Sharing the Vision: Pastors and Evangelists as Partners in Revival
By Tom Foster
We preachers often say, “We need an old fashioned, Pentecostal, Holy Ghost revival!” This is usually met with a very enthusiastic “amen” in most of our churches. But what does revival really mean? Many think a revival is an event, that it’s a series of “special services” But a true revival is much more than an event; it is the miraculous renewal of the spiritual life of a church and her disciples. It is a glorious time for a church, but it must be consciously sustained; otherwise, the revival fires will die. The pastor and the evangelist he brings alongside him to help minister play crucial roles in fostering this spirit of revival.
Since the pastor and evangelist play crucial roles, the church needs them to be strong partners working together so that Christ’s work can be accomplished. The relationship of the pastor and the evangelist at times will be tested by conflict and friction, but this should be used as a means to get to know each other deeply and to reinforce an enduring commitment for each other’s good. As each seeks to build up the other and to complement the other’s ministry, the church will be strengthened and given guidance in a way that is not possible when the two are working independently. The greatest work will be accomplished when the pastor and evangelist are imbued with a spirit of interdependence.
How, then, can the pastor-evangelist partnership become and remain strong? A partnership in prayer is the first prerequisite. This investment in prayer by the pastor, the evangelist, and the church will yield major dividends. Months before the revival or evangelistic event takes place, many types of prayer opportunities should be set in motion: pastor’s leadership staff prayer meeting, women’s prayer, men’s prayer, youth prayer, church wide prayer. A prayer card giving a prayer topic for each day will help the people to focus on needs. The church becomes a partner in prayer with the pastor and the evangelist before the series of services ever begins. The evangelist is also praying for the church, the pastor, and the harvest that God will bring in.
Another area where the pastor and the evangelist need to partner is in the realm of stewardship. The church and the evangelist make an investment. The pastor leads the church in preparing the proper advertising to get the word out about what is coming. Email, mail-outs, hand-outs, bulletins, and evangelism cards need to be given to the church for distribution. Also, banners and posters will help announce the services. The evangelist can also help build anticipation for the coming services by giving the pastor praise reports and faith-building testimonies from previous revivals. Clear the church calendar so that the emphasis will be on outreach. Focus on winning the lost!
A part of the stewardship partnership between the pastor and the evangelist has to do with compensating the evangelist. The church should provide the income for the evangelist. Much planning and forethought ought to be given to this. Fundraisers, special offerings, and sacrificial giving are many ways of providing for the evangelist. These servants of the Lord cannot preach all fifty-two weeks of the year. Their income must be sufficient to cover those times when there is no income. At the time of the honorarium, remember Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God’s Spirit at work in the hearts of the people will more than take care of the financial need.
In addition to providing income to the evangelist, the pastor should make preparation ahead of time for the payment of travel expenses. The pastor should take care of the evangelist’s air travel or gas expenses. A pastor blesses the evangelist when these are handled with care and foresight. The local church should also provide an appropriate place for the evangelist and his family to stay and suitable meals while they are ministering in the local church.
The pastor and the evangelist also need to partner together in purpose and in understanding each other. The evangelist needs to understand that the vision, responsibility, growth, management, and future of the church depend on the pastor, and so the evangelist should find the purpose and direction of the pastor for the revival. The weight of a growing evangelistic church is heavy. The evangelist should seek to lift the load with the pastor. His prayer, study, dedication, and preaching should further the vision of the pastor. The evangelist should be at his best at all times: alert for ways to help with a victorious voice and genuine concern. The evangelist should labor not just in preaching in the main services but also in different outreach endeavors: groups for ladies, men, singles, youth, children, home Bible studies, leadership, altar training, and other appropriate ministries could all be blessed by an evangelist during his stay.
Here in Dallas the population is too big for one church, and the work of the church is too much for one ministry. We need more churches and more ministers in those churches. We have partnered with certain evangelists to facilitate growth and progress. It is happening, and the church is blessed. Some plant, some water, and some harvest. When pastors and evangelists unite in the harvest, revival becomes the normal experience of the church, and the gates of hell will never prevail against it.
From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume 39, Issue 6/Page 10 & 22, by Tom Foster
This material is copyrighted and may be used to study & research purposes only