The Four Evangelists

In Christianity, evangelism is the commitment to or act of publicly preaching (ministry) the Gospel with the intention to share 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 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]

Modern methods

Evangelism can take many forms, such as preaching, distribution of bibles or tracts, newspapers and magazines, by the media, witness, street evangelism.[3][4][5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

New opportunities for evangelization have been provided in recent decades by increased travel opportunities and by instant communications over the internet.[8]

Missionary work


World Youth Day, an evangelistic event, in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013.


In 1831, the Presbyterian Mission Agency was founded by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.[9]


Passion Conferences, a music and evangelism festival at Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, in 2013

Various evangelical mission organizations have specialized in evangelization throughout history. In 1792, BMS World Mission was founded in Kettering, England by William Carey.[10][11] In 1814, the American Baptist International Ministries were founded by the American Baptist Churches USA in United States.[12] In 1865, OMF International was founded by Hudson Taylor in England.[13] In 1893, in Lagos in Nigeria, SIM was founded by Walter Gowans, Rowland Bingham and Thomas Kent.[14] 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.[15]

In 1960, more than half of the Protestant American missionaries were evangelical.[16] 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.[17]

Youth with a Mission was founded in 1960 in United States by Loren Cunningham and his wife Darlene.[18][19]

In 1974, Billy Graham and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization organized the First International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne.[20]

In 2004, South Korea became the second source of missionaries in the world, after the United States and ahead of England.[21][22]

In 2007, there were over 10,000 baptists missionaries in overseas missions around the world.[23]


The term is sometimes associated, wrongly according to Christians, with proselytism.[24][25][26]

The fact that evangelicals do evangelism and speak about their faith in public is often criticized by the media and associated with proselytism.[25] According to the evangelicals, freedom of religion and freedom of expression allow them to talk about their faith like anything else.[26] Christian films made by American evangelical production companies are also regularly associated with proselytism.[27][28] According to Sarah-Jane Murray, screenwriting teacher at the US Film and Christian Television Commission United, Christian films are works of art, not proselytism.[29] 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.[30]

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. ^ Roswith Gerloff, Afe Adogame, Klaus Hock, Christianity in Africa and the African Diaspora: The Appropriation of a Scattered Heritage, A&C Black, UK, 2011, p. 190
  4. ^ George Thomas Kurian, James D. Smith III, The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, Volume 2, Scarecrow Press, USA, 2010, p. 95
  5. ^ Martin I. Klauber, Scott M. Manetsch, Erwin W. Lutzer, The Great Commission: Evangelicals and the History of World Missions, B&H Publishing Group, USA, 2008, p. 123
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Coming on strong: Power Team lifts weights and spirits".
  8. ^ Dulles SJ, Avery. Evangelization for the Third Millennium (Kindle Locations 781-782). Paulist Press.
  9. ^ Parker, Michael (2012). "History of World Mission". Presbyterian Historical Society. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  10. ^ Robert E. Johnson, A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2010, p. 99
  11. ^ J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 292
  12. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 63
  13. ^ Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, Volume 2, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2018, p. 148
  14. ^ J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 2738
  15. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 962
  16. ^ Samuel S. Hill, Charles H. Lippy, Charles Reagan Wilson, Encyclopedia of Religion in the South, Mercer University Press, USA, 2005, p. 304
  17. ^ Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, Cambridge University Press, Royaume-Uni, 2013, p. 175
  18. ^ Brian Stiller, Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century, Thomas Nelson, USA, 2015, p. 22
  19. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, The Encyclodedia of Christianity, Volume 3 , Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, USA, 2003, p. 584
  20. ^ Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South, Volume 2, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2018, p. 451
  21. ^ NORIMITSU ONISHI, Korean Missionaries Carrying Word to Hard-to-Sway Places, nytimes.com, USA, 1er novembre 2004
  22. ^ Quentin J. Schultze, Robert Herbert Woods Jr., Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication, InterVarsity Press, USA, 2009, p. 244
  23. ^ William H. Brackney, Historical Dictionary of the Baptists, Scarecrow Press, USA, 2009, p. 391
  24. ^ La Croix, Le pape François dénonce la confusion entre évangélisation et prosélytisme à l’approche du mois missionnaire extraordinaire, la-croix.com, France, August 1, 2019
  25. ^ a b Jean-Paul Willaime et Flora Genoux, "Pour les évangéliques, l'idée reste qu'être croyant, cela doit se voir", lemonde.fr, France, February 03, 2012
  26. ^ a b Loup Besmond de Senneville, Les protestants évangéliques revendiquent d’avoir le droit de dire leur foi, la-croix.com, France, January 25, 2015
  27. ^ Barry Hertz, Miracles from Heaven: Religious film has an insulting and forced message, theglobeandmail.com, Canada, April 18, 2014
  28. ^ Nick Schager, Has Film Review: ‘Overcomer’, variety.com, USA, August 22, 2019
  29. ^ Carl Hoover, Has Hollywood finally found religion? Faith-based films here to stay, wacotrib.com, USA, April 18, 2014
  30. ^ Thomas Imbert, SAJE Distribution : rencontre avec ce distributeur centré sur la foi, allocine.fr, France, January 9, 2019

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