chains off your pulpit, and allow the evangelist to preach as God directs him.
An old cliche states, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” Many have the conception that evangelists only sleep late, preach, and eat fried chicken. There are many stress factors and costs to being an evangelist.
I have great confidence in our pastors. If they are aware of the plight of evangelists, evangelists will be given more consideration. The purpose of this article is simply to make people aware of the position of an evangelist.
Harlan S. Morgan traveled for nearly two and one-half years on the full-time evangelistic circuit. He currently serves as assistant pastor and director of youth at First Pentecostal Church of DeQuincy, Louisiana, where T. D. Cardwell is pastor.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY FORWARD, WINTER 1999, PAGES 10-11. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.