By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM)–Louisiana Baptists are urged to pray for evangelists, whose collective ministries are among the most negatively impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 crisis.
“Pray for our evangelists,” Keith Manuel posted on his Facebook page. He is the director of the Louisiana Baptist evangelism and church growth team.
“So many people will not be aware of the potential economic hardship they are facing. Most, if not all of them, are having months of meetings cancelled. If you are a partner with them, maybe the Lord will put it on your heart to help ﬁnancially or in another way,” Manuel explained. “Most of our evangelists are living on a very small income. Pray for their needs to be met as you pray for so many others who will lose their incomes during this crisis.”
Louisiana Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists President Gary Bowlin said the cancellation of revivals due to COVID-19 come at what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for evangelists.
“The biggest thing is that we are not able to share the Gospel and see people saved,” Bowlin, founder of Gary Bowlin Evangelistic Association in Summit, Miss., told the Baptist Message. “Cancellations have shut down the majority of our ministry income. Most of us are in faith ministries that rely on the love offerings from the churches where we preach to pay our bills and feed our families. We have no backstop like church ministers or denominational workers who have regular salaries. I know that some way the Lord will provide for us. He always does. How He does that is yet to be seen, but that is why it is called a faith ministry.”
Bill Britt, founder of Compel Outreach International in Haughton that plants churches and orphanages around the world and maintains a Bible university for pastors in India, said he respects the decision of pastors who are navigating unchartered waters.
“I have been impacted by various events being cancelled,” Britt said. “No one knows how long it will be until churches are able to have corporate worship services again. That in turn affects us ﬁnancially.
“The evangelist doesn’t receive a salary like other ministry positions,” he continued. “All, or a majority of, evangelists’ income consists of revival love offerings. I lead a global ministry and the needs in these various locations around the world still have to be funded. I am trusting in the Lord to provide for our ministry, however He may choose.
“I would like to ask everyone who reads this to pray for an evangelist you know, or do not know, for that matter,” he added. “Contact them and encourage them in these days. Also, after this crisis is over, call an evangelist and schedule them to come to your next event.”
Evangelist David Hanna said eight of his outreach events have been postponed.
“Please pray for the churches and pastors as God continues to move in the hearts and lives of these individuals,” said Hanna, founder of David Hanna Ministries in Coushatta. “At this time I am secluded in my home and really trying to get a clear word from God. The Bible says, be still and know that I’m God.
“I’m not sure that this is a judgement of God on our land, but one thing for sure, He has virtually brought our nation to its knees,” he continued. “Let’s join together in prayer and ask God to heal our land. Everyone you talk to is praying for God to give us a revival. We need a spiritual awakening in our land. And maybe we need to pray the prayer of Habakkuk, who said, ‘Revive thy people in the midst of the years.’ Lord God, please do it.”