by Riley Stephenson
“Riley, I would love to do what you do, but I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” The words came from a well-meaning Christian who was referring to my street ministry. At the time I was training people in evangelism at my church every Friday night. We were taking teams into the city and seeing fifty to one hundred people pray to receive Jesus every weekend. I told that man that he could do what I do—because he was a believer.
The Bible says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]” (Mark 16:20, AMP). Amen. Signs and miracles will follow us as believers!
God has given certain gifts of service to us as believers. Take a look at them: “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (see Ephesians 4:11–12, NLT).
The Bible tells us that these five-fold ministry gifts are for the “perfecting of the saints” to do the work of the ministry. Based on what we just read, the job of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to teach, train and equip you as a congregation member to do the work of building up the body.
But there is no such gift called “the gift of evangelism” recorded in the Bible. It’s not your pastor’s job to fill the empty seats in your church. It’s not your pastor’s job to reach your city.
Now, when I’m sent to a church to do evangelism training, I’m sent as an evangelist. But when I’m not standing in a pulpit under the office of an evangelist, and I’m simply going about my day, I’m constantly listening to the Lord as to who He wants me to minister to. The Lord speaks to us constantly; all we need to do is tune in a little closer so we can hear what our assignment is for the day.
My family and I recently went to lunch at a local Italian restaurant. The place had just opened, and we wanted to try it out. The waiter seated us and handed us the menus.
I was in one of those moods in which I didn’t want to even look at the menu; I just wanted to ask the waiter for a recommendation. When the waiter came to our table, my wife and daughters ordered from the menu. Then the young man turned to me. “Sir,” he asked, “what would you like?”
I asked him what he would recommend. Happy to oblige me, he pointed to a particular item on the menu and said to me, “Sir, if I was on death row and this was the last meal I would ever eat, this is what I would order.” I was shocked by his comment about being on death row. But I knew at that point what the Lord was about to do. I ordered what the waiter had suggested, and it turned out to be an amazing dish.
When the waiter came back to the table for the check, I had another question for him: “If you were on death row and these were your last few moments to live, where do you think you’d spend eternity?” The young man looked down and told me, “I’m really not sure.” I shared with him the Scriptures from Romans from the script our ministry uses. And then I led him in a prayer to receive Jesus. During the prayer our waiter began to cry, and as he lifted his head, he said, “Thank you so much. I was just thinking about my life. I know I need God.” My family and I got ready to leave, and the waiter stopped by our table one more time. “I believe God sent you here,” he said.
God wants to use you today! Be bold and courageous! You don’t need to have a fivefold ministry calling with a “gift” in order to see miracles and signs following. All you need do is listen to the little promptings you get every day from the Lord—and then be obedient!
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