How do we differentiate the calling of an evangelist from other leadership roles?
Evangelists are rare people and sometimes odd. OK, let’s be honest, they are mostly odd people! The unique gifts and expressions of evangelists typically cause them to stand out for better and worse. Because of their conviction around the centrality of the Gospel, evangelists are often bold, visionary, and confident women and men so when they shine, they really shine.
Because of the conviction, passion, and charisma of many evangelists, they are frequently recruited for leadership roles. When the Church sees a true evangelist, they have no category to put him or her in so they try to squeeze him into one of the many flavors of pastor. This has been true for my life. I’ve had dozens of job offers— some pretty alluring, in fact. Each and every job offer in a church that has come my way has been categorized as ‘pastor.’ You need only to browse the thousands of job openings on executive and ministry job sites to realize there is only one single option for leadership in the church— the pastor. A person can either be a senior pastor, an executive pastor, a youth pastor, or a worship pastor but you’ll be hard pressed to find any organization hiring an evangelist. The category just does not exist.
There is nothing wrong with being a pastor. Who knows, God may call me to be one someday, but my initial calling was to the office of evangelist. I do believe a person can certainly be an evangelist while wearing other hats. In most parts of the world, women and men walk in the office of evangelist while working other jobs. In many cases this is preferable because it gets the evangelist into social and professional circles which full-time ministers may have difficulty getting into.
However, the calling …