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The life of a church-based evangelist

Evangelists usually have an itinerant ministry, preaching somewhere different every week. But what’s it like as an evangelist based in a local church?

Dan Adams is Assistant Pastor at Worcester Lifehouse Church, and in his final year as a Minister in Training. His wife, Lianne, works as administrator for Elim’s REACH department. Gary Gibbs caught up with them...

Dan, when did you first realise that you were called as an evangelist?

Probably in my third year at Regents Theological College.

I realised I had a real desire to connect with those in my community, and I ended up gravitating towards them through open mic nights, toddler groups, the café in which I worked.

Basically, if I could find an opportunity to be around lots of people who didn’t know Jesus, I was there.

How do you work out your ministry in the context of local church?

We have a great team dynamic, everyone having an opportunity to have a voice and bring passions to the table. So I try to bring an evangelistic lens to everything we do as a local church, and in particular the outreach-focused efforts, and Alpha on which I take a lead for our church.

Equally, I try to model what it means to be an intentional missional presence within our community, and celebrate the stories of those who are ‘doing the work’ and seeing the Kingdom of God come through their efforts.

Lianne, how do you find being married to an evangelist?

I love Dan’s passion and energy. He is really confident when speaking to people he has just met, and always ends up chatting to parents when he takes our kids out. It’s lovely to see his natural gifting come out wherever he is.

However, we have big dreams, and Dan is very focused and driven, so sometimes I have to remind him we can’t do everything in a day. We need to be patient and enjoy the present.

What are the joys and challenges of being an evangelist in a local community?

The best thing is there are so many opportunities to connect with my local community and neighbours.

In my experience, the natural flow of British conversation goes a) talk about your kids, b) moan about the weather and c) say what you do for a living.

So whether I’m at the play-ground, in the gym, or generally meeting anyone for the first time, there is a connection through the kids or the weather.

Then they find out I’m also into all this ‘Jesus stuff’ from the off, which leads to deeper conversations about life and faith.

The biggest challenge for me is that Worcester is a big place, and I can’t be everywhere at once. Therefore, it’s my responsibility to equip others to reach out to their local networks.

Is it working?

In my experience, yes. Only recently I baptised someone who came to faith through Alpha but encountered the love of God way before that through one of our church members at a table tennis club.

Altar calls, church community events, and Alpha all have their place, but it is the times when we truly listen to people, finding ways to love and serve them that gets people really interested. We have to put ourselves out there.

I have recently joined a pool league at a social club, because a) I love pool, and b) there are lots of non-believers there.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to ‘go’; to take the presence and the Kingdom of God into the community, rather than relying on the community to seek us out. You can even enjoy it.

I would encourage everyone to find something they enjoy (a hobby, a team or group etc.), do it with some non-Christians, and have fun and be Jesus to them.

Get to know people outside of your church circle and bring the Kingdom to them. Be brave and ask God for opportunities to connect, love and serve others, and he won’t let you down.

This article first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered directly to your home.

 

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