Skin in the Game: Evangelists
This week we’ve been looking at how the concept of skin in the game applies to the church.
Today, I want to look at how evangelists can have skin in the game.
For those of you who only think of loud preachers on television asking for money when you hear the word “evangelist,” let’s start with a definition. Evangelists are people who share the good news of Jesus with others with ease. Every Christian is called to be a witness to the greatness of Jesus. But not every Christian is called to be an evangelist. Evangelists are specially gifted to help people understand the Gospel and help other believers in the body of Christ share the Gospel. Most evangelists never get on camera or in front of a large crowd. Most quietly do their work of sharing the good news about Jesus in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces while helping the churches they are in get better at it as well.
While Evangelists love sharing the Gospel with lost people, they can have a tough time having skin in the game depending on their maturity level. Often evangelists are so at home with lost people that they are uncomfortable within the church. Church politics and religious veneers can frustrate evangelists who rightly understand that our emphasis should be on the good news of Jesus and getting it to the lost. Evangelists also sometimes struggle with discipling those that they lead to Jesus. Short conversations about the Gospel are easy for them. The long slog of helping a newly converted individual learn to follow Jesus over years of time is a lot harder for many evangelists.
So how do evangelists develop skin in the game?
The first thing evangelists should do is recognize that they need to be a meaningful part of the church. Even evangelists with traveling ministries should have long term relationships that function as church for them. The body is designed to need input from others with different gifts from ourselves. Evangelists are no exception.
But there’s another reason evangelists need to be involved with the church. The church needs them. As frustrating as the church can be at times, we need evangelists to pull us back to our call to be witnesses to the greatness of Jesus. This can be a frustrating process, but a mature evangelist knows they have much that benefits the church and will stay engaged in a church, not just for themselves, but for the good of the church. Remember, Paul tells us God gave us “evanglists…to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Lastly, evangelists can have skin in the game by making disciples. One of the critical problems with evangelism is the lack of discipleship that often happens after a person has come to faith. Evangelists, as the people who have won someone to Christ, are natural candidates for discipling the new believers they have led to Christ. Some of these converts will naturally imitate their evangelistic mentors and become evangelists themselves. Others won’t and will struggle, and this is where a good partnership with pastors and teachers will help an evangelist struggling with discipleship. Regardless, it does us no good to lead someone in a prayer to receive Christ but not teach them how to follow Him. Remember, our commission is to make disciples, not converts.
Evangelists need the church. The church needs evangelists. But the greatest truth is that lost humanity needs evangelists with skin in the game.
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