Friday, November 18, 2016

Stop Criticizing the Evangelist - Are Evangelistic Crusades Effective? - Part 9

Stop Criticizing the Evangelist
Why do so many leaders in the body of Christ criticize crusades? While mass-evangelism is not the only effective method for leading people to Jesus, it is one of the tools that God has given the body of Christ for evangelism and church growth. Crusades are a tool; but they’re not the only tool.  Evangelism is a gift, but it is not the only gift.  We need all the gifts in the body of Christ in order to grow a strong church. 
The church has been given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). Each of the five-fold gifts have been given for a purpose. Each of the gifts represents a specialty. When my grandfather needed a surgery, he wanted a doctor who specialized in the type of surgery he required. He did not want a stomach specialist working on his heart. No one doctor can specialize in every area of medicine. In the same way, no one can specialize in all five-ministry gifts. I have met people who say  “I flow in all five ministry gifts,” but a close examination of their ministry reveals the absurdity of their claim. We need apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and we need evangelists.  Each of the gifts must work together because no one gift is able to meet all the needs of the body of Christ. 
Each of the five-fold ministry gifts has a different focus. Pastors protect the sheep, teachers train the sheep, but it is the job of the evangelist to catch the sheep. Pastors often criticize evangelists for not doing more to take care of the sheep after they are caught without realizing that the evangelist is not called to do that. In Acts 8, Philip the evangelist saw multitudes saved in Samaria. Later, Peter and John (the Apostles) came and taught about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There was a divine partnership between the different ministry gifts.
Often the same pastors who criticize the evangelist for not following up are the same ones who refuse to participate in the crusade. The pastors are given an opportunity to grow their churches, but instead of participating with excitement and diligence, and training their people how to win the lost and how to bring people to the church, the pastors will sit back and criticize and say, “This crusade is not going to be effective.”     
This criticism of crusade evangelism is wrong. It is counter-productive for one gifting in the body of Christ to criticize another gifting. A minister who uses one technique to reach out should not criticize other methods of evangelism. There are many gifts in the body and many different ways of doing things; each method has its proper place. 
For example, pastors who use the G-12 model for growing churches should not criticize churches like Willow Creek who use a seeker-sensitive model for reaching the lost.  Ministers who are excited about the gifts of the Holy Spirit should not criticize the Purpose Driven Churches of Rick Warren. I have met strong Christians who got saved in cell ministries, others who got saved in seeker-sensitive churches; and others who got saved in Charismatic churches. All three types of ministries produce Christians who love Jesus. God can use any technique or method to bring people to Himself.
As an evangelist, I do not speak negatively about the office of a pastor even though many pastors minister to the same people for fifty years without seeing substantial change. Some people in church struggle with the same additions, the same marital problems, and live the same mediocre lives for many years. Many sheep go to church every Sunday yet never advance in the Christian walk. In contrast, I have seen a sinner come to one crusade meeting and instantly catch on fire for God. There was overnight, instant change.

The office of the pastor should be celebrated and encouraged by evangelists. In the same way, the pastor should show respect to those who are called to be evangelists. The evangelist should honor the pastor but at the same time, pastors should honor evangelists for their unique contribution to the body of Christ.