Most churches have a pastor. Some of them may be bi-vocational, but every church wants a pastor. If they are able to add a second staff person, it will normally be someone to work with youth or music. Rarely, does a church “hire” an evangelist.
This practice seems to ignore Ephesians 4:11-12, which identifies two key leaders for the church: Pastors and Evangelists. Those are two very distinctly different ministries. The evangelist gets people to the front door. The pastor watches the back door. The evangelist brings people “to” Christ and the pastor helps them to grow “in” Christ. The evangelist and pastor are not normally the same person.
Ephesians 4 is the only place in scripture that gives the job description of an evangelist. There is a tendency to think of an evangelist as someone who travels from church to church holding “evangelistic meetings” or “revivals.” But his role according to Ephesians 4 is primarily one of training. His role (like the pastor’s) is to “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.”
The main job of an evangelist is not to evangelize. His task is to inspire and train others to do evangelism. The evangelist does evangelism because he is a Christian… not because he is an evangelist. By focusing on training others, the evangelist leverages his time and giftedness. Instead of just one person doing evangelism, many can be involved.
One of the reasons so little evangelism is done in most churches is because they don’t have an evangelist doing his job in their congregation. The solution to this is simple. Just appoint someone to this position (like they did with the pastor) and give him the role of training people in evangelism.
This kind of training does not happen in a classroom. It takes place when an evangelist walks shoulder to shoulder with others. It cannot be a seminar or a class. It must be modeled. There are no lectures that will solve this problem. The local church evangelist must train by doing it with other believers.
Every church would benefit from having a full time evangelist on staff. The spiritual nursery would be filled with new believers. Imagine the difference it would make if there were a regular flow of recently saved believers in your pews. That can happen if there is a point man that devotes his time to “equipping the saints.” But what if you can’t afford an additional staff person? The answer may be in the pews. An evangelist is most likely already there… quietly doing evangelism without position or recognition.
Bible Colleges and Seminaries primarily train pastors. So who trains the evangelist? IFCA International recently launched an equipping event called the “Harvesters.” This is a workshop to help inspire and train local church evangelists to inspire and train people in their church for evangelism. IFCA can help you with this.