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Various authors share about experiencing God's wonderful presence by knowing Jesus Christ personally through the power of the Holy Spirit.

THe Holy Spirit’s Role

in Evangelism

 BY: Brian E. Trenhaile, July 12, 2008

Table of Contents


I.       Revealer of Christ’s Work

         Author of the Evangelism Handbook

         He Teaches and Reminds Us about the Work of Christ

II.      Equipper of the Church

         Mission of the Church

         Offices and Gifts of the Spirit

         The Power to Witness

III.     Ministry to the Unbeliever

         The Threefold Method

IV.    Practical Aspects of Spirit Led Evangelism

         Divine Energy behind the New Birth

         Following Up with New Believers

         God and History Waits for the Church



The Holy Spirit’s
Role in Evangelism


God has given believers great responsibility through the Great Commission. But He also gives believers tremendous help to accomplish this task. He has committed Himself through the Person of the Holy Spirit to come along sides believers and help them evangelize the world. He does this through a multipronged approached. This approach involves revelation, equipping of the church, and preparation of the unsaved.

Evangelism begins with and is accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the power behind the birth of the New Creation.  The Holy Spirit also assists the church in maintaining and establishing the fruit of evangelistic efforts. 

The return of Christ, and thus the fulfillment history, is waiting for the church to finish its task of evangelizing the world.

I.  The Revealer of Christ’s Work

The Holy Spirit reveals Christ’s work several ways. The Bible is one of the most prominent ways He does this. He also does this through the still small voice and the gifts and offices in the church.

The Author of the Evangelism Handbook

The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible.  The Apostle Peter confirms this fact (I Peter 1:10, 12, 21).  Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit describes the redemptive work of Christ.  In fact it can be said that the whole Bible is evangelistic, because it focuses on the salvation that Christ vicariously provided.  Professor Ladd also confirms this, “The central theme of the entire Bible is God’s redemptive work in history” (Ladd 132). 

The Holy Spirit works through the Word … It is His sword (Ephesians 6:17).  It is through the Word, God’s revelation to man, that the Holy Spirit shows an unsaved man his need of Christ.  We are the instruments that the Holy Spirit uses, for we have had committed unto us the Word of reconciliation.[2]  If we do not rightly divide the Word, and intelligently present it to an unsaved man,[3] we cripple the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Kenyon 266).  

The Bible is our handbook for evangelism.  It provides the command and commission to evangelize.  It gives us the content of the evangelistic message.  It describes the preparatory work accomplished by the Holy Spirit on the lost.  It describes the birthing work that the Holy Spirit does for new creations to occur.  It also describes the ministries and gifts that are available for evangelism.

He Teaches and Reminds Us about the Work of Christ

On a personal level, the Holy Spirit is always present to teach us and reminds of Christ’s completed redemptive work.  He also teaches and reminds us about our present work in evangelism.  Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26, NASB).  Jesus described the revelatory work of the Holy Spirit as follows:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:13-15, NASB).  

II.  The Equipper of the Church

Besides the Bible, the The Holy Spirit equips the church to evangelize in several ways.  The Holy Spirit equips the church to evangelize through the gifts and offices of the Holy Spirit and by giving us His power to witness.  As the author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, is the One Who informs us of the commission that Jesus has given for us to reach the world.

The Mission of the Church

The church has a mission to evangelize the world.  After His resurrection and prior to His ascension Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).  

These verses state that the church’s mission is world-wide evangelization until the end of the age (cf. Ladd, 126).  This commission provides great authority to the church so it can carry out God’s evangelical purpose.

The Offices and Gifts of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit provides gifts and offices to the church for evangelism.  An evangelist walks in one of these offices.  To help fulfill this office, an evangelist is often given the gifts of healings and miracles (cf. Hagan 39).  Philip, one of the first deacons, is an example of these gifts accompanying the office of an evangelist (cf. Acts 8:5-7; 21:8).

The Power to Witness

The Holy Spirit gives the church the power to witness.  Jesus said, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27 NASB).  Right after he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Peter spoke a powerful message to the Jews.  His empowerment by the Holy Spirit resulted in 3,000 getting saved in one day (cf. Acts 2:14-41).  Later Peter filled with the Holy Spirit testified boldly to the rulers, elders and scribes of the Jewish nation (cf. Acts 4:5-12, 18-22).  After Peter and John were threatened they prayed.  The Bible says, “And when they prayed, the place where they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit[4] and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31, NASB).  Of Stephen it was said that he was full of the Spirit (cf. Acts 6:3) and some rose to speak against him, but they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking (cf. Acts 6:10).  These verses prove that Holy Spirit definitely equips us with power to witness.

III.  Ministry to the Unbeliever

E. W. Kenyon states that “It is necessary that we understand how the Holy Spirit deals with an unsaved man, so that we can let Him work freely through us” (Kenyon 265). 

The Holy Spirit prepares the hearts of unbelievers for the gospel.  Kenyon describes this process in the following quotation.

The Holy Spirit today is making real to human hearts the work of the son of God.  The Spirit’s teaching and communications are not His own; they are Christ’s.  The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to reveal to men what Jesus brought about by His death and resurrection.  To show every man that Jesus became sin on man’s behalf so that they may become righteous.  He also shows every man the tragedy of rejecting Christ’s substitution sacrifice (Kenyon 265). 

He further describes the Holy Spirit’s work in the following manner, “The Holy Spirit comes to impart the nature of God to the spirit of man in the new birth (John 3:3-8) and then fill the new creature (II Co. 5:17) with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19)” (Kenyon 254). 

The Threefold Method

Christ gave us the three pronged approach that the Holy Spirit uses to make real Christ’s work to mankind (cf. Kenyon 265).  In the following verses Jesus talks about how the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.[5] 

It is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away.  Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].  When He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment:  About sin, because they do no believe in Me [trust in, rely on, adhere to Me]; About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer; About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence is already passed upon him (John 16:17-11, AMP)

 These verses state that the Holy Spirit comes to fellowship with us and to convict the world so that others will also believe and come into fellowship with God.   

Kenyon states that our preaching is normally out of harmony with the Holy Spirit’s method.  He says that we have not shown man that he is a child of Satan, nor have we shown him his legal rights to righteousness and the nature of God.  We have preached him under condemnation because of the sins he has committed.  God does not condemn a man because of what he does, but because of what he is, and convicts him of only one sin, the sin of rejecting Christ and choosing to remain a child of Satan (cf. Kenyon 266).

IV. Practical Aspects of Spirit Led Evangelism

The Holy Spirit also helps evangelistic efforts in other ways.  He provides the power necessary for people to get saved.  He also helps in retaining the fruit of evangelism.   Furthermore, He continually revitalizes the church’s mandate to evangelize the world.

Divine Energy behind the New Birth

The Holy Spirit is the birthing agent behind any evangelistic effort.  Because it is His miraculous power that results in spiritual birthing of the new creations.

Prayer is tied into the Holy Spirit’s birthing activity.  When the church prays the Holy Spirit is released to hover over individuals, cities, regions and nations.  This hovering results in an exertion of dunamis power that results in many people getting saved.  Signs, wonders and healings often accompany this hovering presence of the Holy Spirit (cf. Sheets 109-132). 

It will help to keep us from error and alleviate some concerns if I state clearly up front, we don’t birth anything spiritually, the Holy Spirit does. He is the birthing agent of the Godhead (see Luke 1:34, 35; John 3:3-8).  He is the power source of the Godhead (see Acts 1:8; 10:38; Luke 4:14, 18).  He is the power behind Creation which is likened to birthing (see Genesis 1).  He is the one who supplies power to God’s will, giving it life and substance.  He gives birth to the will of God.  He is the One who breathes life into people, bringing physical and spiritual life (see Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:9, 10, 14; Acts 2:1-4).  … Therefore, anything we might accomplish in intercession that results in a birthing would have to be something that causes or releases the Holy Spirit to do it … Understanding, then, that it is the Holy Spirit’s power actually doing the work, I want to say unequivocally there is a prayer that births (Sheets 121).  

So, it is essential that for any evangelical effort that the church pray to release the Holy Spirit’s power.  Then it is the Holy Spirit’s part to exert the power necessary for the new creations to occur.   

Following Up with New Believers

Jesus did say, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them all that I have told you” (cf. Mat. 28:19-20).  He did not say “Have them say a salvation prayer and they will be just fine.”  Many in the evangelistic world are concerned about the “Back Door Syndrome.”  This involves people coming to church and getting saved, but then they leave out the back door without any further or very little church involvement.   Others are rightly concerned about people saying the prayer, but these people do not follow through with their commitment.  Some church leaders have found ways to resolve this issue.  But these solutions require the Body to have vision and they normally involve establishing relationships which require considerable commitments of time.  Mentoring, new believers groups, home meetings, life groups and special interest groups are some the methods that have been successfully implemented.  

New believers need to be belong to a church where they will be encouraged in their new life with Christ.  While at church the Holy Spirit assists in their maturing process by ministering to them through the five-fold ministry. 

God and History Waits for the
Church to Complete it’s Mandate

The history of the world is dependent on the action of the church.  If the church is obedient,[6] the world will be evangelized and Christ will return.

This is a staggering fact.  God has entrusted people like us, redeemed sinners, the responsibility of carrying out the divine purpose in history. Why has God done it this way?  Is He not taking a great risk that His purpose will fail of accomplishment?  It is now over nineteen hundred years, and the goal is not yet achieved.  Why did God not do it Himself?  Why did He not send hosts of angels whom He could trust to complete the task at once?  Why has He committed it to us?  We do not try to answer the question, except to say that such is God’s will.  Here are the facts: God has entrusted us this mission; and unless we do it, it will not get done … From the perspective of eternity the mission of the church is more important than the march of armies or the actions of the world’s capitals, because it is in the accomplishment of this mission that the divine purpose for human history is accomplished (Ladd 134, 135).  

Through evangelism we facilitate the process of Christ’s return.  Peter said we are to look for and hasten the coming our Lord (cf. II Peter 3:12).  The Holy Spirit brings God’s plans into existence.  So we can expect the Holy Spirit to help us with this task since it is God’s plan.


God has given the church the great responsibility of evangelizing the world.  But He also has given us Himself to assist us through the Person of the Holy Spirit.  

Sincere Christians want to be obedient to the Lord.  They desire to reach the lost.  But many fear or may have a sense of being overwhelmed at the task of world evangelism.  It is true that this task is great.  But fear and hopelessness are removed as the church gets a better grip on the Holy Spirit’s role in evangelism.  Pressure is removed as the Body relies on the unlimited resources and abilities of the Holy Spirit rather than their own resources and abilities.  Plus the fruit obtained, through partnership with the Holy Spirit, is everlasting.  It helps to remember that the Almighty God comes alongside us and help us fulfill our mandate to evangelize the world.


Hagin, Kenneth. Understanding the Anointing. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Rhema Bible Church, Inc., 2006.

Kendall, R. T. Understanding Theology, Volume I. Fearn, Ross-Shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 2002.

Kenyon, Edward. The Bible in Light of Our Redemption – Basic Bible Course. Lynnwood, Washington: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1999.

Ladd, George. The Gospel of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978.

Sheets, Dutch. Intercessory Prayer. Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1996.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

Scripture references marked NKJV are taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION, Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, by The Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture references marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

Scripture references marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture references marked NLT are taken from the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION ®. NLT ®. Copyright © 1996, 2004 by the Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

End Notes

[1] Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever” (John 14:16, AMP).

[2] cf. II Corinthians 5:18-19.

[3] Peter said, “Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully” (I Peter 3:15, AMP).

[4] There is a need for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to reach the lost (cf. Kenyon 269-270).

[5] The Holy Spirit convicts the world of judgment because the prince of this world has been judged.  What has the judgment of Satan to do with man?  Everything, because man has become his child, and Satan’s eternal home has become man’s eternal home.  After the Holy Spirit shows a man that he is a child of Satan, not only now but for eternity, He convicts him of righteousness, because Christ has gone to the Father.  He shows man that he has a mediator before God, One who, with His own blood, after providing eternal redemption for man, entered into Heaven on his behalf.  He shows that man may become the righteousness of God, and that he possesses the legal right to become God’s child.  Then, He convicts man of the sin of rejecting Christ, the only way of redemption from Satan’s authority – the sin of choosing to remain a child of Satan after he has learned that he may become a child of God (Kenyon 266).

[6] If our view of salvation does not lead us to witness to the lost, we are disobedient to Christ (Kendall 142).