“And He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers….” (Ephesians 4:11)
An evangelist proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers. While the commission for this was given to the whole church, and every Christian is charged with spreading the Word, some are called specifically for this purpose. Presumably, those called are specially gifted for the task.
For me personally, the names that come to mind include Angel Martinez, Eddie Martin, Homer Martinez, Vance Havner, J. Harold Smith, and E. J. Daniels. Billy Graham and his colleagues Grady Wilson, George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows. Mordecai Ham, Billy Sunday, Dwight L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, George Whitefield. Roy Fish, Jim Ponder and Joe Atkinson, Bob Harrington, Gray Allison, and John R. Rice. Billy Smith, Richard Hogue, Wayne Bristow.
I suppose there was a “golden age of evangelism,” at least in our Southern Baptist Convention, when most churches scheduled annual revivals or evangelistic meetings and brought in a well-known evangelist. If so, the sun has set on that day. In our denomination, fewer and fewer churches schedule these meetings and the typical full-time evangelist has a hard time filling his calendar with meetings and then has a difficult time making a living from the offerings these meetings bring in.
“Why are pastors not scheduling vocational evangelists for meetings in their churches?”
I tossed out that question on Facebook. Answers flooded in. Many pastors were only too happy to say why they were not inviting these preachers into their churches. (Forty-eight hours later, that question has received two hundred responses.)