When you picture an evangelist, who or what comes to mind? Most of the time, when I ask people that question, they respond describing the likes of Billy Graham, Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday, or numerous others who have become known throughout history for standing in front of large crowds of people and proclaiming the “gospel.” What if I were to tell you that this is an unfortunate description? There are actually several problems with this view of the evangelist and evangelism, not the least of which is that it fails to take into view the greatest evangelist of all time- Jesus.
We don’t often think of Jesus as an evangelist, but we should. His message was the “Good News of the Kingdom” and he spoke and lived that Good News. “Good News” is the at the heart of evangelism- really. Evangelism comes from the word euangelion which literally means “good news” a.k.a. “gospel.” Evangelism then is the term we use to reference sharing Good News. Sharing the Good News of the Kingdom then is by definition what evangelist does with words and in actions. From his words to his actions, Jesus embodies the way of the evangelist. Because Jesus is the Greatest evangelist and our Lord, we must look first and foremost to Jesus when we look to understand what evangelism “looks like”!
So, what can we say of Jesus’ way of evangelism? Well, hopefully you will come Saturday to discover more but for now, I will say this; the true way of evangelism looks more like talking with an outcast, or inviting a despised person to lunch, or defending a sinner “caught” in the act than it does speaking to an auditorium filled with people. Don’t get me wrong- I am just sayin’… we follow Jesus!
Grace to you, and peace