Protection and Priorities
As we continue with the Evangelist’s Ministry in Chapter 3, we examined the Delineation of the Evangelist’s Ministry in Part One and started looking at the Differences and Similarities of the evangelist’s ministry compared with the pastor’s ministry in Part Two. Part Two noticed that the Purpose of their respective ministries are similar. Now let’s further examine their differences and similarities.
Protection and Direction
Pastors’ and evangelists’ ministries are also similar when it comes to protecting and directing Christ’s sheep. Ephesians 4:14 continues God’s revelation of Christ’s leadership gifts. (Remember that Eph. 4:11-16 is one sentence specifically focused on Christ’s leadership/preaching gifts.)
- “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
Like the wind, cultures and man’s doctrines are constantly changing. Pastors and evangelists are the human anchors that Christ has given His church to stabilize His children in the truth. There are cunning deceivers who “lie in wait” in media (i.e. books, TV, radio, music, movies, video games, social media, internet, etc…), in government, and in religion. Like crafty magicians with sleight of hand, they deceive their audiences into believing false teachings (“doctrine”). Especially “in the last days” (II Tim. 3:1), God through Paul stresses in II Timothy 3:13 that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” In verse 6 of II Timothy chapter 3, God points out, “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.” They will have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (verse 5) Proverbs 14:15 reveals, “The simple believeth every word.” As a result, “the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12) But Jesus, the Chief Shepherd, does not want simple children and lambs who are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” So, Christ made provision by gracing His church with the gifts of pastor and evangelist. In prudence, the church must look well to its going (Proverbs 14:15), foresee the evil of these deceitful men, and hide themselves (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12) under the protection and direction of Christ’s gifts: pastor and evangelist. Believers must see the importance of being in a local church led by a shepherd who is assisted by evangelists. Believers must “turn away” (II Timothy 3:5) from these deceitful workers who state things in media that contradict God’s Word and Christ’s gifts of pastor and evangelist.
Pastors themselves must understand the importance of working together with evangelists (as well as evangelists with pastors), without envy and without strife, so that their own flock be not “tossed to and fro.” Christ gave both gifts (pastor and evangelist) to protect and direct His flock from deceitful men and doctrines. Pastors’ and evangelists’ ministries are similar in purpose and in their responsibility to protect and direct Christ’s church.
Strong’s Concordance defines pastor as “a shepherd.” A pastor’s ministry priority, therefore, is to his sheep.
- “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – I Peter 5:2-4
The shepherd is responsible to “feed the flock of God.” He must be an ensample “to the flock.” The flock is the pastor’s local church that God has given him “oversight thereof.” Another title given to pastors is “bishop.” Strong’s Concordance defines this word as “a superintendent.” It is also used as “overseers” in Acts 20:28. Pastors are the superintendent of their own local church. As seen by defining his title, a pastor’s ministry priority is to his local congregation; his church; his sheep.
An evangelist’s ministry priority is different from the pastor’s. As seen by defining his title, an evangelist’s ministry priority is to “preach the gospel.” The evangelist is responsible for making sure that the pure, unadulterated gospel is preached to all people. As we have previously mentioned in “The Delineation of the Evangelist’s Ministry,” part of the evangelist’s ministry in preaching the gospel is reaching the lost. Even though a pastor is responsible to reach the lost around him, a pastor is also responsible for the daily cares, struggles, and burdens of his people and his church. As a result, a pastor does not and ought not give himself totally, every second of the day, to preaching the gospel. However, that is the whole responsibility of an evangelist. An obedient evangelist is focused on preaching the gospel always to all people. Preaching the gospel is the evangelist’s job; it is his title and definition. Christ, in His infinite wisdom, knew that His church needed some men whose whole focus and relentless duty was in preaching the gospel.
The other part of the evangelist’s ministry in preaching the gospel is reviving the saved (also in “The Delineation of the Evangelist”). You see, the pastor has to focus on the day to day activities of his sheep. As a result, he can be so close to his people and their circumstances that he misses some obvious problems. For example, a person who writes a news article or a book is wise to have an editor or a proof reader. Why? Because the writer is so close to his material that he can easily miss spelling and grammar errors or ideas that aren’t clear enough to a casual reader. The forest gets lost by the individual trees. As an outsider, a Spirit-led evangelist can quickly discern errors in the church. An evangelist can spot wolves in the church even if they are in sheep’s clothing. (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29) A Spirit-filled evangelist can also notice if “another gospel” has crept into the church. (Galatians 1:6-7) How? Since an evangelist’s main ministry focus is the gospel, his thoughts and attention are often centered on the gospel. The Biblical evangelist has spent much time in research, study, preaching, memorization, and meditation on the gospel. With all of this hiding God’s Word in his heart (Psalm 119:11) concerning the gospel, the evangelist is sensitive to sinning against God by changing Christ’s gospel. By studying God’s Word concerning Christ’s gospel, the evangelist will rightly divide and interpret God’s Word concerning the gospel (II Timothy 2:15). An evangelist is a preacher of the gospel so he must know what he is preaching concerning Christ’s gospel.
We want to remind the reader that not all men who call themselves “evangelist” are actually evangelists. Just as many pastors who call themselves “pastor” are not pastors. Many pastors are “hirelings” or “wolves” addicted to kingdom building for numbers and fame. Other pastors want to be both an evangelist traveling the globe and a pastor shepherding his sheep at the same time. Many men for many decades have been trying their hand at this unbiblical experiment. We say unbiblical since no one is given permission by God in His Word to play at both gifts simultaneously despite its modern popularity. Both jobs cannot be performed correctly, effectively, nor scripturally at the same time. The result: there has been no major revival for over 100 years at least! Truth and scripture cannot truly be faked for long and without devastating consequences. If Christ’s church really wants revival, we need to get back to using Christ’s gift of the evangelist and stop replacing it with pastors.
Going back to evangelists, the term “evangelist” has been used very loosely to refer to any traveling or itinerant preacher. However, when one finds a true “preacher of the gospel”, you have found a true evangelist. This author has himself had the blessing of hearing from other preachers the compliment that this evangelist was a true biblical evangelist. I deeply cherish that. Any true evangelist wants to fulfill the true definition of evangelist: “preacher of the gospel.” (Throughout these articles, we will go in more depth with the fallacy of associating evangelism with merely itineracy. Section 4 is one such article.)
So, we can see that there are some obvious differences in the two gifts’ ministry priorities. A pastor’s priority is his sheep and his local congregation, and the evangelist’s priority is on preaching the gospel.