How many times have you been made to feel guilty by a preacher exhorting you to be like some extraordinarily successful evangelist or missionary?
In this chapter, Dickson looks at the role of the evangelist, meaning literally ‘gospeller’ – who explains the gospel to those for whom it is news.
This is a pretty straightforward presentation best summed up by saying that while all Christians are called to be witnesses, not all are gifted as evangelists (I’m sure not). But evangelists have an important role to play in ‘promoting the gospel’ within the local church. Local churches should be identifying, encouraging and releasing such people into ministry. Such people are marked by:
– A keen desire to tell the gospel to others
– Good relational skills
– Maturity in Christ
– Clearly able to explain the gospel in everyday language
This describes well one of the most effective evangelists I’ve ever met. But thinking about him I’d want to tweak the list a bit. I know ‘maturity in Christ’ includes this, but I’d emphasise as 1 and 2:
1: ‘A deep love for God’
2: ‘A deep love for people’.
Then I’d list the specific skills required for evangelism that Dickson suggests. Seems to me that love for God and love for people are the absolute foundations for all Christian ministry without which all the skills and abilities in the world will be of little use.