I thank God for faithful evangelists. They are a gift to the local church (Ephesians 4:11), and properly used, a help to both pastor and people. It has been a joy at this stage in my life to learn more about evangelism both from personal experience and from the experiences of others.  

Larry Clayton has been one of the Lord’s faithful evangelists for many years. He lives and labors to win the lost to Christ, start churches, and help stir God’s people. Some time ago he and his precious wife came to a gospel crusade where I was preaching. After one of the services we had a meal together and he was a great encouragement to me personally.

Men like Brother Clayton have seen the work of God “in season and out of season.” They have stayed true to God and His Word. They are fulfilling their calling. I hope someday someone will be able to say that of me.

As we talked Brother Clayton challenged me to keep after souls. He confirmed my own deepening conviction that the work of the evangelist is not only to win the lost but to enlist and equip others to do the same. Perhaps the great impact we can have is to leave more than new believers behind – it is to leave more evangelists behind! If everything reproduces after its own kind then only a preacher on fire for souls can kindle a fire in others to reach the lost.

I took out my pen and wrote down a simple strategy as Brother Clayton talked. He said that in the early days in evangelistic meetings he tried to get people to reach out to four groups of people:

  • Family – those who God gave to you as lifelong relations
  • Friends – acquaintances and close friends
  • Neighbors – those who live near you
  • Professionals – those with whom you do business and interact each week

Simple and specific. Make a list of those who need Christ in each of these areas. Add to your list regularly. Pray over it. Speak to each individual about Christ. Work to get all of them under the preaching of the gospel.

Recently I had the joy of preaching in a meeting where we saw a number of people come to profess faith in Christ. It was inspiring and instructive. Every person who was saved had been brought by someone who had been praying for them and had personally invited them to the meeting. Real evangelism takes place every day, in many places, through real people reaching the lost around them.

Great meetings are not great because of the preacher’s sermons. They are great because the people get a great burden and get engaged in the work themselves. We all can be evangelists! Ask the Lord to help you start right where you are and let’s pray together for a gospel advance in this generation.