THE EVANGELIST AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS OLE NUMBER ONE?
By Ron Macey
It is imperative that the evangelist maintain confidence in himself if he is to gain and hold the confidence of others. Self confidence is not arrogance or conceit, but a genuine assurance of God’s great calling. It is far easier to follow someone who seems to know where he is going rather than one who is uneasy with himself. The Apostle Paul, on numerous occasions, expressed his confidence in God and in the call to preach the gospel. It is in the same measure that the evangelist receives himself that others will receive him.
In the first stages of his evangelistic work, the evangelist might encounter great frustration as a result of striving to be like someone else. People will find it easier to accept him and his ministry rather than a copy of someone else. This is not to discount striving for greater usefulness or wanting to be like great men of the day, but the evangelist must find his place and function within his particular ministry.
The evangelist is living in the age of specialist in various fields. There are specialists in the fields of medicine, law, and education as well as countless others. There are also specialists on the evangelistic field. When a pastor needs someone to help his people with home Bible studies and outreach, there are certain men that come to mind. If there is a need in the local church for a breakthrough in altar services, there are men that devote all of their time and energy to that particular ministry.
This does not place one specialized ministry above another, for one ministry could not function by itself. Without the evangelist to stir the people to reach out, the evangelist with the specialized ministry to sinners would be without material with which to work.
In Matthew the twenty-fifth chapter, the Lord told a parable of the talents. One servant received one talent, another two talents, and the last five talents. These servants were not expected to produce outside of their “several abilities.” If an evangelist happens to possess two talents, there is no amount of fasting and prayer that can make him produce like an evangelist with five talents. To try to function like another evangelist with perhaps more talent will bring severe frustration. This principle will not tolerate laziness and unconcern, but it should encourage the development of God’s gifts to men.
When evangelists come together at conferences or seminars, the question often asked is, “Why don’t I have large numbers receiving the Holy Ghost like some other evangelist?” If an evangelist is praying, fasting, and laboring diligently on behalf of revival and is not seeing great numbers receive the Holy Ghost as he would like, there are two areas that should be examined. First, each revival must be evaluated individually so that the evangelist will know where the church is in its cycle. Churches go through cycles like trees that bear fruit. Paul himself said in I Corinthians 3:6, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” When the evangelist is at a church for revival, he might be ready for harvest but it could be time to plow. If an evangelist waters, plows, or plants and is not privileged at that moment to see an increase, let him not despair of the role that God has called him to play. Each particular role is vitally important to the kingdom of God.
There must be plowing, planting, and watering if there is to be an increase. This is the irreversible law of the harvest. The time that the evangelist is called upon to break out the plow, let him not shy away for a more glamorous task, but let him put his hands to the plow and labor with all diligence.
Secondly, if the results of the evangelist’s efforts are not what he would like, let him view his sphere of opportunity. If the evangelist is preaching in a church that has fifty members and in two weeks of revival ten people attend the services that need the Holy Ghost and five receive the baptism of the Spirit, the results may not seem that fantastic in terms of the total number. However, if a revival is being conducted in a church of five hundred and one hundred people come without God and fifty are filled with the Holy Ghost, the results appear more impressive. In reality the results in this hypothetical situation are the same, but in the church of five hundred members the sphere of opportunity is greatly increased.
At times on the evangelistic field the evangelist may receive the impression that evangelistic work is the lesser ministry. However, this thinking must never be allowed to take root in the heart and mind of the evangelist. It should be written in illuminating letters in the heart of every evangelist that the evangelistic ministry is a direct calling of God and is not the apprenticeship to the pastoral ministry. The evangelistic ministry is equal in every way to all other ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-12. This biblical fact must be personally settled for an evangelist to be at peace with himself.
When an evangelist is involved in great revival and preaching with great unction, these are times unparalleled blessings. There are also times that after prayer, fasting, and study, the message that was chosen for a particular night seems destined for failure. These are the times when an evangelist must realize the difference between the anointing and inspiration. When a preacher is excited about speaking on a certain subject, he will find it easier to deliver his text with a certain enthusiasm. This will not mean that he is more anointed at this time; it simply means that he has great inspiration. If the evangelist is called of God to preach, he will find the anointing for the messages God gives him. It may or may not be evident during his delivery. Some will find it difficult to recover after an “off night,” but if the evangelist will continue to preach God’s great Word it will break the rock to pieces. God’s anointed Word will accomplish the work with or without our emotional highs.
When discussing the evangelist’s personal self, the subject of appearance cannot be overlooked. The first impression that a pastor or church receives is usually the one they never forget, thus demanding that the appearance–be viewed with great concern. The evangelist that is extremely overweight and unkempt is an epistle of lack of self-esteem and control. There must be extreme will power exercised on the evangelistic field, or the evangelist will be encouraged to over indulge in the matter of eating.
The evangelist should be neat and clean at all times that he might appeal to the people to whom he is ministering. Big, bold, plaids will often speak louder than the message that is being preached, so the more subtle, conservative colors and materials will enhance his appearance and attract less attention to self. Al though the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is not in the Scriptures, it is a rule that should be practiced daily.
It would appear that the career evangelist in the last days has become the lost coin of Pentecost, but it must never minimize the worth of a man called of God to the evangelistic field. Many people that have received the Holy Ghost in United Pentecostal Churches have been filled in revival meetings. Many churches have been strengthened and nourished by the ministry of the evangelist. The need for God-called evangelists is rising, and the need must be met by men that know the value of the evangelist and will not shrink back from the purpose.
In Zechariah the second chapter, there is a young man who goes out with a measuring line to measure Jerusalem. The angel of the Lord meets him and tells him that Jerusalem will be inhabited like a city with out walls. In essence, the angel is saying to the young man that when God is the center of an effort, it cannot be measured. When speaking of revivals and their results, let us put away the calculators. If we are attempting to put a wall of worth around an evangelist, let us put away the measuring line. Only eternity will reveal what can be done through “Ole Number One.”