by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 9/8/15.
When we Christians use the word evangelist we think of someone effectively sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. But the secular world has observed the enthusiasm of an evangelist and has even borrowed the term to refer to non-profit leaders who are cheerleaders for new ideas.
These principles are put forth in a very helpful book (that all church leaders should read, especially those involved in nonprofit organizations): Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. In the chapter “Inspire the evangelists” is this quote,
“Recent research suggests that people will help more if they are not seen merely as a means to an end, but as empowered equals … (thus high-impact nonprofits create) opportunities for people to actively participate and to experience what nonprofits do … those involved become integrated into a larger community with shared values and beliefs, and are motivated to participate more deeply as donors, volunteers, and activists… (So) give volunteers meaningful experiences … convert your volunteers into evangelists who will spread the word among their social networks” (Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, italics authors, pp. 106, 107, 121, 123).
A leadership exercise
I give my students a followup question (below) which is also a good exercise for leadership teams in both nonprofit and church organizations. If you were directed here from one of my courses then complete this exercise by posting your responses online. If not, then try this leadership exercise with your ministry leaders.
1. Read the definition of an evangelist in the book, Forces for Good.
2. Share the story of someone who is in evangelist in the sense of the book, Forces for Good.
3. What can you personally learn from their life?
4. Finally, is there another name instead of evangelist, that the secular nonprofit world might label them?