Bible Question:

Can a fallen believer be restored or not? I am an evangelist who has fallen. I desperately need to know if I can regain my gift and calling or not?

Bible Answer:

You must be suffering emotionally with sorrow and regret as you reflect on the ministry that you once had and the sin that you should have avoided. The ministry has great joys and outstanding blessings when we serve our God selflessly. The apostle Paul understood that his service to God was to be sacrificial and selfless. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Timothy Paul made it clear that he was an apostle by the will of God. He was not serving himself, and his life was an example to those to whom he ministered (Phil. 3:17).

Ministering By God’s Will

1 Corinthians 12:11 tells us that the Holy Spirit decides who receives the various spiritual gifts and not ourselves. The gifts include those of being apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor-teachers (1 Cor. 12:29-30; Eph. 4:7-12). These individuals did not give themselves these gifts. They were given the gifts by God’s will in order to serve Him and to minister to the church. It is important to understand that God gives these ministry gifts and He establishes whom He wants. In Acts 20:28 we are told that it is God who selects men to serve Him as elders or overseers and congregations or the church leaders. Now some men may be asked to serve as church leaders or in positions of ministry and not really be selected by God. How else can men possess the marks of spiritual maturity listed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These passages reveal that we serve by God’s will just as Paul said.

Rejected By God’s Will

One’s ministry comes to an end when God decides it should. He has given us several reasons why a man’s ministry will come to an end. What we will examine are God’s criteria. The first is simply that we are no longer needed and God allows the ministry to end. The prophet Jonah may be a good example of a spiritual leader who was no longer needed. The only ministry described in the pages of scripture is his less than honoring ministry to Nineveh. The prophet did not want to go, and when God blessed his ministry he complained about the results. After preaching to the citizens of the city of Nineveh, we never hear about Jonah serving God again in any way. It appears that Jonah’s ministry ended after this significant event. The ministries of Enoch, Elijah and John the Baptist also ended when God decided it was time. The message is that God decides and not His servants.

The second reason a believer’s ministry comes to an end is when the spiritual leader has sinned. Moses and Joshua are examples of spiritual leaders who sinned and were consequently not allowed to continue ministering (Num. 20:12). In 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 God has given us a list of the marks of spiritual maturity that His spiritual elders must satisfy. In 1 Tim. 3:2 we are told that His spiritual leaders must be “above reproach.” What follows are the areas that determine if he is above reproach. They are marks of spiritual maturity. The list starts in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:5. They determine if a man is either qualified or is not qualified to be an elder or spiritual leader.

In Acts 20:28 we find an important statement about how God selects elders (including pastors, evangelists, etc.) for spiritual leadership.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28 (NASB)

It is God who matures the man (Phil. 2:11-13). He causes the fruit of the Holy Spirit to blossom in our lives, including the marks of spiritual maturity that we find in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. That is, God is selecting and deciding, but by sinning we disqualify ourselves.

Conclusion:

Now we are ready to answer your question. Since you have not revealed why you are disqualified from being an evangelist, we have assumed that you have sinned since you state that you fell. That is, you are no longer qualified to serve. You no longer meet the qualifications given in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. That means you may never be able to serve again just as Moses was not allowed to continue ministering. When Moses was disqualified, God did allow him to continue. He was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Only the Lord knows if you are permanently disqualified. If you are allowed to continue, you will have to demonstrate a changed life. That will take time. It will take more than a few weeks, or months. I would suggest 5-7 years to demonstrate that you are a changed person. Anyone can fake a changed pattern of life for six months or one year. But seven years is sufficient to demonstrate that he satisfies 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. You ask if you can serve again. It is up to God and how you deal with the sin that disqualified you.

Suggested Links:

Can I return to the ministry even though I had a spiritual fall?
Sinning Pastors/Leaders: What to Do?
What does a Christian do when his or her pastor sins?
Moses was removed from ministry when he sinned
When should a person leave a church?
Moses Call To Faithfulness
Elders and Church Leadership
Marks of Spiritual Maturity
Recovering The Pattern of Biblical Leadership