The Apostle Paul encourages Timothy saying, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry,” 2 Tim. 4:5 Even though all Christians are to be witnesses to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, not all are given the gift of the evangelist. The evangelists are select group of people, who are gifted to enter communities that are not believers winsomely, boldly and with the authority that comes from the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:11-13). The evangelists are in our congregations.
The Apostolic church, though persecuted and on the margins, gave a bold and powerful witness to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The momentum for the evangelistic movement has continued throughout history to the 21st century because of this apostolic tradition. In the same way, every generation has the mandate to pass on what it received to the next generation so that the Gospel will continue to be proclaimed in our land until the Lord Jesus comes again.
The vision of the Texas District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to identify, train and deploy 500 evangelists to start 500 Gospel lights in the state of Texas by 2031 is BOLD sending. These evangelists will boldly share the gospel in their apartment communities, to their ethnic groups, in the sub-urban gated communities and in the small town and rural communities. This vision allows for a bi-vocational evangelistic ministry that will open the door for our people to serve people who would otherwise be out of reach to our congregations.
Moreover, the access to the Gospel seems to have an economic side to it in North America. The evangelistic movement will help us overcome the economic challenges to take the Gospel message to all communities. This idea is not new. As the Apostolic church did in the early days of the Christian movement, the churches in the global south are sending thousands of evangelists to all kinds of communities which is helping change the religious landscape in Latin America, Africa and Asia. As a result, the center of gravity for the Christian church has shifted to the global south. This type of an evangelistic movement is not culturally bound; it is the apostolic way. Thus, needless to say, I am absolutely convinced that the Lord will use us to continue to do the work of the evangelist faithfully, boldly and winsomely anywhere any time.
In support of the vision for 500 evangelists and 500 points of light by 2031, the Texas District has begun the development of an evangelist-training curriculum. We pilot tested the first course last winter and spring in Area B. We are now ready to expand the training to all areas. There is a formal registration process to enroll in the evangelist training.
Please follow this link to register.
By Rev. Yohannes Mengsteab
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area B