A New Breed of Missionary – Sponsored Evangelists
Many evangelists go out for 2 or 3 hours one night per week after work to evangelise in the streets. This is at the end of their day when they are not at their best. They give their best to their employer and the exhausted left-overs to their God and the lost.
Churches that hold evangelistic events do their best to promote the events in the community or by asking Church-goers to invite friends. Unfortunately, these events rarely attract many of the lost. There may be a handful of non-Christians who attend, but the majority of attendees and converts are usually Christians and back-slidden church-goers. As a result there is usually little effect in the community.
The Crazy Question:
Why aren’t there many full time evangelists within Christian circles?
- Traditionally the role of the evangelist has been to move from event to event in a public speaking role within church events or crusades.
- Every church must have evangelists in it somewhere! Most are not full time practicing evangelists but instead just do some on the side but still maintain regular secular careers. Some evangelists are hibernating and need to be woken, equipped and encouraged.
- Churches send full-time missionaries off to distant lands to reach the lost.
- There are full-time teachers and leaders and ministry workers within the flock but how many evangelists are infiltrating the community full-time?
- Most evangelists are busy working secular jobs so that they can feed their families.
- How many lost people hear full gospel presentations via the average local church? Lets be generous – perhaps 200 per year?
- Less than 5% of church goers actively evangelize on a regular basis.
- Churches spend almost all of their resources caring for the saved within their own Church (this includes maintaining a Church building, utilities, rent/mortgage, staff, Church events, counseling etc…) NB. These are all valid and worthy causes, don’t get me wrong.
- How many people could a full-time evangelist reach in a year if he/she was freed from other responsibilities; if that was their full-time job/career, they could focus on what they are passionate about, what they are gifted at and what they are CALLED to do!
The Concept (part A):
- One full-time street evangelist could share a complete Gospel presentation with more than 20 unsaved, un-churched people per day and hand out more than 100 tracts. If they did this 220 days per year, that is over 4400 gospel presentations with the lost and more than 22,000 Christian tracts per year.
How many Churches reach this many un-churched people, even with their large teams and budgets?
The Concept (part B):
Where will the evangelists come from and how can we mobilise teams of them?
- Send out teams of evangelists to all Bible-believing Christian Churches to hand out brochures after the services. Recruit and direct people to a website which explains the Concept. Find a few evangelists from every Church. Promote online via websites and advertisements.
- Develop a presentation for business owners etc where they could sponsor evangelists (be it full time or part time).
- Develop website and tracts to support people that are impacted in the community/ a point of contact for them to be followed up, discipled and from where they can access resources from.
- Develop accountability processes for recording results to show and encourage the sponsors and the local Church.
- Some people could see it as a business opportunity rather than a ministry (sad but possibly true).
- If locked in under a paid salary position, some evangelists could become cold and not rely on the Holy Spirit and risk falling in to the danger of evangelizing to meet quotas.
- It could run the risk of taking away an evangelists passion by putting it in the compulsory/every day job scenario.
- If evangelism was “enforced”, would people lose their ability to be Spirit led?
- If an evangelist back-slid, he/she may be forced financially to live a lie by continuing to evangelise whilst living hypocritically, so as to continue “feeding the family”.
NB. But, all of these dangers are equally valid for ANY full-time/paid ministry position and are not unique to sponsored evangelism.
Most evangelists are good sales people and with the right training, would not find it too difficult to promote the concept or find sponsors within Christian circles.
Before being considered for a sponsorship as an evangelist, the individual would have to meet strict criteria and complete a volunteer training course and undergo a 2 week full time, on the street, apprenticeship with an experienced mentor (evangelist).
Things To Consider:
- Could “Sponsored Evangelism” work on both a part-time and full-time position?
- How much sponsorship $ is required per Evangelist? Is it a set amount or is it up to the evangelist?
- What models of sponsorship could be presented/offered? Corporate/Individual/Church
- How many sponsors would be required per evangelist?
- Is it a bad thing to turn evangelism into a paid career? (Preachers are paid for full-time ministry, but none would be driven by the money)
- Support: Evangelists need a mentor and regular meetings with one another
- Prayer teams
- Evangelists to go in pairs? One to watch and pray while the other evangelises? Or both to evangelise depending on the scenario or group setting. Obviously not male and females together as a couple unless they are a married couple or family/related to each other. What is the biblical model: research it
- Perhaps evangelists to do some part-time work on the side to keep them relevant in society and to create an extra income and to give them a “cover” for when it is needed under certain circumstances. Also, this would help to create more organic witnessing encounters.
- Video footage could be taken of some evangelism attempts and successes and used for the presentations. Also, provide video testimonials from converts.
- Evangelists spend 98% of their working time doing what they aren’t most passionate about in life. They are most passionate about reaching the lost. But they are usually frustrated because they are trapped working in jobs that are not aligned with this calling, but nevertheless essential for maintaining a living.
- Evangelism is unpaid unless it is from a pulpit but then the people who listen to the pulpit are usually already saved!
- Why aren’t street evangelists sponsored to reach way more people than a paid pastor or pulpit preacher ever will?
- Where possible, some evangelists could be 100% self-funded (their version of a “tent-maker” so as not to be a burden) If this could work, why isn’t it happening more?
- Perhaps a good way to test the concept would be one day a week full time evangelism and 4 days secular paid work?
- Each evangelist on the team would need to have a website address and materials to give to people: CD’s, MP3’s, DVD’s, books, tracts etc
- Need to have ministry business cards with email and possibly a ministry mobile number so that the people they connect with and impact can keep in touch be discipled.
- Evangelist can then continue to disciple people via email plus continue to send resources and connect them to a local church. Converts can then be passed on to mentors who can disciple them. This will free up the evangelist to do more evangelism!
- The model needs to include regular feedback for the sponsors Perhaps regular dinners where sponsors can have testimonials and stories. It’s almost like how investors receive statements and even dividends on their investments; sponsors would receive updates and testimonials from the evangelists that they sponsor.
How many Churches are there in Australia? For example, even if there were only 1000 Churches and there were 2 potential evangelists in each of those Churches who were not being utilised in the current structure of the Church, this would put 2000 full time evangelists out on the streets where they are needed.
This evangelism model could potentially enable the modern day married man or woman the opportunity to live as the biblical apostles like Paul and Silas and Peter and John.
Other points to consider: Research possibilities for tax-deductible sponsorship / donations.
Other ideas: Sometimes the best evangelism opportunities come during everyday shopping etc, so perhaps they could be given several errands each day to complete so that they can have some real encounters, but the errands would be secondary.
Do you have another idea to add? Simply leave a comment below or contact us directly via the contact us form.