Some years back, I finished writing my novel, “I’m…the legend of the son of man”–Jesus telling his own story.
To a large degree, in the publishing world, it’s “have book, pack bags.” In other words, “hit the road, Brother Jack”–and share with people what your volume has to say.
Fortunately for me, Janet Clazzy had recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and for some inexplicable reason, was interested in collaborating in music and a business partnership. She had only one request. Having been raised in the mainline denominational church, she thought it was time for someone to go to the United Methodists, the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians and such, and share a candid message of invigorating hope.
My reply was, “We can be like evangelists to those denominations.”
She grimaced a bit as her eyes glossed over in disbelief. I understood her quandary. The word “evangelist” hardly has a powerful interpretation in the mind of the American people. There have been too many fakes, too much greed, not to mention scandal and immorality, for anyone to take the term seriously.
But I was referring to the position as outlined by the Apostle Paul to Timothy so many centuries ago. You see, Paul explained to the young minister that the day would come when there would be so many misinterpretations, confusions and false teaching that congregations would be sick of hearing all the mess–therefore it would be difficult for anyone to endure, or even recognize, sound doctrine.
After this, Paul makes an interesting insight. He tells Timothy to keep his head, be willing to endure some hardship and to do the work of an evangelist–because the evangelist is the bearer of glad tidings. He is a giver of peace and hope. He is an exhorter to higher standards. And because of his journeys, he offers the children of God an insight on what is going on in the world around them.
So we launched on our journey–that was 22 years ago.
Since then, Ms. Clazzy and I have crisscrossed the country ten times, ministering in thousands of churches and in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
Yet we have never been able to claim our title as “evangelists to the Methodist, Lutherans”–or any other array of denominations. Honestly, the word scares most of the pastors.
We thought about freshening up the term by using the word “messengers,” but thought it was too common.
Enthusiasts: We knew it was too weird.
Proclaimers: Of course, then everyone wants to know what you’re proclaiming.
Jubilators: That was the most bizarre of all, though I later used it as a title for one of my novels.
We realized it was our job, mission and goal–as one book turned into others and music compiled–to bring “times of refreshing”to the church.
So that we have done.
If you are brave, you can call us evangelists. If not, you can fall back on the hyper-safe “special guests.”
But our slogan is concise and has not changed over the years:
Travel light, bring the light.
Here’s the good news: it has worked beautifully, gloriously and fluidly for over two decades.
And the better news is, we’ll see you soon.
Published by Jonathan Cring