Frequently Asked Questions
We don't. The reason we don't is because evangelism is not a spiritual gift. It is the calling and primary responsibility of every Christian.
Q: It seems like you guys make a big deal about something that the majority of churches don't agree with and don't really care about. Why don't more churches recognize Evangelists if this is really a biblical principle?
Appealing to the number of local congregations that recognize Evangelists does not make the truthfulness of our claim any stronger or weaker. To appeal to the majority is a logical fallacy.
The real question is whether or not Evangelists are biblical officers for the local church or not. If it is biblical, then the necessary follow-up should be what this position/office looks like. Those who want to impose our American standards upon the biblical text need to re-evaluate their priorities (see Romans 12:2).
According to Ephesians 4:11-12, the Lord Jesus Christ gave some as Evangelists for His church as an officer who equips the saints. The Apostle Paul wrote to a leader of the church in Ephesus in 2 Timothy 4:5 directing Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist." This work was necessarily confined to Timothy's ministry within the local church at Ephesus and was not a call to an itinerant ministry.
This is not to say that no Evangelist is ever called to itinerant ministry. The biblical revelation indicates that the primary work of an Evangelist is designed to operate within the local church. Similarly, one of the original deacons later filled the office of Evangelist when he settled in his hometown after leaving Jerusalem as part of the persecution that broke out after the martyrdom of Stephen (see Acts 21:8). This demonstrates that the early church identified the office of Evangelist from the earliest stages.
In other places around the world - e.g., Ethiopia - the office of Evangelist is often filled within the local church. The failure for most North American congregations in recognizing this officer is a great hindrance to the furtherance of the gospel and to unity among professing Christians.
It is not our intention to criticize the church of our Lord. Instead, we desire to serve our brothers and sisters in moving toward the glorious picture of what Christ's church can actually be when it is fully operational (see Ephesians 3:20-21 and 4:12-16).
Q: Do you think that everyone has to preach the gospel on street corners and witness to strangers?
No. All Christians should be saturated in the truth of the gospel. We must all be prepared to share the truth in love, no matter the context. For many Christians this does include street proclamation and witnessing. However, these are not mandated activities in the Scriptures for all Christians. What is mandated for Christians is to faithfully share the gospel with others in love as led by the Holy Spirit. FYM is not against relationship evangelism as long as genuine evangelism is involved.
We do encourage all Christians to participate in some form of one-on-one witnessing with strangers for equipping purposes. Even if this is not the primary method of evangelism that the individual feels called to engage in it is important for Christians to fellowship together and to encourage one another.
Often it is impossible for Christians to be together while sharing their faith. If I want to share the gospel with my friend from high school it is weird to invite you to come along and sit in on the conversation. However, if we go together in groups of two to make some new relationships with strangers in order to share the gospel with them having fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ is not strange. When we share our faith together we grow together. We sharpen one another. Then when we are on our own we are better equipped to share the gospel faithfully.
The responsibility to evangelize as an Ambassador of Christ is not complete once a person has faithfully shared the gospel with everyone they know. Therefore, it should be a natural by-product of growing in our faith that we begin to share the gospel with as many people as we can. This includes people we encounter in our everyday lives who need to know the truth of the gospel whether we have a relationship with them or not. When properly equipped, sharing the gospel becomes second nature. A natural part of the Christian lifestyle is regular testimony of the truth of the gospel.
Q: I've seen abrasive and hateful "evangelism" methods - is this what you are advocating?
Absolutely not! What the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers is appropriate for us today: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1, NASB). The gospel message itself is often scandalous and offensive. We by no means should add to this reality crass language or methods that are unnecessarily inflammatory.
The genuine Christian must understand that reaching out with the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most loving activity that we can engage in. Our methods ought to reflect this reality.
This doesn't mean that no one ever gets mad or upset when we share the gospel with them. People got pretty mad at Jesus when He did it, too! Are we going to claim that Jesus was unloving in His methodology and demeanor? Surely not!
Because we love our Lord we are willing to endure the scorn and ridicule of those who think the gospel message is foolishness. We must reach out with the gospel even if they hate us for it because we love people who are made in His image. Our love must lead us to faithfulness. This includes lovingly reaching out to those who are currently perishing under the wrath of God with the only message that can bring them life if they will repent and put their faith in Jesus.
Q: Do you really believe that every local church that doesn't have an Evangelist on staff is doing "church" wrong and that only you guys have it figured out?
Yes and no. Being a paid staff member is not the only thing that matters. Having an Evangelist as part of the leadership of every local church is how we believe Jesus designed His church according to Scripture.That means leaving this office vacant is just as damaging to local church ministry as leaving out the Bible and/or failing to have a Pastor.
However, we also recognize three other important truths:
1) "Church" is simply the gathering of believers,
2) God is able to work despite His people's mistakes and disobedience, and
3) we still have a lot to learn from other members of the body.
Since "church" happens whenever believers are gathered together in the name of Jesus (whether they are gathered in a home, a coffee shop, a street corner, or wherever), then clearly it is possible to do church without an Evangelist, a Pastor, or even a Bible. Worship is one of the aspects of the purpose for Christians gathering together and this aspect can and is fulfilled regularly without an Evangelist being present.
The hindrance comes when attempting to fulfill the external mission of the church. This is true when lacking any of the officers ordained and designed by Jesus - both in the actual implementation and in the preparation (i.e. equipping) necessary for the saints to walk in God's will and ways.
God will be glorified regardless of our human sinfulness. This reality should not cause us to ignore His plans, however. If and when we realize that we are in error (and we are all in error at least some of the time!) we should walk in the grace of God and repent of our error so that we can walk more fully in God's perfect will.
Regarding the final point, we understand that our ministry makes a big deal about one aspect of the church that the Lord has put on our hearts. This does not mean that other areas of ministry are not also important. It also does not mean that we have nothing to learn from ministering side-by-side with our brothers and sisters in Christ.