Emotional Dangers and Difficulties

Evangelists must watch their emotions. Wrong emotions are dangerous and will be detrimental to God’s work. For instance, the evangelist must guard against anger. And don’t misinterpret “spiritual anger.” It is said of Martin Luther, the Reformer, that he loved to preach angry. In fact, Luther did not feel he had preached rightly unless he preached angry. But is this biblical? No.

  • “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” – Ephesians 4:26
  • “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath…” – Psalm 37:8

Some evangelists preach in strife and anger, but remember the example of Jesus.

  • “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” – Luke 4:22

The Bible likewise exhorts all believers:

  • “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” – Colossians 4:6

Whether from the pulpit or in person, let your speech be seasoned with grace, not anger. Along this same thought process, evangelists must guard against bitterness. Because true evangelists preach so publicly and openly for Christ and against sin, they have a very clear “bulls-eye” on their back. And not all backstabbing will be from your enemies. Although it is not right, pastors and lay people alike may say some very hurtful things. There have been many times that a pastor got up to introduce me to his church only for his introduction to turn sour and bad mouth evangelists while describing the various horror stories he has experienced with evangelists. After such an introduction, I would be invited up to preach. At that point, the godly evangelist must focus on the task at hand and pray for God’s grace and mercy despite the terrible beginning. Praise to God, this evangelist has never, ever sunk so low as to come to the pulpit in retaliation and start bad mouthing pastors and relate the many, many horror stories my family and I have experienced from the gift of the pastor like the event that just transpired right before I entered the pulpit. The Spirit-filled evangelist will not stoop to such debasement.

  • Phil. 1:15 “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
    16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
    17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.”

Remember that part of your ministry is to unrevived believers. And when sin abounds, love becomes cold. (Matthew 24:12) Many may lie to you. “Yeah, I’ll come to church this Sunday.” “So, you want to schedule a meeting with our church. Well, I’ll call you back.” Many of those who say ‘I’ll call you back’ never will as the author will attest. Sometimes the pastors forget. Sometimes, and this author wants to say this lovingly yet truthfully, the pastors were actually lying just to get you “off their back.” Of course, lying is wrong (Col. 3:9, Eph. 4:25), and God will judge, but, you must not hold a grudge or get bitter.

  • “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.” – James 5:9
  • “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:18

The evangelist must also watch out for depression. Even the great prophet and miracle worker, Elijah, became depressed as seen in I Kings 19:4, 10, and 14. Biblical evangelists are itinerant (Acts 8:40). Since evangelists are constantly “passing through”, they may not see the results of their work. Philip was sent by the Spirit into the wilderness to lead one man, the Ethiopian eunuch, to Christ in Acts 8. But whatever happened to that eunuch? Philip was “caught away” by the Holy Spirit in verse 39 and “was found at Azotus” in verse 40. Philip may not have ever seen the eunuch again. But the evangelist must “walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7) Evangelists are at various areas for too short a time to get any clear idea of just how much good their ministry has accomplished. There are sometimes where there is instantaneous revival or multitudes saved, but those instances are rare. The normal Christian race is one of plodding faithfully “with patience” for God (Heb. 12:1). No matter what, though, the evangelist must be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58) At the same time, the evangelist will receive constant pressure to produce huge results. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated, and definitely don’t stoop lower in order to produce results that are acceptable to fickle man. To the carnal Corinthians (I Cor. 3:1, 3), Paul reminded that it is “God that giveth the increase.” (I Cor. 3:7) Some fruit of a godly Christian life is the salvation of souls as Pro. 11:30 attests, but it is more than that. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” which is so much more. This is why my ministry’s and website’s motto on our home page is:

  • Is. 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

The evangelist’s focus must be on simply preaching revival and gospel truths, as is his job description from his title, laying precept upon precept and line upon line. The Christian race is not a sprint, but rather, a race of endurance. Ignore the pressure to produce quickly – the real fruit of the Spirit is:

  • Gal. 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

People sometimes joke when someone exaggerates that they are “evangelistically speaking.” Evangelists get a lot of slack for having “big numbers” but not having many of their converts stick. For example, it was allegedly found by some researchers that seventy percent of Evangelist D. L. Moody’s converts in his huge citywide campaigns afterwards became backsliders. (“Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians” by James Lawson pg. 207) Does that mean the evangelist is ineffective? No, because one must remember that any evangelist is only in an area for a short period of time. For the rest of their lives, almost all of the evangelist’s “converts” are going to be led and taught by someone else other than the evangelist. The evangelist is not the shepherd. The evangelist simply plants and waters (I Cor. 3:7). It is illogical to put all of the pressure on an evangelist who is in an area or at a church for a few days to see scores saved, baptized, and completely matured in that short time frame. The evangelist must guard against feelings of depression and discouragement. He cannot always trust what he has seen or heard as to how fruitful his ministry has been.

Evangelist means “preacher of the gospel.” His method of getting out the gospel is “preaching” the gospel. In this chapter, we have noticed the ministry of the evangelist. In delineating his ministry, we saw how the evangelist is to reach the lost and revive the saved. An evangelist’s ministry purpose is similar to a pastor’s purpose. They are “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12) Pastors and evangelists are also similar in their protecting and directing the church away from deceitful men and contrary doctrines. (Eph. 4:14) However, evangelists and pastors are different in their priorities, preaching, and position. A shepherd’s (pastor’s) ministry priority is to his sheep. An evangelist’s ministry priority is to the gospel. A pastor’s preaching will be broad (“all the counsel of God” Acts 20:27) while an evangelist’s preaching is specific (the gospel). A pastor’s position physically is mainly fixed and stationary, whereas, an evangelist’s position physically is mainly itinerant. A pastor’s position spiritually is the leader and overseer of his local flock. An evangelist’s position spiritually is to authoritatively preach the gospel. We have also pointed out some dangers and difficulties to the evangelist’s ministry. There are physical, spiritual, social, financial, and emotional dangers and difficulties associated with the evangelist’s ministry.