When we read the gospels is appears that Jesus selected specific disciples to become evangelists. There was no apparent information that would suggest those who were called to be evangelists did so for any other reason other than they were asked to follow Jesus. Today’s evangelists, when asked, say they had a calling. Most claim to have some sort of spiritual calling or pull towards the ministry of evangelism.
So did the original disciples who became evangelists do so because they had a spiritual calling or because they were called to do so by Jesus Himself? Truth is, they were called by both. I truly believe those who became evangelists then would have done so today without Jesus verbally calling them to the ministry.
God calls very specific people to do very specific work for Him. Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11 and 12 tells us that Jesus “gave the Apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, for the building of the body of Christ”. He uses all four of these positions for a purpose. The next two verses explain exactly what this purpose is.
“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, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” ( Ephesians 4:13-14 ESV)
The purpose, the goal, is to build the body of Christ, the church, and to do so until the church attains the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Notice what was just said. It appears to be saying “until we attain the unity of faith” and “until we have the knowledge of the Son of God”. But that’s not what it is saying. It is saying, “until we attain the unity of the faith and until we attain the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God“.
These are two very specific goals combined together. The one goal is unity. In it there are two things we need to attain. The first if faith. This faith must be unified. This means that every member of the body of Christ must have the same faith. The second is that we must be unified in our knowledge of the Son of God. Every member of the body of Christ must believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead after three days and ascended into heaven where He is now seated at the Father’s right hand, that He will return someday to call together all those who believe in His name and that we will live with Him forever in peace.
This unity is important and helps empower the members of the church to testify of Jesus to the world.
When a church body has members who disrupt the faith of the body with disunity it causes a breakdown in both faith and unity of every member to one degree or another. There have been churches that have come to complete ruin because they could not be unified in spirit and love. When the leaders do not intervene and teach the unity through faith the church will die.
On the on other hand, when the body is unified in faith and knowledge it is impossible for the disruptive member to cause a problem. If the leader (and the members) do their jobs right they will either lead the disruptive person to the truth and repentance or they will ask the person to leave the church. This or the person will leave on their own because they find they cannot get what they want; to destroy God’s work.
Before anyone can become an evangelist they must be a faithful member of a bible believing church body who are united in faith and in the knowledge of Jesus. This faith and knowledge is the center of our belief system. It is what helps drive us to want to share Jesus Christ with others.
To answer the question “Can anyone become an evangelist?” is simple when you understand everything we have covered so far. The answer is “No”.
Not everyone is called to be an evangelist to begin with. There are some who try to get into the ministry as an evangelist but continually fail or become frustrated with the lack of results they were expecting. Not everyone has the faith it takes to stand in the face of those who absolutely do not believe and do not want to believe. Or, to stand in front of those who would kill you for even attempting to speak the name of Jesus to them.
Just as those disciples who became evangelists by the calling of Jesus had to undergo training and experience, we, too, must undergo training and be in prayer over the decision. We need mentors to help us gain experience.
More than anything, we must do it the way Jesus called us to evangelize. Going back to the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God there is a unity of the knowledge of the teachings of Jesus we must have as well. We need to follow the training examples set by Jesus to His disciples and learn how their success worked because of their faith.
No, not everyone can become an evangelist because God has different plans for different people. Using the same example of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the position God puts us in is for the common good. He has a plan for each one of us and it may be evangelism or it may not. If you believe you are being called to the ministry of evangelism then begin by praying. Ask God to reveal His plan for you and wait on the answer. This does not mean you sit still and do nothing. Start training, reading, asking others about their experiences and find a mentor who is willing to show you the ropes.
Even if you are not in the mind of being an evangelist you can still share Jesus with others by sharing your own experiences with Him. Do not be afraid to tell your story and stand up against the persecution you definitely will have. But no matter what, remember to love those who persecute you.