For the last 10 years I have had the privilege of shepherding college students as the Chaplain of Virginia Wesleyan University. In the last year, there has been a stirring in my spirit about new ministry. Here is my deepest conviction as I step out: God has called me into a different role within the body of Christ. I strongly considered and prayed about serving as a Pastor in a local church again. The guidance seemed very clear to me, that my calling and giftings best fit the role of missionary-evangelist. I am drawn to people who do not yet know Christ’s love. I am energized when I cross lines of culture, race, religion, worldview and language (if it’s Spanish ) in order to share Christ. My greatest joy is to see people experience the love of Jesus and his redeeming power. I do not want to miss this calling!
I will be appointed as a “Conference Evangelist” within the United Methodist Church as of July 1. Last semester, I wrapped up teaching my course: The Wesleyan Revival: Methodism for the fourth time at VWU. I embrace Wesleyan theology and methods but will gladly work with other churches. The Kingdom of God is our longing and pursuit! Evangelists in our culture often have a negative stereotype. Therefore, I want to be clear: I have no interest in big hair, Cadillacs or coercive appeals for money! My examples come from the Scriptures.
In Acts 8:26 – 40, Philip the Evangelist is led by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with the Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch believes and is baptized, thus the church in Africa begins! In Acts 21:8, Philip is referred to as an evangelist.
This passage from Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus outlines “The Five-Fold Ministry,”five clear leadership roles to equip or train God’s people for ministry.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Paul lays out a grand vision, that we would attain “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ!” Let it be, Lord! The church in this country has an abundance of pastors, the other roles seem lacking in numbers. In my role as evangelist, I will partner with local churches to help them become active, confident and effective in sharing the Good News of Jesus. We know that we must go to the people and share in coffee shops, homes, the marketplace and other settings. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples . . .” Plus, the cultural expectation that people will “go to church” is gone.