An evangelist’s gift must be recognized by the local church (ch. 6) before any kind of ministry training can begin. His ministry cannot be developed on a local level without this type of support. Once a local body recognizes the gift of evangelism in one of its members, it will be more likely to want to invest in his or her training and provide the room they need to exercise their ministry.
Research on our R2E program with France Evangelization shows that most of the applicants who come to us without any kind of theological training hope to prove to their local church that they do indeed have the gift of evangelist. Their thinking runs along these lines: “If I can successfully complete this program, maybe my church will realize that God is calling me to be an evangelist afterwards.”
This is backwards thinking.
On the other hand, all those who have joined R2E while actively pursuing theological studies at the same time have expressed the fact that their local church had already recognized them as an evangelist. This begs the question: why do we jump at the chance to validate the call of an evangelist who is getting ready to head off to a Bible institute, but hesitate to recognize the call of another? Is a degree in theology a necessary prerequisite to being recognized as an evangelist? If so, what about the call that God may have given the person?
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