I believe that televangelists, those Christian ministers that are seen preaching on television, have a different definition of evangelism than I operate with. I believe that evangelism is sharing the truth of the story of Jesus- specifically focusing on his sinless life, vicarious death and resurrection- with the ultimate hope of recruiting new followers for Jesus.
Often local churches get confused about evangelism. They begin to think that any time someone new comes into the building it is evangelism. This is how the evangelism committee comes to be in charge of the annual chicken noodle dinner. However, that is not evangelism. The chicken noodle dinner is a fundraiser. It does not recruit new people to the
Televangelism suffers the same sort of problems. Consider the follow items that seem to consume the large majority of time on Christian television:
- Church services filled with people who are already Christians.
- Sermons about how Christians can have a better life.
- Teachings about how Christians can have more money.
- Sermons about how Christians can be more successful.
- Fundraising pleas (also known as “fundraising, please”).
On my satellite television system I can get about 10 “Christian” television channel/ networks (this does not include the Mormon channel or the Christian music channel). Much of the time I see the same preachers on every channel. Joyce Meyer and TD Jakes are everywhere. (Interestingly, I never see homely or obese preachers on those stations.) These networks are designed primarily for Christians, who pay the bills for them. This means that evangelism takes a back seat from the very beginning.
If a televangelist were really interested in evangelism he would…
· Get off the Christian channel. People who do not know Jesus do not watch that station anyway.
· He would do more than just broadcast a church service intended for the edification of those who are already convinced.
· He would not spend most of his time raising money so that his program could stay on the air.
But that’s just what I think.