By Bill Hogg – October 11, 2019
As I travel across Canada I am struck by the startling paucity of the gift of evangelist; one of the gifts King Jesus has given to his Bride (see Ephesians 4:11). This gift has been suppressed. I look around and ask, ‘Who are our evangelists? Where are our evangelists?’ I see a pressing need to identify, affirm, encourage, and equip Canadian evangelists.
Evangelists are recruiters who love the gospel, love sharing good news, and love lost people. Evangelists have a heart for those far from God. Evangelists are ‘story tellers’ not because they are raconteurs, although evangelists are frequently great at story telling. The heart of an evangelist is fixed on and stirred by the story of God and sharing it with broken people in a broken world.
As part of the bigger dream of raising up evangelists, I gathered a group of Canadian leaders as a step on this journey. I facilitated a learning community with my friend, Brent Trask. We spent a week in Chicago learning, laughing, praying, sharing and pressing into the calling of an evangelist. We spent a day with evangelists Luis and Andrew Palau and worshipped and learned with other leaders at the BGC sponsored ‘Amplify’.
We were stirred afresh to show and share the love of Jesus. We had significant gospel conversations with people far from God. Our little crew also prayed for a physical healing, led a cab driver and a couple of Uber drivers to Jesus!
On our final night Brent treated us all to a baseball game. Thirteen of us contended with a rain delay, wondering if the elements would conspire against the White Sox and the Yankees. After three soggy hours, the first pitch was thrown. Our group became night owls and plotted a nocturnal return to our accommodations. Four of us piled into an Uber and were greeted by Javier. When he discovered why we were in town, he began to share his mother’s eclectic spiritual journey. The conversation shifted. He began to share his difficult boyhood. He spilled his present pain and brokenness. Filipe began to share the gospel in Spanish. Javier responded in Spanish, then English. Ryan tag-teamed the gospel. Javier turned the radio off, as he listened intently about the one who came to bind up the broken hearted. By this time, we were at our destination. The conversation flowed. Ryan offered to pray for Javier, who quietly accepted the invitation. Ryan seamlessly explained how Jesus came to live the life Javier could not possibly live and Jesus died the death Javier deserved to die. He explained the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, the truth and power of the resurrection, and God’s generous offer of forgiveness and new life. Ryan then asked Javier if he would like to receive Jesus into his life. He did! I chatted with Javier as the others slipped off to their rooms. I thank God that I got to spectate a Ryan-Felipe gospel tag team and encourage a spiritual baby in his new life in Christ!
This little story from the harvest fields reminds us of a big lesson. Many people are actually more ready and ripe than we imagine. I want to see a new generation of evangelists – but we can all be good news people! Jesus said, ‘…I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.’ ( John 4:35)
Lord, make me spiritually attentive to those around me finding their way back to God. Lord, open my eyes in Jesus’ name amen.
May God give us grace to listen well, step up and pray, and speak out in Jesus’ name!