In Christianity, evangelism is the commitment to or act of publicly preaching (ministry) of the Gospel with the intention of spreading the message and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christians who specialize in evangelism are often known as evangelists, whether they are in their home communities or living as missionaries in the field, although some Christian traditions refer to such people as missionaries in either case. Some Christian traditions consider evangelists to be in a leadership position; they may be found preaching to large meetings or in governance roles.

Christian groups who encourage evangelism are sometimes known as evangelistic or evangelist. The scriptures do not use the word evangelism, but evangelist is used in (the translations of) Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11, and 2 Timothy 4:5.

Jakob Jordaens 002
The Four Evangelists


The word evangelist comes from the Koine Greek word εὐαγγέλιον (transliterated as euangelion) via Latinised evangelium as used in the canonical titles of the Four Gospels, authored by (or attributed to) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (also known as the Four Evangelists). The Greek word εὐαγγέλιον originally meant a reward given to the messenger for good news (εὔ = "good", ἀγγέλλω = "I bring a message"; the word "angel" comes from the same root) and later "good news" itself.

The verb form of euangelion,[1] (translated as "evangelism"), occurs rarely in older Greek literature outside the New Testament, making its meaning more difficult to ascertain. Parallel texts of the Gospels of Luke and Mark reveal a synonymous relationship between the verb euangelizo (εὑαγγελίζω) and a Greek verb kerusso (κηρύσσω), which means "to proclaim".[2]


Some Christians distinguish between evangelism and proselytism, the latter viewed as unethical because it is taken to involve the abuse of people's freedom and the distortion of the gospel of grace by means of coercion, deception, manipulation, and exploitation.[3] The term "proselytize" might be used when one group does not approve of the missional activities of another, particularly when one group is losing members to another group.[4]

Different denominations follow different theological interpretations which reflect upon the point of who is doing the actual conversion, whether the evangelist or the Holy Spirit or both. Calvinists, among other Christian denominations, believe the soul is converted salutary to Christ only if the Holy Spirit is effective in the act.[5]

Catholic missionary work in Russia is commonly seen as evangelism, not proselytism. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz openly stated, "that proselytism is absolutely unacceptable and cannot constitute a strategy for the development of our structures either in Russia or in any other country in the world".[6] Especially regarding claims by the Orthodox church that spreading the faith and receiving converts amounts to proselytism,[7] the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document called "Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization"[8] which states that evangelism is "an inalienable right and duty, an expression of religious liberty ...", and added, "The incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion of a power group, but rather entrance into the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents and age. It is entrance into the gift of communion with Christ...."

In recent history, certain Bible passages have been used to promote evangelism. William Carey, in a book entitled, 'An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens' popularised a quotation, where, according to the Bible, during his last days on earth Jesus commanded his eleven disciples (the apostles) as follows:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

— Matthew 28:19,20 NIV

However, recent scholarship by Chris Wright and others has suggested that such activity is promoted by the entire Bible, or at least the wider term 'mission', although the meaning of the word 'mission' and its relationship to 'evangelism' is disputed amongst Christians.

Modern methods

Ashes to Go in Connecticut
On Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian penitential season of Lent, an Anglican priest has an Ashes to Go station for commuters at the Metro-North Railroad in the American state of Connecticut.

Breaking from tradition and going beyond television and radio a wide range of methods have been developed to reach people not inclined to attend traditional events in churches or revival meetings.

Dramas such as Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames have gained enormous popularity since the 1980s. These dramas typically depict fictional characters who die and learn whether they will go to heaven or hell.

The child evangelism movement is a Christian evangelism movement that originated in the 20th century. It focuses on the 4/14 Window which centers on evangelizing children between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.[9]

Beginning in the 1970s, a group of Christian athletes known as The Power Team spawned an entire genre of Christian entertainment based on strong-man exploits mixed with a Christian message and usually accompanied by an opportunity to respond with a prayer for salvation.[10]

Other entertainment-based Christian evangelism events include comedy, live theater and music.

The Christian music industry has also played a significant role in modern evangelism. Rock (and other genres) concerts in which the artist(s) exhort non-believing attendees to pray a prayer for salvation have become common, and just as common are concerts that are focused on activity not necessarily on prayer and conversion, thus forming an environment that is not driven by conversion, but instead relaying of a message.

Evangelists such as Reinhard Bonnke conduct mass evangelistic crusades around the world. Hundreds of church denominations and organizations participate in an evangelism movement known as the Billion Soul Harvest, which is a comprehensive initiative to convert a billion people to Christianity.

New opportunities for evangelization have been provided in recent decades by increased travel opportunities and by instant communications over the internet.[11]


Bundesarchiv Bild 194-0798-41, Düsseldorf, Veranstaltung mit Billy Graham
Billy Graham in Düsseldorf (1954)

Some churches use the title evangelist of a minister who travels from town to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this sense the person is differentiated from a local pastor, with a ministry grounded in a specific community.

Some denominations have a formally recognised office of evangelist as part of their ministry, such as the commissioned evangelists of the Church of England and some other Anglican churches.

Many Christians of various theological perspectives would call themselves evangelists because they are spreaders of the gospel. Many churches believe one of their major functions is to function as evangelists to spread the evangelist belief that Jesus is savior of humanity.

The title of evangelist is often associated with those who lead large meetings like those of Billy Graham, Luis Palau and J.A. Pérez, possibly in tents or existing church buildings, or those who address the public in street corner preaching, which targets listeners who happen to pass nearby. It can also be done in small groups or even on a one-to-one basis, but actually it is simply one who spreads the gospel. Increasingly, the internet enables anyone to become an Internet evangelist.

Missionary work

The New Testament urges believers to speak the gospel clearly, fearlessly, graciously, and respectfully whenever an opportunity presents itself, incumbent upon a commitment to hold and revere God as the core/center of their lives (see Colossians 4:2-6, Ephesians 6:19-20, and 1 Peter 3:15).

Throughout most of its history, Christianity has been spread evangelistically, though the extent of evangelism has varied significantly between Christian communities, and denominations. Evangelism, apologetics and apostolic ministry often go hand in hand. An ἀπόστολος (apostolos) is literally "one who is ordered forth" and refers to the missionary calling of being ordered forth into the world by the initiation of God. An example of an interplay between Evangelism and Apologetics can be seen in the US when upon door to door Evangelism the prospect is an unbeliever and challenges the Evangelist wherein the Evangelist then follows into the role of the Apologist in defense of their faith with the hope that Evangelism may be restarted. Since missionaries often travel to areas or people groups where Jesus is not yet known, they frequently take on an evangelistic role. But the apostolic or missionary calling is not necessarily the same (and it is a misnomer and misinterpretation to equate them), as there are many who serve in missionary, church planting, and ministry development roles who have an apostolic calling or serve in an apostolic role but whose primary duty is not evangelism.

Catholic Evangelism

Evangelism in Vatican II Documents

In the very first sentence of its Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, the Vatican II Council affirmed that Christ had sent the Church to preach the gospel to every creature (LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15). Evangelism is a theme in multiple Vatican II documents. These documents mentioned “gospel” 157 times, “evangelize” 18 times, and “evangelization” 31 times.[12]

New Evangelization

For several decades, the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has been promoting a theme of New Evangelization.[13] This includes re-evangelism of Christian people as well as mission Ad gentes to reach new regions and cultures.

See also


  1. ^ The 7 Principles of an Evangelistic Life, p. 32, Douglas M. Cecil, Moody Publishers
  2. ^ Bible as a Second Language Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, webpage, retrieved November 5, 2008
  3. ^ A. Scott Moreau, Harold Netland, and Charles van Engen, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Baker Books; A. Scott Moreau, 2000), p.213, 794 .
  4. ^ Evangelical Review of Theology, Proselytism or Evangelism?, Cecil Stalnaker, Vol. 26, January 2002, Published by Paternoster Periodicals for World Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission, ISSN 0144-8153
  5. ^ "Curb proselytism in Andhra Pradesh". News Today. 4 July 2006. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Russia's conversion does not require leaving Orthodox faith: Catholic prelate". Catholic World News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Vatican defends duty to evangelize and accept converts". Reuters. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization" (PDF). Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 3 December 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2007.
  9. ^ Luis Bush (June 18, 2013). "4/14 Window - a Golden Age of Opportunity" (PDF). 4/14 Movement. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-14.
  10. ^ http://journalstar.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/coming-on-strong-power-team-lifts-weights-and-spirits/article_dbe77b67-99ce-59f4-b994-d0c0e5891228.html
  11. ^ Dulles SJ, Avery. Evangelization for the Third Millennium (Kindle Locations 781-782). Paulist Press.
  12. ^ Dulles, SJ, Avery (2008). Church and Society, The McGinley Lectures, 1988–2007 (Kindle ed.). Fordham University Press. p. 546. ISBN 978-0-8232-2862-1. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  13. ^ "New Evangelization". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
Amazing Facts

Amazing Facts is a non-profit Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic ministry. based on the teachings of Scripture, and is a worldwide ministry based in Sacramento, California, which conducts seminars and streams by satellite, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on TV and satellite across North America and the world. It especially focuses on the Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14. Beginning as a radio program dedicated to Christian evangelism, it has expanded into television programming, training, lifestyle, educational, health, prophecy seminars and online Bible study ministries.

Anglican Diocese of Adelaide

The Anglican Diocese of Adelaide is based in Adelaide, South Australia. The diocese is a part of the Province of South Australia of the Anglican Church of Australia and a part of the Anglican Communion. The diocesan cathedral is St Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide.

The diocese was founded by letters patent of 25 June 1847 and now forms part of the Province of South Australia, together with the Diocese of Willochra (1915) and the Diocese of The Murray (1969). Since 1970, the Bishop of Adelaide, as the senior bishop of the province (known as the metropolitan), has borne the title of Archbishop.

The Most Reverend Jeffrey Driver retired as Archbishop of Adelaide in 2016,. Following a process of nomination, an Election Synod held in December 2016 resolved to invite Geoffrey Smith (bishop), Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Brisbane, to be the 10th Archbishop of Adelaide. The Most Reverend Geoff Smith was installed on 28 April 2017.

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is a non-profit Christian outreach organization.

The BGEA has a variety of aims including internet evangelism, the Decision America Tour, The Billy Graham Channel on SiriusXM, "crusade-style" events in cities around the world, disaster response through the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, television broadcasts, podcasts and audio programs, Decision magazine, and evangelism training. The BGEA also includes the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina and the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charismatic Movement

The Charismatic Movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gifts (charismata). Among mainline Protestants, the movement began around 1960. Among Roman Catholics, it originated around 1967.


Colportage is the distribution of publications, books, and religious tracts by carriers called "colporteurs" or "colporters". The term does not necessarily refer to religious book peddling.

Dami Mission

The Dami Mission (Korean: 다미선교회) was a Christian religious movement founded in South Korea by Lee Jang Rim (Korean: 이장림; Hanja: 李長林). It received worldwide attention after Lee predicted that the rapture and end of the world would occur on 28 October 1992. After the prediction failed Lee was convicted of defrauding his followers out of millions of dollars.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Takeo Kawasaki (born August 30, 1954) is an American marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist. He was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing their Macintosh computer line in 1984. He popularized the word evangelist in marketing the Macintosh as an "Apple evangelist" and the concepts of evangelism marketing and technology evangelism/platform evangelism in general.From March 2015 until December 2016, Kawasaki sat on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the non-profit operating entity of Wikipedia.Kawasaki has also written a number of books including The Macintosh Way (1990), The Art of the Start (2004), and Wise Guy (2019).


KPMB (88.5 FM, "La Radio Cristiana") is an American radio station licensed since 1999 to serve the community of Plainview, the county seat of Hale County, Texas. The station's broadcast license is held by Paulino Bernal Evangelism.

Kent Hovind

Kent E. Hovind (born January 15, 1953) is an American Christian fundamentalist evangelist and tax protester. He is a controversial figure in the Young Earth creationist movement whose ministry focuses on denial of scientific theories in the fields of biology (evolution), geophysics, and cosmology in favor of a literalist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative found in the Bible. Hovind's views, which combine elements of creation science and conspiracy theory, are dismissed by the scientific community as fringe theory and pseudo-scholarship. He has been criticized by Young Earth Creationist organizations like Answers in Genesis for his continued use of discredited arguments that have been abandoned by others in the movement.

Hovind established Creation Science Evangelism (CSE) in 1989 and Dinosaur Adventure Land in 2001 in Pensacola, Florida. He frequently spoke on Young Earth creationism in schools, churches, debates, and on radio and television broadcasts. His son Eric Hovind took over operation of CSE after Hovind began serving a ten-year prison sentence in January 2007 for federal convictions for failing to pay taxes, obstructing federal agents, and structuring cash transactions.

Lighthouse Evangelism

Lighthouse Evangelism (Chinese: 灯塔教会) is a megachurch in Singapore. It is a non-denominational Church, which means it is often identified as being an Evangelical church and its doctrines resemble Charismatic and Pentecostal teachings.

Mark Finley

Mark A. Finley (born 1945) is the former host and director of It Is Written (from 1991–2004), for which he traveled around the world as a televangelist, and spoke on the weekly television show It Is Written. He was the first Seventh-day Adventist pastor to do a satellite evangelistic series.

He also served as one vice-president out of nine for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and has written over 74 published books.

Evangelism is where Finley made his mark on the world, presenting more than 150 evangelistic meeting series around the globe in about 80 countries with resulting baptisms numbering in the thousands. His best known association is as a television speaker for the current series Experience Hope, a weekly broadcast of the Hope Channel; for the It Is Written telecast of 13 years; and also for the first two NET evangelism satellite series broadcast in North America. He was again televised for the fourth time in the autumn of 2008 as speaker for the annual North American NET series. He has preached 17 NET series broadcast throughout the world. He uses his preaching and evangelism gifts to teach others in seminars, field schools and evangelism institutes. He has written more than 70 books, as well as numerous seminar presentations, major evangelistic series, teaching manuals, and magazine articles. His recorded seminars and series, available for purchase in various media formats, numbers about 20. He also writes a series of Bible studies published monthly in Adventist World.

Finley and his wife, Ernestine “Teenie,” have three children.

Finley's parents, James and Gloria Finley, started and managed two businesses through the years: Finley Screw Machine Products and James Wright Industries. Finley has three younger sisters.

Nazarene Missionaries

Nazarene Missionaries are missionaries trained and supported by the Church of the Nazarene. There are currently 737 missionaries. Missionaries are sent around the world as a means for evangelism and church development. The Nazarene missionary is a member of the clergy or a layperson who has been appointed by the General Board to work a ministerial position through the World Mission Department/Evangelism Committee or through the USA/Canada Mission/Evangelism Committee.

New Atheism

New Atheism is a term coined in 2006 by the agnostic journalist Gary Wolf to describe the positions promoted by some atheists of the twenty-first century. This modern-day atheism is advanced by a group of thinkers and writers who advocate the view that superstition, religion and irrationalism should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever their influence arises in government, education, and politics. According to Richard Ostling, Bertrand Russell, in his 1927 essay Why I Am Not a Christian, put forward similar positions as those espoused by the New Atheists, suggesting that there are no substantive differences between traditional atheism and New Atheism.New Atheism lends itself to and often overlaps with secular humanism and antitheism, particularly in its criticism of what many New Atheists regard as the indoctrination of children and the perpetuation of ideologies founded on belief in the supernatural. Some critics of the movement characterise it pejoratively as "militant atheism" or "fundamentalist atheism".

Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders is a phrase referring to experiences that are perceived to be miraculous as being normative in the modern Christian experience, and is a phrase associated with groups that are a part of modern charismatic movements and pentecostalism. This phrase is seen multiple times throughout the Christian Bible to describe the activities of the early church, and is historically recorded as continuing, at least in practice, since the time of Christ. The phrase is primarily derived from old and new testament references, and is now used in the Christian and mainstream press, and in scholarly religious discourse to communicate a strong emphasis on recognizing perceived manifestations of the Holy Spirit—the third person, with God the Father and God the Son, of the Christian Trinity—in the contemporary lives of Christian believers; as well, it communicates a focus on the expectation that divine action would be experienced in the individual and corporate life of the modern Christian church, and a further insistence that followers actively seek the "gifts of the Spirit". A further major emphasis of belief in signs and wonders is that the message of the Christian "good news" is communicated more effectively to those who do not believe it if accompanied by such supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit, including such signs and wonders as miraculous healings and modern prophetic proclamations.

Technology evangelist

A technology evangelist is a person who builds a critical mass of support for a given technology, and then establishes it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects. The word evangelism is borrowed from the context of religious evangelism due to the similarity of sharing information about a particular concept with the intention of having others adopt that concept. This is typically accomplished by showcasing the potential uses and benefits of a technology to help others understand how they can use it for themselves.


Televangelism (tele- "distance" and "evangelism," meaning "ministry," sometimes called teleministry) is the use of media, specifically radio and television, to communicate Christianity.

Televangelists are Christian ministers, whether official or self-proclaimed, who devote a large portion of their ministry to television broadcasting. Some televangelists are also regular pastors or ministers in their own places of worship (often a megachurch), but the majority of their followers come from their TV and radio audiences. Others do not have a conventional congregation as such and solely work through television. The term is also used derisively by critics as an insinuation of aggrandizement by such ministers.

Televangelism began as a uniquely American phenomenon, resulting from a largely deregulated media where access to television networks and cable TV is open to virtually anyone who can afford it, combined with a large Christian population that is able to provide the necessary funding. It became especially popular among Evangelical Protestant audiences, whether independent or organized around Christian denominations. However, the increasing globalisation of broadcasting has enabled some American televangelists to reach a wider audience through international broadcast networks, including some that are specifically Christian in nature, such as Trinity Broadcasting Network and The God Channel. Domestically produced televangelism is increasingly present in some other nations such as Brazil.

Some countries have a more regulated media with either general restrictions on access or specific rules regarding religious broadcasting. In such countries, religious programming is typically produced by TV companies (sometimes as a regulatory or public service requirement) rather than private interest groups.

W. E. Biederwolf

William Edward Biederwolf (September 29, 1867 – September 3, 1939) was an American Presbyterian evangelist.

World Methodist Council

The World Methodist Council (WMC), founded in 1881, is a consultative body and association of churches in the Methodist tradition. It comprises 80 member denominations in 138 countries which together represent about 80 million people.Affiliated organizations are the World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Churches, the Oxford-Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, the World Methodist Historical Society, World Council of Confederation of Methodist Youth, the World Council of Methodist Men, World Methodist Council of Teens, the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women and The General Commission on Archives and History.

Wycliffe College, Toronto

Wycliffe College () is a graduate theological school of the University of Toronto. It is affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada and is evangelical and low church in orientation. On the other hand, the University of Toronto's other Anglican college, the University of Trinity College, is Anglo-Catholic in outlook. While being an Anglican seminary, Wycliffe College attracts students from many Christian denominations. As a founding member of the Toronto School of Theology, students are free to participate in the wide range of courses from Canada's largest ecumenical consortium. It trains those pursuing ordination as well as those preparing for academic careers of scholarship and teaching.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.