All believers should be made aware of the dangers and difficulties involved in the evangelist’s ministry. Why? Well, if one is an evangelist or might become an evangelist, “see then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) Knowing that “the days are evil” can help the evangelist be diligently on guard in all areas of his life (“circumspectly”). For those who are not evangelists, first of all, please “pray for us” who are evangelists. (I Thessalonians 5:25; II Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18) Also, being aware of these dangers, God’s people can help Christ’s gift through difficulties on their journeys while Christ’s gift of the evangelist likewise helps you on yours. Notice what I Thessalonians 5:12-13 says, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Believers in Christ have a responsibility to know their pastor and the evangelists that come through their church. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their highs and lows of life? What are their burdens and visions for the church? What are their thoughts and counsels concerning God’s Word? By really knowing them, the church can then appreciate and esteem these gifts “very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Let’s briefly notice some of the evangelist’s ministry dangers and difficulties.
An itinerant ministry is physically wearing. Through the years, evangelists have had different means of travel: boats, planes, cars, horses, or just plain walking. But traveling has always been very tiring. In II Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul lists many of the hardships he had to endure for Christ’s sake.
- II Corinthians 11:24-28 “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Paul included “in journeyings often” as a hardship in his life. Travel is hard on the body. Also, notice from Paul’s list that there are “perils.” The more widespread an evangelist’s ministry, the more physical dangers he will come across: extreme weather, natural disasters, animals, disease, the heathen (who may or may not be peaceful), and even his “own countrymen.” As Paul mentioned concerning his physical being, “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
An evangelist must watch his sleeping and eating habits. An evangelist will have late nights helping a pastor and his people, and then he may turn around the next day and wake up early to travel to his next destination. An evangelist’s meals can come sporadically from those to whom he ministers. Or the food that he is served may not be very healthy. Special meetings with the evangelist can be viewed as “parties” which often means unhealthy choices of food. If you have non-nutritious food along with varied meal times, you are going to wreak havoc on your body. During Evangelist D. L Moody’s early years in evangelism, it is said concerning his eating habits that he “lived in a way that would have killed a man of ordinary constitution.” D. L. Moody himself said, “I was an older man before thirty than I have ever been since. A man’s health is too precious to be as carelessly neglected as was mine.” (Taken from “The Life of Dwight L. Moody,” pg. 62) As D. L. Moody became busier in evangelism, his health went the opposite extreme as he became increasingly obese, many writers agreeing that his weight was around 300 pounds. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost” (I Corinthians 6:19) and should be treated respectfully as such. Of course, many an evangelist journeys with his family. How the evangelist is treated is usually how his family is also treated: junk food, late nights, early mornings, sporadic meals and activities, etc…. All of these events can cause chaos to the family’s well-being and schedule: how and when to homeschool, health of all areas, time alone, time with family, etc….
The evangelist and the churches he ministers to should take great care of the evangelist’s physical well being and also that of his family.