by Rick J. Lairsey
The focus of my evangelistic calling over the last 16 years has been, and continues to be, “giving a positive word of hope and healing to the broken and hurting.” My present ministry context as an evangelist is one that itinerates from church to church, week to week, traveling and preaching the Gospel for salvation and church revitalization. I find this important ministry often affirms the voice of the leadership of the local church in prophetic manifestations.
It is disturbing that many churches have silenced the voice of the evangelist by lumping them all into one basket of distrust. Some of this they have brought on themselves, as the church has been inclined toward performance-driven attraction rather than simply relying on the simplicity of the Gospel. I admit my bias, but I believe the work of the evangelist is critical to the church going forward, with a shifting toward the mandate for equipping and training to best benefit the local church.
To evangelize is to proclaim the good news of the victory of God’s salvation. Evangelism is the noun denoting that activity. This imperative has greater meaning when looking at the ministry offices listed in Ephesians 4: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. There is a mandate “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (vv. 12-13 ESV).
The church is in a leadership crisis, and the need to raise up leaders with missional intent must inform the efforts for evangelism.
The message God has placed on my heart for this season is centered on the word flashpoint. It’s about igniting passion or kindling a fire, which is the indispensable ingredient in the creative process. The fire of passion can change a life, and one passionate life can change the world.
Any firefighter will tell you fire is predictably unpredictable. Under the right circumstances, even a small fire can pose a great danger. If a blaze reaches the flashpoint, sometimes called the “flashover temperature,” every bit of the combustible material in the room─wood, paper, carpet, drapes, and furniture─will explode into a flame. The fire doesn’t even have to touch anything to spread. A confined blaze will heat the atmosphere in the room until everything in the enclosed space spontaneously ignites. If it can burn, at the flashpoint it will.
I believe the Holy Spirit has called this ministry to be a flashpoint for revival. The message is about unshackling ourselves from the past by stepping out of our self-imposed prisons of condemnation, and trading our mundane existence for the abundant life Christ offers. When we surrender our hopelessness to God and grasp the opportunities He has in store for us, we will awaken our dormant spiritual gifts and inspire others by our shining example.
This message is imperative, seeing that signs point to this being a critical time in history─a flashpoint moment─that requires awakening and revival.
Rick J. Lairsey is a national missionary/evangelist who lives in Preston, Maryland.
THE BROKEN AND MENDED
by Drew Eastes
Good news is hard to come by these days. Thankfully, God still calls evangelists to bring good news to those who need it. When God called me to become a vocational evangelist 11 years ago, I understood the core of my calling: tell broken people about a loving Savior. Traveling from church to church and preaching revival services has allowed me to share Christ with a wide variety of people.
Further, my calling goes beyond what happens in the pulpit. Frequently, the greatest moments for evangelism occur in the lobby of the hotel, at a restaurant, or in a Walmart checkout line at. Wherever broken people are, that is where Jesus desires to work. Therefore, no matter where I find myself, my primary objective remains unchanged: reaching people for Jesus Christ.
However, a few years ago, God showed me that my approach had been too narrow. Although I was busy trying to get people saved during a revival, I failed to invite the congregation to join my efforts. Not only was this ministry model theologically flawed, but it hindered the church’s ministry. For instance, several of the churches I visited each year did not see a single conversion in between scheduled revivals. This realization enabled me to expand my evangelistic vision to include the whole church. My calling was not merely to reach the lost in a given community for a week, but I was also called to encourage that congregation to reach their community during the remainder of the year. As a result, I made a commitment not only to preach Jesus to broken people but to remind mended people of a broken world in need of a Savior.
Since that time, God has continually burdened my heart to preach about the church’s witness in the world—both in terms of responsibility and ability. Sadly, many Christians do not share the Gospel for a variety of reasons. Some simply do not feel compelled to take the risk required by evangelism. Yet through the command of Christ, we have the responsibility to reach the lost (Matt. 28:18-20). Meanwhile, others in the church deeply desire to share Christ but feel incapable of producing results. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit, we also have the ability to reach our communities for Christ (Acts 1:8).
Over the past few years, I have found that this simple message can form a missional mind-set within a church that enriches its ministry for years to come. Out of these revival services, churches have taken the initiative to reach out to their communities: opening food pantries, buying vans to transport kids, and knocking on doors in their neighborhood. As a result, countless people have received Christ weeks after the revival services were over. This shows God’s work in the world goes beyond a set of services with a vocational evangelist like me. The task of evangelism belongs to the whole church—and that is good news.
Drew Eastes is an evangelist who lives in Durham, North Carolina.
PROUD TO BE PENTECOSTAL
by Andrew Flippo
My calling as an evangelist is to go wherever God has called me to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Whether that be in revivals, special services, or preaching on Sundays, God has called me to spread the Gospel to every person I come into contact with. Even if just one person is saved or filled with the Holy Ghost in one of my meetings, that is what matters.
I believe not only in the role of evangelist, but I realize God has also called me to be a revivalist. This means going into a church with the anointing God has given me and letting His Spirit revitalize that church into a new era of His glory and power.
God has given me a message of restoring the importance of the Holy Ghost in our lives and churches. God gives us the baptism in the Holy Ghost to do great and mighty things in His name. It is not theatrics, fancy programs, or great lights that draw a lost man or woman to the altar; only the Spirit of God can draw a person to salvation.
It is time to be proud to be Pentecostal once again. Apart from God’s power, we can do nothing. I still declare behind the sacred desk the clarion call that God gave Zerubbabel: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Through God’s Spirit, we still have the power to lay hands on the sick so they will recover, the power to cast out devils, and the power to preach the pure Word of God.
What we need to be asking once again is what Paul asked the Ephesian believers: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2). It is time to be an Acts 2 church in a 21st-century world.
Andrew Flippo is an evangelist based in Spartanburg, South Carolina.