I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1973 and immediately began a full-time evangelism ministry. I was strongly committed to being an expository evangelist and gained a reputation for being just that. Knowing that I was so committed to the Scriptures, different people asked me, “Why are you not training people in evangelism? The gift of evangelism is not just to reach the lost but also to train believers, as well.”
They said that according to Scripture the gift of evangelism included equipping believers. They consistently directed me to Ephesians 4:11–12: “And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” I had not given that passage serious enough consideration, yet as I studied it I couldn’t deny its truth. If I claimed to have the gift of evangelism, then I had to not only reach the lost but also train believers to do the same. The two prongs of this gift were inescapable.
With that in mind, a few years after I began full-time evangelism, I started having training seminars for believers at the end of weeklong crusades. I saw God abundantly bless as believers learned how to overcome their two biggest obstacles in evangelism: fear and not knowing how to evangelize. I was then convinced that I was doing what evangelists were supposed to do based on Ephesians 4. I was reaching the lost, and I was teaching the saved.
My commitment to the Scriptures opened me to the need to train believers. I could not escape what the text was saying about the purpose of the gift. That training emphasis has now become EvanTell’s biggest component and the means through which we have multiplied our ministry worldwide. We train in four areas—churches, academic institutions, the workplace, and community groups such as pregnancy resource centers and disaster relief ministries.
God’s Word plainly tells us what an evangelist needs to do. It’s exciting to see what will happen as we continue to follow His instructions!