So, I’m an evangelist now…what does that mean?

What do you think of when you hear the word “evangelist”? Most of us probably think of someone who is really gifted in sharing their faith. When I was growing up, I also thought it was what you called the minister who preached revival for the week. It could be a pastor from the church down the street, but if he was preaching revival that week, he was the “evangelist”. I carried this idea of the evangelist into years of ministry. It wasn’t necessarily wrong (evangelists should obviously share their faith and they do preach revivals), but there was so much more about this role that I was missing. It was always laid out clearly in Scripture but looking at it through my own lens of assumption and surroundings, I had missed the part then that I have grown to love so much now.

Even though I had a limited understanding of the office of the evangelist, I’ve always had a passion for personal evangelism. I made evangelism a priority in my ministry through preaching, training, and event planning. In 2013, I was introduced to a ministry called Dare 2 Share, which took my passion and youth ministry programming to a whole new level. Dare 2 Share focuses on training students to share their faith and coaching and equipping youth leaders to keep evangelism central to their ministry. I was ALL in! I was so excited to have such an amazing resource and community that was so devoted to advancing the gospel through youth ministry. Ephesians 4 really began to come to life in me! It was through Dare 2 Share that God began to sharpen my understanding of an evangelist and prepare my heart for the call.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Evangelists, like pastors and teachers, etc. are called to equip the saints for the work of ministry! And what specific service might the evangelist specialize in when it comes to equipping God’s people? You guessed it…evangelism!!  

In addition to my love for sharing my faith personally, I had realized a whole new world of joy in training others to do so as well. I then began to see that motivating and mobilizing people to share their faith was a common thread of constant fulfillment that I had experienced all through 13 years as a youth pastor, and 4 years as a lead pastor. I love people and I loved shepherding them, but the work of evangelism is my passion!

In November 2017 I met the founder of Every Believer a Witness, Dennis Nunn. He and I had an immediate connection in the work of evangelism. He is all about training people to share their faith and helping pastors and staff create and maintain a culture of evangelism in their church. I knew God was up to something big, even though I was also scared of it at the time! Now as the Next Gen Leader for Every Believer a Witness, I get to lead churchwide evangelism training conferences and revivals. I get to be friends with more pastors and partner with them all in the gospel.  Ephesians 4 says “Christ gave…evangelists, pastors…” Evangelists are gifts from God to the church, just like a pastor is a gift to the congregation (and vice versa). I believe evangelists are also gifts to pastors, and pastors are gifts to evangelists. We need each other for the work of the ministry, and for strong fellowship and friendship as leaders.

Dare 2 Share has had a major impact on my life and ministry. Founder Greg Stier has been a good friend to me, investing a lot time and energy as he mentored me over the years. God has really used him to prepare me for this calling, and for that I am grateful. I am also thankful to continue partnering with Dare 2 Share to see every teen everywhere hear the gospel from a friend. I am training and speaking at various events for them around the country, including the most impactful youth ministry event I have ever attended, Lead The Cause. It is such a joy for me to equip students to share Jesus with their friends, and to also train and coach youth leaders how to build and lead a Gospel Advancing Ministry.

So, according to God’s Word and the calling He has placed on my life, I am an evangelist. That’s who I am, and that’s what I do now. I love telling people about Jesus. I also love teaching people who know Jesus, how to tell people who don’t know Jesus, how they can know Jesus! No wonder it’s so fulfilling, I get to constantly see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel! I am grateful for so many people (you know who you are) who constantly pray for me and my family and support me us various ways in this ministry. Thank you!! We are in this together, and it all comes down to obedience to Jesus’s command to make disciples. How awesome is that? We all get to be a part of the greatest Cause on the planet!!

Jon Burdette

You never know how God will use your testimony: The Amazing Story of Jeff Pierce

I was very blessed to co-lead Every Believer a Witness with Pastor Mike Hamlet at First Baptist North Spartanburg, SC, for 7 Sunday mornings from June 2 through July 16. I am so thankful to Mike for having such a heart to equip his people to actively share the Good News of Jesus. Above that, the outstanding camera and technical people at First North captured all teaching on video that will enable us to train many more pastors, and train them much more effectively.

During the 7 weeks, numerous people shared the Gospel for the first time ever, and several, for the first time, led someone to trust Christ as their Savior.

However, the most powerful report from these 7 weeks involved a tragedy and a glorious praise. On Tuesday, July 11th, one of the godly deacons at FBNS, Jeff Pierce, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle. He greatly loved and served his Lord and others. Jeff served in youth ministry, Sunday school, and FCA. He was always caring and loving, willing to jump in and help people in any way he could, no matter what the need.

Jeff’s death obviously struck his wife, Renee, and his sons Alex and Chandler very hard. In addition it was a tremendous shock to many people at FBNS and the community who knew and loved and admired Jeff.

When Pastor Mike Hamlet went to the Pierce home to discuss the memorial service with Renee and the family, he was given Jeff’s Bible to look through. In Jeff’s Bible, Mike found many notes written, many sermon outlines, as well as the six weekly session notes Jeff had filled out in Every Believer a Witness. Included in these was Jeff’s handwritten testimony. Mike decided that he would let Jeff “preach his own funeral.”

The service to celebrate Jeff’s life was on Friday, July 14th. During the service Mike shared many of the notes in Jeff’s Bible that showed the growth that Jeff had experienced as a believer. In addition, Mike read Jeff’s own hand written testimony (with the Gospel in it) from his Every Believer a Witness notes, including when he had trusted Christ Jesus as his Savior while in college. Mike asked people to speak to him or the family after the service if they wanted to trust Jeff’s Savior as their Savior. Several did.

The most powerful one was when Jeff’s son, Alex, talked with Jeff’s brother, Steve, and Steve trusted Jesus as his Savior. This was a wonderful answer to prayer as Jeff had prayed fervently for his brother’s salvation, and had indicated during the 7 weeks that he wanted to share with Steve. Jeff did not get to share it while he was alive, but he did get to share it after he died.

I asked Renee if she was okay with me publicly sharing this. She was very willing as she and Alex and Chandler want to see God continue to use Jeff’s life story.

I pray this will be an exhortation to each of us to so live for Jesus that we can “preach our own funerals.” And please, please, remember that the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, and the most natural and biblical way to deliver the gospel is using your personal testimony.