... as the spiritual gift of "evangelism." Or so says Ed Stetzer. After making that statement last week I have been thinking on his claim there and trying to match that up against the Scriptures. Do you know what I have discovered? I think he is right. The term "evangelist" is used only three times in the NT. Once in Acts in reference to Philip (Acts 21:8), once in Paul's second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5) and once in Ephesians 4.
The Ephesians 4 passage is usually the one that the argument for the spiritual gift of evangelist is promoted. But I would argue that the four "gifts" that are spoken there are not spiritual gifts but are spiritual roles that God has gifted to the church for the maturing of the saints. The Apostles were the eye witnesses of Jesus and His resurrection, the founding leaders of the Church. The prophets were those speakers for God in the early church's witness and expansion. The evangelist were those who specifically planted churches and labored to see the Gospel spread. The pastor-teachers are those who are laboring to shepherd a congregation through the ministry of the Word. These are roles, not spiritual gifts.
Now what does that say about evangelism? We have got to get around this stupid idea that there is some elite class of Christians who have the ability to bring the world to their knees by their amazing methodology of sharing their faith. We have to get it out of our minds that only 10% of the church has the gift of evangelism.
We have to get it into our heads that we are to be evangelists! Paul's words to Timothy are as applicable to us today as they were then. The church has to be about "doing the work of an evangelist." We must get it into our heads and lives that to be obedient as a follower of Christ I am called to proclaim my faith. All of us are! If you claim to be a Christian get on mission and start talking about the Gospel.
In that way there is no such thing as the spiritual gift of evangelism, there is a Church of people who are called to be evangelists. Every single one of them!