Being an Evangelist

The measure of a “good preacher” is often a very subjective determination, usually reflecting his likeability or his sermon delivery’s entertainment value. God is more precise and objective.

An evangelist will exhibit a good example. No matter how knowledgeable or proficient the preacher, if he does not practice what he preaches his work is in vain. Therefore, he must “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). In public or private life, he lives in a fishbowl and understands that it goes with the territory (1 Timothy 4:15). A Christian should be able to imitate a preacher’s conduct with confidence (1 Corinthians 11:1).

An evangelist’s life will include labor and suffering (1 Timothy 4:10). Labor because it is a chosen profession, not a privileged “calling.” A preacher’s work ethic should be beyond question (2 Timothy 4:5). Suffering because not everyone loves the truth (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:2-4); persecution is part of the package (2 Timothy 3:12). (To my preaching friends: If the kitchen is too hot or you will not work to prepare proper spiritual food, do the rest of us preachers a favor and get out of the kitchen; spare us the bad press.)

An evangelist must himself have a steady diet of spiritual food (2 Timothy 3:15-17). If a preacher will not read and study the Bible, he is useless, or worse, damaging to the church. One cannot teach what one does not know. Therefore, he must give attention to “reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). Heartfelt personal experiences or the latest psycho-babble may tickle itching ears but will offer absolutely nothing of value to the children of God. The instruction given by preachers must not be about what he thinks or feels but about what God said (2 Timothy 4:2).

“These things command and teach” (1 Timothy 4:11).