GOD DESIRES FULL DEVOTION
When Jesus Christ became the Lord of your life, He became Lord of everything. Your plans, your talents and skills, your thoughts, your feelings, your family, your body, your life – all these now belong to Jesus Christ, not to you. If you have not given Him everything, from your heart, to do with as He wills, then do this today. Tell this to the Lord in prayer.
Then every day, pray to be searched by the Holy Spirit, who brings conviction. Let Him show you the things that you need to freshly surrender to God. Confess and repent when you recognize sin or failure, selfishness or fleshly desires. Disciplining your flesh will make you a much stronger disciple of Christ. The Bible says to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…” (1 Pet. 5:6).
Below is a list to help you examine your life. This is not about rules or outward conformity. This is a way to honestly evaluate your life and ministry, from the heart. These questions are meant to help you grow in your personal life and become a better tool in God’s hands. Be honest with yourself; and above all, be honest with God. We cannot fool God. He knows what is in our heart, and He sees everything about our lives. It is always best to approach God humbly, asking for His help and grace so that we can grow into stronger and more faithful servants of His.
If some of these things are not yet true of you, but you want them to be, ask the Lord to help you. Then make time to actually do them! It has been said that we make time for what is truly important. If these things are important to you, you must begin to make time for them.
AN EVANGELIST’S GROWTH LIST
- Do I spend regular time in prayer and Bible study each day?
- Do I take time to listen to God, to wait for Him to speak and reveal His thoughts and plans to me?
- Do I ask the Holy Spirit to search my life? Do I confess my sins regularly?
- Do I study the Bible and plan carefully any preaching work I am to do?
- Am I trying to improve myself in speech, appearance, knowledge of the Bible and my skills?
- When I go to preach, do I have other believers with me?
- Have I asked God to attend the ministry He has given me with His anointing and power?
- Am I filled with the power of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2?
- Do I have people who will pray every day for my ministry and for me, especially when I go to preach or share the Gospel with others?
- Do I pray for more boldness, in order to best preach Christ?
- Have I fasted and prayed this month?
- Do I know what the Bible says about praying and trusting God for finances, so that the provision will be there to provide for my family AND my ministry?
- Do I have a mentor to help me? Have I asked God for someone to train me?
- Is there a man or woman I should ask to invest time and work into my life and ministry?
- Have I prayed and asked God to show me other men or women I must train and help in evangelism? If so, what am I doing about it?
- Am I disciplined in my walk with God or am I lazy?
- Do I spend good, nurturing time with my spouse and children?
- Do I put things off or do I work hard, keep my commitments and honor my word?
- Is my thought life pure? Does my thought life belong totally to God?
- Do I read the Bible and other Christian books to help me grow?
- Do I work with pastors to help fill their churches or plant new ones?
- Have I read and studied – and do I follow – the qualifications in Scripture for those who are called to leadership in Christ’s Church? (1Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)
A COST TO BE AN EFFECTIVE EVANGELIST
It is not easy to be in ministry, but the rewards of obedience to Christ’s call far outweigh the hardships. Seeing people come to Christ is one of the greatest rewards we can have on earth. The Bible teaches that he who wins [brings] souls is wise (Prov 11:30).
There are eternal rewards awaiting all who are obedient and faithful to Christ. For those who influence others for righteousness, Daniel 12:3 states: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”
The fruit of the Gospel and telling others about Christ is eternal fruit that will remain! God will both comfort and reward those who serve Him with faith and devotion.
Jesus understands better than any other the trials and opposition that we face in this life as His disciples. But we have His great example and can endure, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). Christ’s joy included knowing that His death would bring us back into relationship with God, His Father – our heavenly Father! We believers are also Christ’s joy, His beloved Bride for whom He anxiously awaits (Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:7-9). Bringing other people to salvation through Jesus should be our joy, also.
Fulfilling God’s call upon your life may cost you a great deal. There is a cost to every believer to give up riches, selfishness and fleshly desire and become like Jesus.
As you give up your life to live Christ’s life of sacrifice, you will do more of what Your Father is doing. You will see more of God’s power and presence with you. As you remain disciplined and faithful, you will become more skilled at winning souls, and in becoming a “fisher of men” (Matt 4:19). You will grow in wisdom, and be rich in the things of God. Serving God with our lives is well worth any cost to us! (1Cor 9:19-22)
PERSONAL LIFE OF THE EVANGELIST
An evangelist – like all believers – must strive to live pure and upright before God. He or she must have right relationships with their family and community. Fruits of the flesh, such as wrath or being judgmental, will reflect badly in your preaching. Treating your wife or children poorly displeases God, and affects the reliability of your witness to others. Cheating someone gives Christ, whom you represent, a bad name. Saying you will do a thing and then not doing it is dishonest and ungodly. Your sinful behavior must be dealt with in order that you represent Christ for who He is and for what His redeeming power can do!
An evangelist loves the Bible and reads it and studies it. He looks for opportunities to share the truth of the Lord, but he does not neglect his other responsibilities such as his family or work. An evangelist prays much – on the train, walking, in the company of others or alone, always praying and listening to God.
The heart of the evangelist must be soft and teachable. As you wait upon God, He will help you know Him better. As you grow to know Him more, you will be a better evangelist because you understand your Father. Jesus did only what the Father did, said only what the Father said (John 5:19; 8:26). Our goal as ministers is to know God so intimately that we are led by His voice and know His will.
If you are married you must treat your spouse the way Jesus would treat them, and love them as He loves His Church (Eph 5:25). Treat your wife with gentleness and understanding (1 Pet 3:7). Treat your husband with honor and respect (Eph 5:33).
If you are not married, you must keep pure in mind and in body (1Thess 4:3-5). The Lord knows what you do in private beyond the eyes and ears of others. The single minister must strive for purity in both thoughts and actions. They must quickly confess any failure and keep themselves from bondage to sinful behavior.
Every relationship of business, family, church or friendship must be above reproach so that the work of Jesus is not compromised or spoken of in a bad way. Many of us have heard of someone resisting Christ’s salvation because a believer they knew was unkind, untruthful or unfaithful. They have “stumbled” because of the believer’s sinful actions (1Cor 10:32,33).
As a minister, you represent the King of Kings. Your words must be true; you must do what you have promised. If you do not live up to your words but instead make excuses, it may be a point of stumbling for another, causing them to resist Christ. You represent Jesus every minute of the day, not only when you preach, but through every action. Let your speech be encouraging, not foul or full of criticism (Eph 4:15,29; Col 4:6).
God desires us to be useful vessels of honor (2Tim 2:21). You would not serve your guests with dirty dishes. You would want to offer them food on clean vessels. God receives honor when you are clean and made ready as His vessel. If sin, evil speaking or bad habits dirty your life, you will not be as effective for God.
Take time now to ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart. When He speaks to you, confess, repent in prayer and allow Jesus to remove the dirty things. You will be free and much more useful to the Master. Repent before God often. Take the low place so that God may lift you into His higher purposes. Make repentance and confession part of your daily prayer: Ask God to search you; ask for His forgiveness; ask God to make you whole.
YOU MUST STUDY GOD’S WORD, THE BIBLE
The Bible is your source for Truth. You must daily read it, study it and memorize verses so that you can grow and mature, and then teach and preach well. You must never preach anything that cannot be fully supported by the whole counsel of Scripture. Much false teaching exists today. The Bible warns that false teachers and false doctrines will arise in the last days, and many will be led astray. As you are learning, search the Scriptures daily to ensure that what you are hearing is from the Word of God (Acts 17:11).
A man who does not know the words of God cannot give the full counsel of God to people. The Lord directs, “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15 nas).
There is an evangelist in India who memorizes verses from the Bible every week. His children also memorize verses weekly. He has memorized thousands of verses. When he is needed to preach or counsel, or when he needs wisdom, he has stored the Word of God within his heart. This man knows the power of the Word of God to transform people and to guard himself from evil (Ps 119:11).
YOU MUST BE A PERSON OF PRAYER
Prayer in the life of the minister or disciple of Jesus is not an option – it is an essential command, found throughout the Scriptures! You must discipline yourself for prayer.
Develop good prayer habits. Pray at a set time each day. Pray as you walk or sit. Pray continually, day and night (1Thess 5:17) Pray both in the spirit and with your understanding (1Cor 14:15). Fasting and praying breaks bondages over people and even regions.
One evangelist in Africa asks different churches to fast and pray together. These meetings help unify the churches in purpose, and multiply their spiritual effectiveness. The work of the devil is thwarted when people gather in prayer! The churches are transformed and many people come to Christ because the churches and evangelists pray and work together.
You cannot be the minister or evangelist that God intends you to be without prayer. In prayer you find freedom, forgiveness, strength and the guidance you need.
Also devote regular times to pray with your team or with another leader. Find intercessors and ask them to pray for you every day. Take time to pray with others, and to pray alone. Pray over the land and people where you will preach.
BE A CONTINUAL LEARNER
It may not be possible for you to attend a Bible college or seminary. Find God’s will on the matter and follow it with faith. If possible, attend teaching seminars or Bible classes in your area.
Take opportunities to talk with other ministers and evangelists. Learn from them, and offer to serve with them or help them. If they are available, spend time asking them questions. Go to hear them preach. Listen, evaluate and learn.
Many effective men and women of God have not had a formal Bible education, but have still done great things for God. The best ministers are those who study their Bibles diligently, keep on learning whatever they can, and then keep applying what they learn. Learning is more than taking a class. Learning is something one does for a lifetime.
FIND A MENTOR IN CHRIST; BE A MENTOR TO ANOTHER
Pray and ask God to give you a teacher, a mentor in the Lord. This is someone who is mature in God, and who will help you grow. Mentors offer advice as they watch over your life. In many countries, a younger man asks an older man to be his “spiritual father”. This applies as well to women who need “spiritual mothers”.
The role of the older person is to guide and teach the younger, to be a helper who gives wisdom. Paul had this kind of relationship with Timothy (1Tim 1:2; 2Tim 1:2). It was obvious that Paul loved Timothy and wanted the best for Timothy. Paul was willing to sacrifice and take time to help and teach Timothy.
The younger should respect the gift and experience of the older. In this way the younger gains important knowledge through the experience and wisdom that was learned over many years. It is God’s way to train a younger generation of leaders.
You should also begin to look for one or two others to train, who need the benefit of your experience and learning (2Tim 2:2). Pray and God will show you whom you are to train and mentor.
REJECTION AND TRIAL
The work of evangelists puts them in constant contact with those who will either accept or reject Christ. Those who reject Christ will often reject the evangelist as well.
Not everyone accepted Jesus and His message when He preached. Some people will be angry with you or hate you because you bring the Good News. Some evangelists will be beaten and threatened for preaching Christ. Even family members may turn against you. Jesus told us that we would be persecuted because of Him (Matt 10:16-20).
People may speak slander or make false accusations. It is important that you not let your hurt become offense or grow into bitterness, for that will defile you and others (Ps 37:8; Heb 12:15). Decide to not take offense when others wrong you. Neither should you seek revenge. This is not God’s way to deal with hurt (Rom 12:17-21). Man’s anger never produces God’s righteousness (Jas 1:20).
You must forgive those who have wronged or hurt you (Matt 18:21-35). Come to God as to a loving Father who deeply cares for you and accepts you (Rom 15:7; Eph 1:6). You can pour out your pain to God and ask Him to heal you (Ps 42:4; 62:8). Let your heavenly Father comfort, shape and transform you in your trials.
If you do not let God take care of your wounds of rejection, the devil will try to use them against you when you are preaching the Gospel. You may be tempted to compromise your message in order to gain the acceptance of people. The Bible calls this dreadful trap “the fear of man” (Prov 29:25).
Beware also of the trap of success. Success in evangelism may lead you to begin to take credit and glory for yourself. You can easily fall into the sin of pride and begin to minister from fleshly motivation. Beware of pride (Prov 11:2; 16:18; 1Pet 5:5-9).
We must come humbly to God with our hurts, repent of our selfishness and pride, forgive those who have wronged us, and ask God for His healing in our lives.
When you allow God to heal you, you will have more of God’s confidence and love. You will recognize that He loves you, and that you are valuable to Him. You will then be able to love the people who reject and hate you from your position in Christ – a place of overcoming strength and unconditional acceptance.
HAVE A STRATEGY FOR MINISTRY
Do you know where your ministry is headed? Do you have a vision from God for your work in life? If you don’t, you can ask God to give you His vision and direction for your life. If He has given you a calling and assignment for ministry, He wants to show you what to do to fulfill that call!
In a very unique visitation, Isaiah saw the Lord in a vision (Isaiah 6). Isaiah recognized his sinful condition and repented, and was changed. God called him as a prophet and revealed direction and purpose for Isaiah’s life. This type of visitation was not common, and usually reserved for very specific people in Scripture for whom God had a unique calling (such as Isaiah, and Saul in Acts 9:1-19).
But God has called you for ministry. He has a purpose for you to fulfill. As you seek Him with diligence and spend time in prayer, God will help you begin to understand His desires for your life and ministry. He may give you dreams or visions. Or He may just quietly unfold His purposes as you trust and obey Him day by day (Prov 3:5,6; Matt 6:33).
Jesus did only the things His Father revealed to Him. He said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19,20). Jesus did the Father’s will. He did not do or speak anything except what the Father revealed to Him. Jesus modeled for us our need to be completely dependent on the Father.
God has revealed Himself and His purpose throughout the Bible. One of the best ways to discover God and His purposes for you is to study the Bible as much as you can. The Bible is a “light to our path” (Ps 119:105). It illuminates our way, helping us to see where to walk. Allow God to show you afresh the truths of Scripture to lead you in His ways.
God may also give you specific direction about ministry assignments. Do you want to reach a certain town for Christ? Have you prayed and asked God for His strategy? Have you asked Him if He has a specific way for evangelism to take place, or how a church should be planted? God will sometimes give you very specific steps to take in order to do His will.
Let the Holy Spirit speak to you and guide you in making decisions – such as where to preach, what to say, who to work with. Do not be eager to build a following or get a reputation. Do not be eager to build your ministry or have “success”. We work for eternal fruit (John 15:16), not for reward on earth (Matt 6:1-4).
Be willing to go and work – when and where the Spirit directs you, for God’s glory. Each city or town is different; so the strategies for reaching each place or people group may be different.
The Apostle Paul had been given a strategy for his missions. He preached to the religious Jewish people first; then he went to the non-Jewish people. On His second mission trip, he wanted to go north and east; but God stopped him. He had a dream in which a man from Macedonia (Europe) was calling to him to come and help (Acts 16:9,10). Paul was trying to do the will of God but he was about to go in the wrong direction. God wanted Paul and his team to go east, into Europe with the Gospel.
In Macedonia, Paul met Lydia, who became the first convert in Europe (Acts 16:12-15). Lydia owned a business. She offered her house to Paul to use for his work, and it became the first church in Europe. This house also became a base for evangelism into Europe. Lydia and her network of contacts surely helped Paul in spreading the Gospel. God had a clear strategy, but Paul had to understand that strategy in order to fulfill God’s desire.
Wait on the Lord, praying and ministering to Him. Sing to Jesus; praise Him; pour out your heart to Him; and then wait to hear from Him. He will release His desires to you. God may give you specific vision or strategy, or reveal His will in mental pictures or by words and impressions in your mind. Write down and date what He tells you and shows to you. Pray over these things, and submit them to other godly people whom you trust. Then begin to step out in faith to do what God has shown you to do!
2) Mission Statement
Once you have a sense of direction or vision, it is helpful to write down a mission statement. A mission statement tells in a very short form what you are called to do. This statement is more useful when it is general rather than too specific. For example, instead of writing, “We will plant five churches and two orphanages and hold meetings this year”, it is better to write, “We will spread the Gospel by planting churches and doing social works as the Lord directs so that Jesus is glorified.”
Separate the areas of work into specific goals and write them down. For instance, if God calls you to also start a school, include that in your mission statement as well.
After writing a mission statement, prayerfully describe in writing how you will make your vision and mission happen. Do you have a plan to carry this out? Write down the goals you are led to meet. This is the time to be more specific.
For example: “In two years we will train two pastors and plant two churches in this area; in five years we will have five more churches.” Or, “Our team will preach the Gospel to every village in this area – in one village a month, for the next three years.” Or, “We will distribute 10,000 Gospel tracts in this city in the next six months. We will also hold street evangelism meetings in all four areas of the city once a week.”
Making a strategy will help you be consistent in your work. Through prayer and listening to the Lord, you will understand His strategy for you. The Lord will also give you strategies to help the churches work together in evangelism.
Your mission statement and your goals should be very familiar to you, always in your mind, ready to be spoken to anyone who asks. You should pray over these writings often, and be willing to make changes and adjustments as they are necessary.
Hearing from God and then working out the details in faith will allow you to be effective in fulfilling God’s purposes for you. Others will also find it easy to understand and support you and your work.
BUILD AN EVANGELISM TEAM
Jesus built a team of twelve. And He sent His workers out by twos; they came back for more instruction and interaction, and then went out again. The Apostle Paul built teams. He sometimes went alone, but he preferred to work with a team.
Each person on your team will have different gifts than you. These additions will increase your effectiveness in ministry.
One evangelist has a woman on her team who has the gift of healing. This person often sees the miracle power of Jesus heal people in the meetings. Many people are open to the message of the Gospel when they see Jesus heal people through this woman’s ministry. Another man on this team has the skills to organize large campaigns (crusades) in cities.
This evangelist has also trained other evangelists on her team. There are three evangelists on the team who can all preach in the markets, visit prisons or hospitals, or do whatever else is necessary to share the message of salvation.
Raising up and encouraging workers who can help support your evangelism outreach will help you make a greater impact. A team becomes like a family where needs are met and the goals of the mission are accomplished.
BE A KINGDOM SERVANT
God does not call anyone to build his or her own ministry. God calls you for His purposes, and allows you to partner with Him as Jesus builds the Kingdom of God!
Some church leaders want to serve God, but they also want to build a big name for themselves. They despise and ignore other leaders and ministries. They are selfish, and do not serve other ministries as a partner. They think their ministry is the best one, and their work the only important work. How sad for the world and for the Church! This kind of leader is focused on himself – not on the needs of others, and not on God’s true Kingdom work. This is not the Spirit of Christ.
Partnering with people and other ministries brings greater glory to God and more effectiveness to the work. Encouraging and helping other ministries brings God’s greater blessing on your ministry. When you give, you will receive (Luke 6:38). When you lose your life (and desires) for Christ’s sake, you will gain true life (Matt 16:25). When you take the “lower place” of serving other ministers and ministries, God will promote you (Luke 14:10,11).
Your vision should include working with other groups, churches and ministries. This is building the larger Kingdom of God, not just a single church, denomination or ministry. When ministries work together, people see unity in the Body of Christ and God’s blessing comes (Ps 133:1-3). Evangelists who gather and work with many churches in a city bring great blessing to that city.
TAKE TIME TO REST
Many workers have “burned out” like old embers in a fire because they did not take time to rest. Their physical bodies became sick; their minds became tired; their spirit became weak and could not resist temptation. God commands that we spend a day each week to rest. We all need rest!
Every minister – and every person – must take at least one day each week to renew themselves in God and to rest the physical body, the mind and the spirit.
There may be times when your schedule will require you to give much more than should be normal. But you must make time to rest and find calming activities that refresh you.
When Jesus and His disciples were ministering, so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles didn’t even have a chance to eat. Jesus told them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
Jesus took regular time away for rest and for prayer. He, as our example, helps us to understand that no one is exempt from God’s command to rest.
A VESSEL OF HONOR
Remember, people will receive what you say far more readily if they respect who you are and how you live your life. Bringing yourself under the full rule of God’s Kingdom is a lifelong process. You should always be growing, learning and submitting to God’s transforming work and purpose for you.
Evangelist, God has called you to carry His message of salvation to others. You can be a living example of the transforming work of God in a person’s life. Watch over your personal life as to its purity, focus and discipline.
God is committed to your transformation as you seek out His help. He will love and strengthen you for your work by changing you from the inside out. You must obey and follow His Word. Take time to examine yourself in God’s presence and respond to His words and work in your life and family. You will then be an evangelist and minister of the Gospel who is a vessel of honor, fit for the Master’s use!
THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS
Your character – what you are becoming – is far more valuable to God than what you will do for Him. God is more interested in transforming you to become more like Jesus than in how much work you can do for Him.
Obedience and devotion to God are far more important to Him than successful meetings and numbers. The desire to see Jesus known for who He really is – in all His glory, power, majesty and splendor – should far outweigh, even replace, any desire to further your own reputation. Keep these thoughts in mind as you daily go about your ministry. These guidelines and teachings are meant to help you become a highly skilled worker for the Lord Jesus Christ. Apply yourself to these things and trust the Lord to use you for His sake and glory!