Of Course Evangelism is a Spiritual Gift

Every so often I hear someone make the statement that evangelism is not a spiritual gift.  Usually this is said in an effort to keep Christians from thinking that they are off the hook when it comes to sharing their faith just because they do not feel particularly gifted in evangelism.  The intention is good.  Lots of Christians either really believe that it is someone else’s job to do evangelism, or they just don’t care that they are neglecting their job.

The Bible is clear.  We are all called to evangelize.  Jesus did not place any limitations on The Great Commission.  He spoke directly to His disciples, but His words are to be obeyed by all Christians until He returns.  So, I am not arguing that only some Christians are called to evangelize.  I am arguing that the call of all Christians to evangelize does not eliminate the possibility that there could be a gift of evangelism.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

Sometimes this passage is cited when people say that evangelism is not a spiritual gift.  It is argued that Paul lists several offices in the passage.  He is not listing spiritual gifts.  I agree with that understanding of the text.  But do those called to these offices not have special spiritual gifts that equip them for these tasks?  Regardless of whether you are a cessationist or continuationist, we all know that prophecy is a spiritual gift.  Would we not expect a prophet to have the gift of prophecy?  Is anyone arguing that teaching is not a spiritual gift?  Surely we expect those who teach to have this gift.  Why would we not expect evangelists to have a special gift of evangelism?

Think about this with me in a slightly different way.  Romans 12:6-8 lists service, generosity, and mercy as spiritual gifts.  Is anyone arguing that only those with the gift of service are required by God to serve?  Is anyone arguing that only those with the gift of generosity are required by God to give?  How about mercy?  Surely we would recognize that it is required of all Christians to show mercy to others.

Perhaps you might object and say, “But the Bible doesn’t mention a gift of evangelism.  The Bible clearly lists service, generosity, and mercy as spiritual gifts.”  That of course is true.  We’ve already seen that Ephesians 4:11 is talking about the office of evangelist not a gift of evangelism.  However, I do not understand any of the lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament to be exhaustive.  In fact, I do not think we can develop an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts simply by combining the individual lists that we find throughout the New Testament.  So, I do believe that there is a spiritual gift of evangelism.

Consider Billy Graham for a moment.  The man led many crusades and saw thousands of people come to faith in Jesus as a result of his ministry as an evangelist.  Can we really say that he was not particularly gifted by the Holy Spirit in a way that equipped him to lead so many to faith in Jesus?  Maybe you have a friend in your church who is able to turn a conversation about the weather into a conversation about Jesus with seemingly little effort.  Most of us find such conversations challenging.  Would you not say that your friend has the gift of evangelism?

Again, none of this lets anyone off the hook.  Whether evangelism comes easy to you or not, you are called to evangelize.  It’s part of the job description as a Christian.  May we become increasingly faithful in fulfilling this call on our lives.

What do you think?  Is evangelism a spiritual gift?  Why or why not?

SBC PC: A Video Interview with Nathan Rose

This year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference is June 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The conference will feature 12 preachers who all come from average-size SBC churches.  They will be preaching through the book of Philippians over the course of the two day conference.

As you know, the speakers for the conference met at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a colloquium back in February.  The speakers gathered to get to know one another and study Philippians with Dr. David Allen and other preaching faculty members from SWBTS and NOBTS.

I had the privilege of attending the colloquium, and one of the things I did while there was interview the speakers for the Pastor’s Conference.

Nathan Rose is the Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, MO.  Nathan is a faithful pastor who is committed to shepherding God’s flock through expository preaching. We are excited to hear from Nathan at the Pastor’s Conference.

Watch this video interview and pray for Nathan as he prepares to proclaim God’s Word to us in June.

Nathan Rose PC Interview from SBCPC on Vimeo.

Keep checking SBC Voices over the next several months as we will be posting more content related to the conference.

SBC PC: Jamie Cartledge Answers Some Questions about Chris Davis

Editor’s Note: Each of the speakers for this year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix, AZ was nominated by someone.  I have asked each speaker’s nominator to answer a few questions about the person they nominated.  Chris Davis of Groveton Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA was nominated by Jamie Cartledge.  Below are Jamie’s responses to the questions I sent him.

How do you know Chris?

In August of 1990, the fall of my 7th grade year, I began attending a Christian school in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Knowing no one in my class going in, I went about the process of getting to know my classmates and hoping that some would develop into friendships. Mathematical acumen, love for baseball, and a poor excuse for a “Stupid Human Trick” were the right recipe to start my friendship with Chris Davis. It probably looked a lot like most Middle School friendships initially and certainly didn’t immediately portend all that would come. The following spring my mother passed away after a multi-year battle with breast cancer. That type of event in the life of someone so young serves to purge a lot of insignificant things from your life. My friendship with Chris was not one of those things and grew in depth very quickly. We continued through Middle and High School and, along with a couple of other friends, Proverbs 27:17 came alive to me. At our school’s ‘See You at the Pole’ rally the fall of our senior year, Chris was asked to share a devotional. That was the moment when I felt that I knew God was going to call Chris to the ministry. Amusingly, later that day when I told him he was going to be a pastor he vehemently denied that would be the case. It would appear that this, along with the argument regarding whether Albert Belle or Ken Griffey Jr. was the better baseball player, would be times that I was right and he was wrong. Our lives diverged as we left for college, but our relationship never did. I was a long-distance partner, through prayer and conversation, in his ministries from the hills of West Virginia working in a town with a rampant drug culture to Minneapolis where he lived in an area with a myriad of Somali immigrants and refugees. During those years we were a part of each other’s weddings and began developing our family friendships.  It’s truly an honor and a blessing to call Chris my friend. It’s an even greater blessing that our families can call each other friends.

Why did you nominate Chris to preach at the Pastor’s Conference?

Now why did I nominate Chris to preach during the Pastor’s conference? Truthfully, it wasn’t because we’ve been close friends for years. It truly boiled down to the vision for the Pastor’s Conference this year and the fact that if I were in Alexandria, Chris would be my pastor. I was talking with one of the Pastor’s Conference planning team members and he shared their vision for what they wanted from the speakers and Chris’ name quickly came to mind. Chris is a dynamic expository preacher with perspectives that I believe are extremely valuable to the Church in America. Along with his work in West Virginia and Minneapolis, he’s been a pastor in Phoenix, AZ and last year moved to the greater Washington DC area in Alexandria, VA. He has continually served in diverse congregations, which is especially important to him as the father of a diverse family. He and his wife, Rachael, have 4 children. One is bi-racial, two are African-American twin boys, and their youngest is Caucasian. I often say that their family picture is one of the better examples of what heaven looks like. Chris’ diligence in his study of the Word is something that I’ve seen up close and he has the ability to share the gospel in a way that seminary professors and brand new believers can both come out with understanding and being well fed. Finally, I wouldn’t nominate Chris if he was just a good “preacher”. He is a flawed, imperfect man who knows it and doesn’t attempt to put up a façade. He is as genuine as anyone I know and has an uncanny ability to build relationships with almost anyone regardless of socio-economic standing, spiritual or political beliefs, or history. That’s the model that Christ set for us, and I believe that’s what Chris attempts to model for his family and his church.

And yes, I’m very much looking forward to listening to him preach in Phoenix.

SBC PC: A Video Interview with Ryan Rice

This year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference is June 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The conference will feature 12 preachers who all come from average-size SBC churches.  They will be preaching through the book of Philippians over the course of the two day conference.

As you know, the speakers for the conference met at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a colloquium back in February.  The speakers gathered to get to know one another and study Philippians with Dr. David Allen and other preaching faculty members from SWBTS and NOBTS.

I had the privilege of attending the colloquium, and one of the things I did while there was interview the speakers for the Pastor’s Conference.

Ryan Rice is the Pastor of Connect Church of Algiers in New Orleans, LA.  Connect Church of Algiers serves the City of New Orleans by proclaiming a message of Hope, Healing and Restoration through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They equip every follower of Jesus to impact their home, community, and world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by connecting, growing, serving, and going as the church. We are excited to hear from Ryan at the Pastor’s Conference.

Watch this video interview and pray for Ryan as he prepares to proclaim God’s Word to us in June.

Ryan Rice, Sr. PC Interview from SBCPC on Vimeo.

Keep checking SBC Voices over the next several months as we will be posting more content related to the conference.