The 21st Century Retooling of the Church - Part III
The late 19th century and throughout the 20th Century “Evangelistic Teams” were formed to lead major evangelistic crusades throughout the United States and the world. As crusades grew larger and larger, so did the supporting cast with the evangelist to the point they brought their own cooks, head of ushers, publicist, etc. Soon there was a party of 50 or more on the team, and the cost to afford them would drain the local churches who were supporting the crusade. Only until the Billy Graham Assoc. came along were guidelines created to bring accountability to Evangelistic Teams.
After the crusade had concluded, the evangelist and his team left town, new believers were to go to local churches, and with the lost of the hype created by the crusade, things returned to normal. Five years later the cycle had to be repeated as another crusade might have to be planned.
In the future the 21st century evangelist could also be part of a team, but not an evangelistic team. He could be part of a supportive five-fold ministry team. It could be a local team, not an itinerant team that comes and leaves. The local team would remain in the locality it is targeting. This team will support and release the evangelist to “birth” this endeavor. If an evangelist works with a pastor/shepherd, there will be an attempt to shepherd the new lambs of faith that earlier crusades had evaded. If a teacher was part of the team, the new lambs could grow while studying the Word of God, the Bible. Also the validity of the Word of God would be central to this evangelistic endeavor. A prophet would aid an evangelist with discernment, seeking the will of the Father in how to reach the lost effectively, for every evangelistic endeavor is unique to its situation and culture. Prophetic evangelism worked with the woman at the well and brought revival to her town too! Finally, an apostle, whose needed “over sight”, “seeing over” what the Holy Spirit was doing while releasing the evangelist, the shepherd, the teacher, and the prophet to do what they are best gifted to do would bring the team together in unity.
This would be a totally unique approach to evangelism. No longer would the evangelist be one person trying to reach the masses, but a team of spiritually gifted believers, with different points of view and passions that would be accountable to one another, yet releasing one another to use their giftings for the unity of their purpose, to bring the lost to Jesus Christ, then bringing them to maturity in Christ, and bring unity to the Body of Christ.
Just think of the potential of winning the lost, birthing them into the Kingdom of God, then nursing them to maturity in Christ, teaching them the principles of the kingdom of God as Jesus did through the Logos, the written Word of God, the Bible, and prophetically speaking into their lives the Rhema Word of God, the living Word, while under the guidance and leadership of an over seer, seeing over their needs, their passions, and their visions.
This just may be one of the ways to “retool” the Church for effective evangelism, for equipping the saints for the work of the service, and for ushering the return of the Lord for his Bride without spot or wrinkle.