In the New Testament, the "evangelist" held a very important role among the "churches of Christ."
The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 10:14; "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Paul spent many years not only preaching in local churches, but also instructing other ministers, such as Titus and Timothy. Among the many instructions he gave them was this exhortation: "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed." (1 Timothy 4:6).
The word evangelist is translated from the Greek word, "evangelistes" ("a messenger of good"), and is used in the New
Testament along with other relevant terms, "evangelizo" ("to preach good news") and "evangelion" ("good news, or gospel"). An evangelist is not an "employee" of the local church, but is a partner with the local church. They utilize his dedication and knowledge of the Bible to preach the gospel; and, if able, financially support his work. And he is a servant of the Lord, commanded to preach only God's word, held accountable to the Lord, and yet working in partnership with the local brethren. The local church is commanded by the Lord to support evangelists, both financially (1 Corinthians 9:3-14) and morally (Romans 1:11-12; and 1 Corinthians 16:17-18). Together, a faithful evangelist and a dedicated local church make great partners in the work of the Lord.
Our current evangelist is Lanny Smith. In 2006, Lanny moved to work with us at Fishers. Since that time, and as of this writing (2011), the church baptized at least 24 people, and had at least 62 Christians join with us our work. But as with any local work, it must also be noted that other members have moved away, fell away, or passed away during that time as well. But whatever "the numbers" may say, the church has grown to be fully supporting of their evangelist, as well as giving temporary help to others at times. The church has also been able to appoint elders and deacons, as well as improve its facilities for worship. We record all sermons and distribute CD’s of them across the United States, as well as maintain this website. Lanny preaches weekly sermons, teaches two weekly classes, and provides articles for a weekly bulletin. In addition, he holds about 6 week-long gospel meeting per year at other places. Lanny is not ashamed to share his faith, both in his everyday life and from the pulpit by extending the Word of God plainly and boldly without the opinion of men (1 Peter 4:11). You will find that not only is Lanny thorough in his preparedness of lessons, he will always provide Bible book, chapter and verse for everything he preaches. Lanny is also presently serving as an elder. Lanny and his wife have one son and daughter-in-law who are both faithful Christians.
Prior to moving here to work with us, Lanny had lived in Kettle, KY. He moved there in August of 1990, to work “full-time” with the Hickory Grove church of Christ. He labored there for 16 years. During that time, elders and deacons were appointed, classrooms were added to the building, and over 50 people were baptized. He published a monthly bulletin for 15 years. The bulletin was mailed out to the community as a medium of evangelistic outreach. He has worked with four other local preachers in conducting an annual tent meeting in the Burkesville area. Lanny has also written in the local newspaper, and preached on local radio. His radio work included a “preaching” format, and a “question/answer” format. During his last year at Hickory Grove, he also served as an elder of that church.
Prior to his preaching work in Kentucky, Lanny worked in the plastics industry from 1980-1990, serving in both “research and development” as well as “quality control.” He was baptized into Christ in February of 1983, and preached his first sermon later that year. At that time, he also began to do “fill-in” preaching in many congregations around Indianapolis until 1990. Some of those congregations were: Castleton, Lawrence, Trader’s Point, and Stilesville.