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.
Main article: Evangelical Theology
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, (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”.
Evangelism can take many forms, such as preaching, distribution of bibles or tracts, newspapers and magazines, by the media, witness, street evangelism.
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.
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.
New opportunities for evangelization have been provided in recent decades by increased travel opportunities and by instant communications over the internet.
See also: Catholic Church
Missionary work of the Catholic Church has often been undertaken outside the geographically defined parishes and dioceses by religious orders who have people and material resources to spare, and some of which specialized in missions. Eventually, parishes and dioceses would be organized worldwide, often after an intermediate phase as an apostolic prefecture or apostolic vicariate. Catholic mission has predominantly been carried out by the Latin Church in practice.
See also: Protestantism
In 1831, the Presbyterian Mission Agency was further founded by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
The Reformation unfolded in Europe in the early 16th century. For over a hundred years, occupied by their struggle with the Catholic Church, the early Protestant churches as a body were not strongly focused on missions to “heathen” lands. Instead, the focus was initially more on Christian lands in the hope to spread the Protestant faith, identifying the papacy with the Antichrist.
In the centuries that followed, Protestant churches began sending out missionaries in increasing numbers, spreading the proclamation of the Christian message to previously unreached people. In North America, missionaries to the Native Americans included Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), the well-known preacher of the Great Awakening (ca 1731–1755), who in his later years retired from the very public life of his early career. He became a missionary to the Housatonic Native Americans (1751) and a staunch advocate for them against cultural imperialism.
See also: Evangelicalism
Various evangelical mission organizations have specialized in evangelization throughout history. In 1792, BMS World Mission was founded in Kettering, England by William Carey. In 1814, the American Baptist International Ministries were founded by the American Baptist Churches USA in United States. In 1865, OMF International was founded by Hudson Taylor in England. In 1893, in Lagos in Nigeria, SIM was founded by Walter Gowans, Rowland Bingham and Thomas Kent. Samuel E. Hill, John H. Nicholson and William J. Knights founded Gideons International, an organization which distributes free Bible s to hotels and motels, hospitals, military bases, prisons, schools and universities, in Janesville in Wisconsin, United States, in 1899.
In 1960, more than half of the Protestant American missionaries were evangelical. The American and European missions pentecostals are also numerous, but pentecostalism will especially develop independently, by non-foreign residents, in various regions of the world, notably in Africa, in America from South and Asia.
Youth with a Mission was founded in 1960 in United States by Loren Cunningham and his wife Darlene.
In 1974, Billy Graham and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization organized the First International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne.
In 2004, South Korea became the second source of missionaries in the world, after the United States and ahead of England.
In 2007, there were over 10,000 baptists missionaries in overseas missions around the world.
Main article: Religious Conversion
The term is sometimes associated, wrongly according to Christians, with proselytism.
The fact that evangelicals do evangelism and speak about their faith in public is often criticized by the media and associated with proselytism. According to the evangelicals, freedom of religion and freedom of expression allow them to talk about their faith like anything else. Christian films made by American evangelical production companies are also regularly associated with proselytism. According to Sarah-Jane Murray, screenwriting teacher at the US Film and Christian Television Commission United, Christian films are works of art, not proselytism. For Hubert de Kerangat, communications manager at Saje distribution, distributor of these American Christian films in France, if Christian films are “proselytes”, all films are “proselytes”, since each film transmits a message, whether the viewer is free to approve or not.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia