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 and CEO Greg Stier has invested a great deal of time and energy in mentoring me over the years. God has really used him to prepare me for this calling, and I am grateful to call him my friend. 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 also to train and coach youth leaders how to build 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 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

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