HITTIN’ THE FIELD TO EVANGELIZE
By Tom Foster
When I first started evangelizing, I wanted every pastor to book me for a revival. I almost pushed them down by letting them know I was available and ready to preach a revival at a moment’s notice. When the pastors did not beat a path to my door, I got depressed and started wallowing in my own ocean of self-pity. This is a trap that nearly every new evangelist and a lot of experienced evangelists stumble into.
What got me out of this horrible trap was the words, “You can only preach one revival at a time.” That was my answer. All you need is just one revival. Make that revival your best revival and you are on your way. In your one revival, preach hard, reach hard, pray hard and study hard. God will bless you and other revivals will come. Remember, you can only preach one revival at a time.
KNOWING THE TIME
Knowing the time to go full time in the evangelistic work is very important. Some jump in too quickly and are in over their heads, while others wait too long and never take the plunge.
I was not ready to evangelize when I first went full time in the ministry, so I became an assistant in a growing church. After about five months, it was my time to evangelize and that is when I began.
How did I know it was my time? I prayed and fasted and prepared for it. In prayer and fasting, God was leading me to the work of an evangelist, and in preparation the pastor lead me in study habits for the field.
Then when the opportunity presented itself, I was ready for it.
In preparing for the full time evangelistic work, do not add the pressures of a lot of bills to pay. The less bills you have, the more freedom you will have to preach where God will lead you. Bills that need to be paid and no money to pay them will add stress and frustration to the burdens you are already carrying for the revival.
It is important to have the right attitude in starting out. I thought every church was ready for my ministry. I was wrong. The wise pastor knows his church, and if it is not ready for your ministry, don’t feel bad if he does not invite you for a revival.
Do not try to copy the successful evangelists you know as far as the ministry. You must learn your own ministry. What God gives to one, He may not give to another, but impart to him something else. Find your ministry and then use it to fill the need of the church.
SPECIALTIES—OPEN DOORS OF OPPORTUNITIES
You have heard the saying, “Different strokes for different folks.” It’s true with you. God did not create all evangelists alike.
When I went full time, I could preach a little bit, but what got me going was I was able to motivate churches to bring other people to services. It brought excitement and enthusiasm and revival came.
Look around you and you will find different evangelists using different means. My open door was ex citing a church to victory in faith by breaking attendance records. This led to victory in almost every service.
Other evangelists have used prophecy to do the same thing. They use films and messages on prophecy to stir the people and their methods work. These are very effective ways to reach sinners, but if one is not you, do not major on it. Find your own ministry.
Other evangelists use the explosion of rock and roll music to reach sinners. They expose the devil behind the songs and musicians. This too, works. I recently heard of a revival that wrapped a large city, bringing out the news media and made headlines. Again. . .if this method is not you, do not do it.
I know of evangelists who come with a youth ministry, reaching for the souls of youth. They come with programs and teachings that encourage and excite the youth.
Another open door to churches is coming with out reach programs—such as visitation, jail services, street services, tract distribution, bus ministry, prayer meeting, phone banks, days of fasting and these all help.
Whatever you do, they will all work with hard preaching against sin. Above everything else you may do, preach hard against sin. Don’t become so specialized that you forget to preach against sin. Judgment and sin will always bring conviction.
Evangelist, find your ministry. It may not be listed above. Prayer for sick and others are not there. Yours, as mine, may be a mixture of various methods used at the right time.
QUICK DRAW ARTIST
As a beginning evangelist, you need to love these pastors—pastors, pastors, pastors and more pastors. The more pastors you love, the merrier! I want to stress this. Love those pastors!
Go to meetings where pastors are, to rallies, seminars, conferences, camp meetings, and youth camps. You have got to get to know them talk to them, and be around them. Don’t hide with evangelists; be seen by pastors. Only pastors will ask you for a revival. Treat them with respect.
When you are at a church, always put the pastor in the saddle. Remember, he invited you; you are preaching in the church he pastors. If you treat them with respect, they will treat you right. They will give a good word to their pastor friends about you!
When a pastor asks you to come by or even hints that he wants a meeting, you had better be the fastest draw. Get your book out and schedule him. That is the best time to do it.
When you schedule a meeting, do it on a tentative basis and let the pastor know in advance of what you intend to do.
I didn’t do this in the beginning, and to my embarrassment I found I was scheduled to be in three different meetings at one time. To avoid this, carry your pocket calendar and tentatively set dates.
A pocket calendar is sometimes provided by your district, but if not, you will need to purchase or obtain one and carry it with you at all times. You will also need a card, giving your name, phone number, address and something about your ministry. Use your pocket calendar to schedule your meetings and give your card to pastors who meet you.
Again, treat the pastor right. Make a friend out of him. Treat him with respect and honor and he will be a friend in time of need.
I would suggest having a trailer to live in during your revivals if possible. Staying two weeks in anybody’s home can work on your nerves, not to mention theirs. I found my revivals went better and actually went longer and we reached more souls when we had separate living quarters. You need a place where you can unwind and live at your own pace.
An evangelist’s schedule is different from a pastor’s. After preparing and preaching and then working the altar, you will be worn out, but usually keyed up. An evangelist will usually stay up late and sleep late too. That is all right since you work nights.
The pastor may stay up a little while with you, but usually his day starts early. For this reason, if for no other, a trailer is a very good asset.
The trailer will also do wonders for your wife. It will be her home. She is not living in a suitcase, but she has her own home. This means a lot to her and to you.
Launching out takes on a more important meaning if you have children. You must remember that children are influenced by where you go and what you do.
Be sure they are ready and you are equipped to provide for them.
In launching out, you must consider that you are the boss of your time. Don’t waste time. Use spare time to grow mentally and spiritually. Read good books, visit libraries, and listen to tapes. Above all, get in the Bible. You have time on the field that you will not have if you settle down.
I want to leave a saying my dad taught me: “If you are young on years, but old on hours and you haven’t wasted any time, you will go far.”
Evangelist, go forth, and produce!
There is a crown laid up for you!