Where are all the good evangelists?

We have a situation in Pentecostal ministry. Seemingly, the number of Biblically-grounded traveling preachers has dwindled.

Replacing them is a growing list of theologically-unsound pulpit performers. The key word here is performer, because performance is the decider nowadays. ... "What were his revival totals?" ... "I hear he baptized 20 in a church 3 hours away." ... "Bro. ______ is a poet with sermons, an excellent speaker".

Numbers & showmanship. Is this the measuring line of modern ministries? It shouldn't be this way, nor do I imagine The Apostles ever intended such an outcome for The Church.

Let's explore why this has happened, and describe how it can be reversed.





One-and-Done

"You have one shot - just ONE - to impress a Pastor." This is very common advice told to full-time evangelists as they begin their ministries.

When a traveling preacher is scheduled for a Sunday service, he knows that if he does not "blow the doors off the hinges" in his first attempt, he may not get invited back.

Rarely do Pastors schedule a full-week or weekend revival to start, so there is an unofficial rule that the evangelist must DO IT ALL in the first service they preach.

Here's the issue: ask any retired Pastor and they'll tell you how silly that is. Pastors of old called for weeks of revival and saw God move in miraculous ways. One elder Pastor told me that the first 2 weeks of a long revival were spent just firing up the faithful saints.

Measuring the ability of a God-called minister based on one service is terrible judgment. Imagine if a saint measured a Pastor's ability by just one random service: what would they think of him? Would one service be an accurate measurement of that man of God's calling?

Reverend David Copperfield

The one-service-tryout for evangelists encourages them to be PERFORMERS. Showmen, and not servants of The Master.

Perform and you'll be called back to preach revivals. But what if God's message for the church that evening is not a "knock-your-socks-off" one? Well, tough!

Evangelists are forced into the choice of either (1) following God's will for the sermon (and possibly never being scheduled to come back) or (2) attempting to "perform" or just put on a good show the first time you come preach, and brush off listening to God's will in the pulpit for that service.

I leave it to you to discern which of those 2 options most traveling ministers choose.

There are countless times in my life & ministry where I've sat in the congregation and thought, "there was nothing in that message that helped me" - no conviction of sin, no deep teaching of The Word, no controversial subjects broached, no operations of The Gifts of the Spirit, no nudge of The Holy Ghost to change. Nothing! What do I call such messages? They are stage-show-sermons: guaranteed to keep you interested & entertained, and you never have to worry about any pricking of the heart or call to repentance.

But surely not all preachers do this? True, not everyone is guilty of this. There have always been ministers who balked at entertainment-preaching and strove to seek God for His specific word for that church in that service. I'm a happier minister when I'm around those men of God. They encourage you to be like The Apostles of old, and step out by faith. May we all endeavor to emulate them.

Reversing the Trend

How do we fix this? How can the tide of entertainment-services and showman-ministers be turned? It starts with addressing the cause. The laws of Economics teach us about supply and demand; corporations produce more products in high demand and fewer products in low demand. Spiritually speaking, the more we reward bad preaching, the more of it we'll get. So we must STOP rewarding entertainers with more-and-more pulpit time!

Ok, that's how we discourage bad preaching. But what about GOOD preaching? How do we incentivize Holy-Ghost-ordered services? How do we make it easier on the ministers who are LED by God, and not their flesh? ... Simple: by not scheduling just 1 service. The "one-and-done tryout" encourages bad preaching, so we must change the way first-time visiting preachers are brought in.

Have multiple services when you schedule a traveling minister. Some moves of God simply take more than one service to build up to. If we want the miraculous, then how many "seeding" services do you expect to sew & water before that "harvest" service of outpouring and revival comes?

A handful of services? A weekend? What sacrifice are you willing to accept?

My childhood Pastor, Bishop Don Johnson (Memphis, TN), once called a revival that lasted for 16 weeks: 4 months! Countless miracles took place, but there was something more than the actual measurable miracles. There was HOPE!


Hope that once again anything was possible in the House of God.

Hope that souls could be saved by the dozens.

Hope that the demonstration and operation of the Gifts of the Spirit was STILL HAPPENING today.

I still believe in miracles, and I hope for the outpouring of God's spirit in every meeting. But no matter what, I want to follow His will for that service. I must never give in to the temptation of performance and the rewards it temporarily brings.

So where ARE all the good evangelists? They still exist: waiting for your call, and ready for an outpouring of The Holy Ghost!

Comments

  1. Praise God, Brother! You are so right. We really look forward to your anointed preaching. I believe you follow God and it always blesses me and my family. Another thing that has happened to the evangelist is pastors. God didn't call pastors to evangelize. More and more pastors only let other pastors preach in their church. This really causes a problem for an evangelist . I know it does for Will.

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  2. Awesome word. We need more ministers willing to follow God and not just tickle the ears of the congregation. Thanks for being one of the "good" evangelists, willing to speak the Word of God even if it's controversial.

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