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Evangelism is the preaching of the Christian Gospel, or by extension any other form of preaching or proselytizing.

The word evangelist comes from the Koine Greek word εὐάγγελος ("eu-angelos"), meaning bringer of good news. The Koine expression for good news, εὐάγγελιον ("eu-angelion") is used to refer to the four Gospels in the New Testament; and thus the Evangelists are also the authors of the four Gospels -- traditionally known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.



For many groups, a church planter is called an evangelist. Sometimes, the regular minister of a church is called an evangelist in a way that other groups would typically use the term pastor. Among these groups is the Church of Christ and organizations such as The Foundation for Evangelism. The evangelical movement in Protestant Christianity encompasses denominations and parachurch organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association which, among other characteristics, focus on evangelism and the drawing-in of new converts. In common parlance, the title of evangelist is most easily associated with those who lead large meetings like those of Billy Graham, 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 on the street.

Evangelical sociological modeling

Some evangelical groups plan their conversion strategies using extremely precise sociological modelling of the world's entire population.

The Joshua Project divides the world's population into ethnic/religious groups which it terms people groups. As of October 5, 2005, it estimated a total of about 16,000 people groups, of which 6,900 were considered unreached (not converted), and that the total number of people in these unreached people groups is about 2.5 billion. [1]

The group publishes data for all 16,000 of these groups concerning the degree to which a people group is considered to be converted to one of the major world religions. Its modelling includes a parameter called the Joshua Project Progress Scale, which combines different parameters, including, e.g. the percentages of people considered evangelical or adherent to a religion, and parameters estimated by people studying evangelism, such as the Johnstone Church Planting Indicator (CPI) and the IMB-SBC World Evangelization Status Indicator. The scale varies from 1.0 for the least converted people groups to 4.2 for the most converted. [2]

This data is made available for evangelical groups around the world, such as Pilgrim Mission in Poland, to plan their evangelising priorities. [3]

Biblical quotes

A more strict biblical definition of evangelist would equate to a missionary:

  • Ac 21:8 (KJV) And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and cum unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the [evangelist], which was one of the seven; and abode with him.
  • 2Ti 4:5 (KJV) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Non-traditional uses

By metaphorical extension, evangelism may also refer to any form of recruitment or spreading-the-word for a group or movement seen as ideological or committed: hence, for instance, open source evangelism.

In the context of commercial enterprises which develop or foster a cult following and religious-like fanaticism, the term evangelist can become an unofficial or even an official role/title. This usage was pioneered by Guy Kawasaki in Apple Computer's marketing of the Apple Macintosh (see Apple evangelist) and later amplified and codified by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba with their book, "Creating Customer Evangelists."

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