Have You Discovered the Evangelists in Your Church Plant?
Beau Crosetto offers six practical indicators for identifying (and uncaging) the evangelistic gift in your midst
If we are going to activate evangelistic people in our ministry, then we have to know what they look like! Sometimes this can be pretty easy if they are highly gifted and are more developed. But if they are a young person, it may not be as clear from the surface. What do you look look for to identify those people with the Ephesians 4 gift of evangelism (part of the five-fold gifts) in your church? Here are six indicators I often consider.
They spend lots of time with people who don’t follow Jesus.
Evangelists in your church will be people that naturally gravitate towards people who are not following Jesus. Often times, they have many friends who are not Christian and even prefer to spend time with them. They may say things such as, “I like spending time with non-Christians more than Christians,” or, “I can’t spend so much time at church, I have other friends, too!” Evangelistically gifted people naturally relate to and connect with people that don’t know or follow Jesus. They have an uncanny ability to have one foot in the church and one foot in the world. They are natural bridge builders between the two worlds.
Key Question: Who are the people in your church or ministry that spend lots of time with people outside it?
They love sharing the gospel and seem pretty natural at doing so.
Evangelists are also very enthused about sharing the gospel with people. They are often the people you feel should “slow down” a bit and let things develop. But they are just too excited! They tend to grasp the gospel message more easily than others, and they can articulate it more simply than most. Evangelists will tend to be the people asking you for books on sharing the gospel, as they are really eager to understand how to talk about Jesus and do so well. The most obvious way to tell if someone is an evangelist is to see that they are leading others to Christ regularly. The friends they bring to church keep coming to the Lord.
Key Question: Who in your church or ministry is naturally and frequently sharing the gospel?
They regularly encourage other believers to witness.
Evangelistic people are also encouraging others to be a little bolder, a little more confident in talking about Jesus. Look for those people in your ministry that seem to be the ones motivating others to take that risk to invite someone to church or an event, or to sit a friend down to talk about Jesus. Evangelistic people often are often whom others go to for questions and prayer for friends outside the church.
Key Question: Whom do others in your church or ministry go to for answers to tough questions?
They aren’t real motivated to run programs inside the church.
You may have an evangelist on your hands if the person you are talking to is not very motivated about running programs inside your ministry. Often times, evangelists aren’t very motivated to run small groups with mostly believers in them or to run groups that care for people already in the church. Being outside the walls connecting with people who don’t know Jesus energizes them. However, if you offered them the ability to run a group for seeking people, they would start glowing! Be careful not to label someone as “not teachable” or “not a leader” if they are dragging their feet at running a small group. They may be an evangelist and need a different task.
Key Question: Who are the people in your church or ministry that seem unmotivated to lead programs inside the ministry and instead could be excited to lead something outside or for non-believers?
They often are critical about the group not being friendly to outsiders.
One of the best ways I find evangelists is by identifying the people that are the most critical about the programs we run in our ministry. It is often the person who feels our meetings are cheesy or the language is too “Christianese” for them to bring a friend. It is easy to get defensive with critical people in our ministries, but pay attention. If you have a person who is regularly suggesting that the way you run your group be more open, have simpler content or offer more engaging content for outsiders, then you may have an evangelist on your hands.
Key Question: Who are the people in your church or ministry that seem most critical about how the group welcomes outsiders, especially those who don’t know Christ?
Host a training and see who shows up!
Another key way I discover evangelists in my ministry is by hosting trainings on sharing the gospel, connecting better with friends who don’t know Jesus, or how to be a powerful inviter. Then I watch to see who shows up and who is excited about this training. Often evangelists are the people that are most eager and thankful for this input. They will want more and even be excited to bring others and promote it!
Key Question: If you were to host a training in evangelism, who would be the most excited about it?
Beau Crosetto loves helping people connect to and share Jesus right where they are. He is the author of Beyond Awkward: When Talking About Jesus Is Outside Your Comfort Zone and works with Greek InterVarsity leading a movement to reach fraternity and sorority students on 17 campuses in Greater Los Angeles.