The verb for evangelizing occurs 135 times in the N.T. while the word for pastoring (shepherding) occurs 15 times. Yet the preponderance of time it is translated as "preach" conjuring up a robed (or three pieced suited ) minister behind a pulpit with a choir behind him, exhorting a congregation. But it seems that the N.T. pictured the evangelist as a type of gumshoe minister who walked the streets and meandered the marketplace in search of lost sheep, distraught souls, and wayward men and women. And these ministers were greatly valued because the spread of the fledgling church depended upon them. And "they did turn the world upside down."

  • And they (the apostles) went through the towns "evangelizing" and healing everywhere. (Lu. 9:6)
  • And daily in the Temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and "evangelize concerning Jesus. (Acts 5:42)
  • Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and "evangelizes" him concerning Jesus. (Acts 8:36)
  • For though I "evangelize" I have nothing to boast about, for necessity is laid upon me, woe is me if I did not "evangelize." (1 Cor. 9:16)

In light of the vast amount of "evangelizing" by the Early Church and its importance, did Paul wish to be considered one of those Evangelist-- as well as an Apostle-- by using this word to describe his ministry in the cities he went to? (See 1 Corinthians 9:16, in the Greek)

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    Whether or not evangelists are respected enough is a matter of opinion, not fact. In the Christian circles I'm part of evangelists are very well respected. That's probably true for most Christians around the world. In any case, it's not a question that can be answered on this site.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 19, 2023 at 5:37
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    I'm a little puzzled at why you would ask this question. Jesus wears multiple hats (good shepherd, prophet, "evangelize" by announcing the arrival of the kingdom, part of the good news). Similarly why not simply see Paul as wearing multiple hats: 1) apostle (entrusted with the "mysterious plan regarding Christ"), 2) evangelist (go on mission to spread the gospel), 3) shepherd (start and nurture local churches through visits and letters)? The verb "preach", "evangelize", "shepherd" can then be simply describing the activity, not office. So I think Paul sees himself as all 3. Nov 29, 2023 at 7:09
  • @ GratefulDisciple - It is true that a person can engage in any ministry (activity). BUT the Christian ministries, at an early age, took on the formalization of Offices: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor/teacher. (Ephesians 4:11) The reason for which you ask is predicated upon the fact that Evangelists in the modern church world are not given the place of honor as Pastors. Pastorism has hi-jacked the church world! AND YET, even though the majority of times outreach ministry is mentioned in the Greek, the word "Evangelize " is used, not the Greek word for "preach" (kerygma)....
    – ray grant
    Nov 29, 2023 at 21:15
  • ...The English translations use the word "preach" when in reality, the Greek word is 'Evangelize, " and the modern Bible reader gets a skewed understanding of the Christian ministry. When "preach" is used, one conjures up a minister behind a pulpit on a platform backed up by a row of deacons or elders, with an attentive audience corralled by a platoon of minty-breathed ushers. Yet, in the N.T., the Evangelist is seen more off the platform, outside the church walls, confronting society...and often getting stoned foe his efforts! It would take man duly anointed and ordained by God to do this.
    – ray grant
    Nov 29, 2023 at 21:28
  • @raygrant I don't think your view of the apostolic era or this modern era is correct. There may have been a formalisation of offices, but I don't think it was like that during Paul's life. (The formal roles seemed to be apostle, elder, and deacon.) It's clear that Paul had several roles. And today evangelists are respected, especially cross-cultural missionaries, who would be recognised as having a much harder task than most same-culture pastor/ministers. If people around you don't respect evangelists, then maybe look for more Christians who do respect them?
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 30, 2023 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


Of course, Paul considered himself an evangelist as well as an apostle, as did the Lord who ordained and commanded him to evangelize:

Acts 9:15, 17 KJV

15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: ... 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 26:19-20 KJV

19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judæa, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

1 Corinthians 1:17 KJV

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1 Corinthians 9:16-17 KJV

16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

1 Corinthians 15:10-11 KJV

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

Romans 15:19-20 KJV

19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

  • @ PeaceByJesus - Thanks for you input! Great verses. Note that in the Greek 1 Cor. 1:17 used the word "evangelize". Also 1 Cor. used the "evangelize" word twice! And Romans 15:19-20 used the "evangelize" word (or its derivative) three times. To this we add "I made known to you the evangel which I evangelized to you...by which you are being saved--that word I evangelized to you, if ye hold fast..." (1 Cor. 15:1-2; 3x) All these verses emphasize Evangelism beyond congregational preaching, though both are important. Keep studying the Bible, it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Dec 4, 2023 at 21:20

Evangelists If we or an angel from heaven, should evangelize you with a message beside what we evangelized, let him be accursed. As we have previously said, also now again I say, if anyone evangelizes you different from what you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8,9)

The Apostle Paul considered the work of the Evangelist to be of utmost importance in the ministry. The correct Evangel, and the faithfulness to presenting it was crucial to the saving of souls...whom God loves! Woe is me, if I do not evangelize (1 Corinthians 9:16) How beautiful are the feet of those who evangelize! (Quoted in Romans 10:15)

Local Church Evangelists We are aware of ministers who engage in "Mass Evangelism" such as George Whitfield, Billy Graham, etc. in public stadiums, arenas, or open fields. And we are accustomed to sending daring souls overseas to introduce Christianity to foreigners who speak a different language.

However, the local neighborhood of a church is so often unrepresented in evangelism. To be sure, there are many evangelistic representatives on college campuses, by independent organizations such as Cru, Intervarsity, etc. And there are several television programs from which the Gospel emanates over the air waves. And there is a smathering of "para-church" groups spreading the Evangel. But what is the situation in the average local church?

Pioneer Churches To reveal this let us look at the beginning of a pioneer church. Usually a recent seminary grad is sent out to a neighborhood with a handful of congregates. The wife, at first, is in charge of playing the piano for worship, as well as looking after many other incidentals necessary foe a church environment. Then when the church grows, an assistant pastor is hired to help bear the burden of ministry.

Then, when growth continues, a children's education pastor is added to the staff. Then later, an experienced worship leader is hired. By this time a Secretary\accountant is needed, and brought on staff. And then, if a larger sanctuary is obtained, a maintenance man is added to care for the operation of the whole church.

Do you see anything wrong with this scenario? What is missing? Does it even enter into the minds of the pastoral staff that the "Evangelist" has been left out? Could the church really afford to have a permanent local evangelist? After all he doesn't contribute to anything on the platform on Sunday meeting! And it is much easier to out-source his job to the preacher who could add an "altar call at the end of each service! Or even further, the congregation could be told that it is there job to do the evangelizing "by letting their light shine."

Ministers All As was pointed out in comments, the Early Church was composed of Elders, Deacons, and Saints. ...to all the Saints who are art Philippi, with the Bishops (elders) and Deacons. (Philippians 1:1) And according to Ephesians 4:11, Paul listed the Church elders as Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. (Pastors in some Presbyterian churches are called "teaching elders.")

Of note is the inclusion of Evangelist as legitimate elders in the Local Church! They were\are to be considered a vital part of the ministry to the local neighborhood. They were not to be at the bottom of the totem pole...considered only after all the other ministries were hired.

It is fair to say that in free democracies where there is freedom to proselytize (for commercial products, political parties, sports fans, or religious sects) the Church has not kept up with its culture! We may exult in a dozen of altar-call convert in a year, but in that same year the local university pumps out thousands of atheists and agnostics. Cults reap hundreds of immature, unsuspecting christians.

What if? What if local churches has evangelist departments...planning, recruiting, equipping, training, ordaining, empowering, mustering the troops, etc. What if Evangelists were hired as just as important ministers as pastors, with the same respect...and urgency? What if Bible translators used more appropriate words in the New Testament versions that didn't obscure the role of Evangelism in the Early Church that turned the world upside down.? What if there were more beautiful feet upon the mountains...on the city streets...in the marketplace...in the academy...?

I made known to you, brethren, the Evangel, which I evangelized to you, which you received, in which also you stand, by which you are being saved--that Word I evangelized--if you hold fast, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1,2)

Jesus has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the Evangel, whereunto I am appointed a Herald, Apostle, and Teacher of the nations. (2 Timothy 1:10,11)

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