Evan Threlkeld is a missionary-evangelist and a youth pastor. He is married to Madeleine and together they have a burning desire to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost across the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. They fell in love on the mission field in Africa. On today episode of The Evangelism Podcast, you will hear the story of their romance and about the ministry God is calling them to. We also talk about doing neighborhood outreaches in the United States and about reaching Buddhists in Thailand.
Donate to Evan Threlkeld: https://www.modernday.org/field-workers/evanthrelkeld/
Connect with Evan Threlkeld on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/evan.charles.94064
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:03):
Welcome to The Evangelism Podcast. I’m Daniel King and I’m excited about telling people about Jesus today. I have a very special guest with me. Evan & his wife, Madeleine Threlkeld. Welcome to The Evangelism Podcast. Did I say that right?
Evan Threlkeld (00:23):
Pretty close. Yeah, thro. K it’s it’s a tough one because it’s, it’s old Norwegian last name. So <laugh> you did good.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:30):
Well, wonderful. We met at the Christ for All Nations (CFAN) Evangelism Bootcamp. You were one of the evangelism students there, and now you’re a graduate and you are excited about evangelism all over the world. Tell me a little bit about how you ended up at the Evangelism Bootcamp.
Evan Threlkeld (00:54):
Yes, it’s, it’s an interesting story. So I, I interned with evangelist Chris Overstreet at Bethel in 20, 20, 19, and shortly after I went to the school of evangelism, the SOE where you were training, and actually that was evangelist Reinhardt Bonnke’s last school that he taught at. So had the privilege to see him speak. And there was a there’s an opportunity to go to Africa and preach on gospel trucks and do kids crusades. And so I at the time was with Chris, but I said I would be, I would love to go. And I was one of 12 evangelists at the school that was selected. So for five weeks I went to Nigeria, saw thousands, tens of thousands of, of Nigerians give their lives to Jesus. They’re just so hungry over Nigeria. And then at the end of the five weeks Evangel Kada did a crusade and I Ave ACUTA Nigeria and that changed my life. It was a four day crusade. I got to just see so many people get touched by God. And the last the second to last day, Ben was going to ask me to pray for the sick and we just saw incredible miracles. So from there I applied for the bootcamp and that was also life changing experience. So yeah, that’s, that’s how I ended up at bootcamp.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:28):
So first you were interning with, with Chris over street. Chris is a great friend. I was just with him last month, got to spend a whole afternoon with him and, and see the, the powerful impact of his ministry. I really love the, the huge truck that Chris over Street’s ministry has. It turns into a platform it’s got screens on either side and he’s using it to, to preach the gospel. And, and now he’s going into neighborhoods using a, a smaller like sidewalk Sunday school size truck, and preaching in the, in the neighborhoods. And you’ve been involved in, in helping with that to kind of tell me what you’ve been seeing.
Evan Threlkeld (03:14):
Yes, that’s been amazing. So I’ve been a part of nearly every gospel truck event that Chris had, the small gospel truck event that he’s done. Earlier this year, he got the small gospel truck and which has been amazing, cuz he is been able to go into neighborhoods, apartment complexes tight spaces that a bigger truck couldn’t get into and reach entire apartment complexes for Jesus. And it’s been amazing seeing families come out and give their lives to Jesus. And then Chris and their compassion action team started a youth basically kids school for kids where their discipling and pouring into the kids. And you know, if you reach the heart of a kid, you reach the heart of the family. And so it’s been really, really beautiful to see. And I’ve been DJing at I’m a DJ as well. So I’ve been like coming in, just DJing at these events, which is a creative way to, to draw people out. So that’s been really fun.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (04:16):
Okay. Kinda walk me through one of these apartment outreaches. What does it look like? How do you, how do you, and, and Chris’s team attract people to come to the, the event and, and then what does the ministry look like? And, and then what have, are some of the results that, that you’ve seen?
Evan Threlkeld (04:39):
Yeah. So what we, what, what they do is they, they start by going to different apartment complexes and talking to the apartment managers which I actually did in Orlando as well when I was serving at, at CFA for, for a season go in, talk to apartment managers, get permission from them, which which is pretty, it’s pretty easy. If you find someone that, you know, you, you really basically pitch it to them is this is gonna be really good for your community. Really good for retention of of your, of your residents. And you tell them the benefits of what you’re gonna be doing. Like they give away free raffle prizes. They give away cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, you know, all of that. And so it’s something that apartment managers love to hear. So once you get some apartments, then they come with the gospel truck.
Evan Threlkeld (05:38):
But we flyer the apartments for, for a few days beforehand and let the people know we’re coming and what it’s about. And then we show up and, and families come, we start to share the music, maybe go around and let people know one more time that we’re there. And it’s so fun. See all the kids that come, I mean, really the kids are the ones that are so excited about the event they come and they get their popcorn and they’re dancing, they’re doing, we’re doing raffles. So it’s a really fun event it’s. And then in that, you know, in that timeframe, we preach the gospel. We take 15 minute moments to preach the gospel and people, you know, after you’ve blessed them after you’ve loved on them, their hearts are so wide open. And I remember we went down to one of the worst neighborhoods, easily, the worst neighborhood in Portland. Just like two days before we got there, someone was shot and killed in the apartment complex next to where we were. And we had a very diverse crowd. And if you know anything about Portland you know, it’s not really known for being receptive to the gospel per se.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:51):
Portland is always in the news for the wrong reasons.
Evan Threlkeld (06:54):
<Laugh> exactly. Yeah. It’s one of the most unreached areas of America and the most unchurched I should say. And so we did this gospel event and I actually had the privilege to preach just a 15 minute gospel message. I really used a lot of evangelist, Columbus stories and kind of how he trained us at bootcamp and like 17 people got born again, like 15 people raised their hands to get born again. And this was in a church parking lot. So we were able to have the pastor come up, introduce himself, connect with the people and they get plugged into their church there. So,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (07:32):
Wow. What a great report. All right. Let’s talk about romance. Normally I ask people, what’s the number one thing that you got from the evangelism bootcamp? Well, I think the number one thing you probably got was a wife. So tell me kind of how that happened and how the, this romance between you and your wife sparked and, and then what that’s like for two evangelists to marry each other.
Evan Threlkeld (07:58):
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, you know, <laugh>, we I love to, I love to tell this whenever I preach and I introduced my wife, but I remember evangelist bonky would always say, he’d call himself a hot evangelist. And I said, Lord, I need me one of those. And so God answered my prayers <laugh> but yeah, I, I actually went to the first bootcamp in 2020 and then served in the next bootcamp for a season. And I just felt to my heart that my wife is a part of this bootcamp. I just had that strong feeling and sure enough, you know, I, I I met Madeline and we she was actually one of my interns. So we would go to the streets and, you know, evangelize and we’d even go to some of the nightclubs and love on the people in the parking lots with the team and the way that she loved people.
Evan Threlkeld (08:58):
And the way that she evangelized just really touched my heart. She was weeping over these girls. Seeing them get saved and her compassion and love for people really blew me away. So after, after we finished boot camp, I asked her out and then we went on the mission field to Tanzania. And on the way there, I got to talk with her on the plane and in the, in the airport. And I just fell in love. I knew she is the one for me. I just instantly knew in my heart. And so we actually came back to Orlando. We dated for it for a month and confirmation after confirmation came. And in fact, I even wrote in a journal, the Lord really spoke to me and people ask me dating advice all the time, because it was just so successful. I have single guys that ask me all the time that are evangelists. Like, how did you, you know, and I said, well, one thing I encourage you to do is to write a list. And the holy spirit spoke to me to write a list of things that I wanted in a wife. And even one of the things I wrote was maybe somebody that’s Australian and sure enough, she’s Australian. So God really answered that list. And so we, we, I proposed her a month after boot camp after our dating. And then we got married another month after that. So,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:23):
And how long have you been married now?
Evan Threlkeld (10:25):
We’ve been married just over a year. August 1st was our actually yes, it was our anniversary.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:33):
Wow. You know, I, I think some people really have a tough time as an evangelist to maybe find someone that their, their calling would be compatible with the calling of an evangelist because it, it’s not easily being an evangelist. There’s, there’s a lot of travel you’re away from home a lot. I found my wife on the border of Rwanda in Congo, and she was a missionary for, for 10 years before we met. And at the time when we met, she was actually a crusade director. So I was a crusade evangelist. She was a crusade director. It felt like a, a match made in heaven, but it it’s so neat to see that the, the two of you got together. I know that God’s calling is not just on an individual. His calling is upon the couple. And, and so both of you are, are called together and will be a mighty team.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:29):
One will put a thousand to flight. Two will put 10,000 to flight. Yes. And so I think like as maybe some of our listeners, they’re looking for the right wife or the right husband, and I think if you’re just pursue God as fast as you possibly can just go in the direction that God has given you to go, you know, and you’re running after God. And if you turn your head and look, and there’s someone who’s running along with you yes. And running in the same direction, that might be the person that, that God’s called you to be with.
Evan Threlkeld (12:05):
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (12:06):
Absolutely. So, so this last year you’ve been serving as a youth pastor. What’s that like having a, a calling as an evangelist, but being in this position where you are, are serving as a youth pastor?
Evan Threlkeld (12:21):
Yes. Well, that’s great. I, I got saved in middle school and I’ve always had a heart for youth. And even when I was at the boot camp, it was, it was a desire in my heart to really reach the young generation. And I have had countless prophetic words about it and so forth. So my, my wife and I, when we got married, we, we really felt the desire to reach youth. And so actually right when we got married, we were traveling to different youth groups in Florida and, and the west coast. And yeah, there’s a compelling story of, I, I always made it a gold preach in youth groups. And just a powerful story that I still used to preach today was that I went to a youth group in Michigan and I had just come off the mission field in, in Tanzania.
Evan Threlkeld (13:11):
And the pastor said we only have 12 youth in our group, but would you come? And I said, I’ll come for one. And so I came, preached the gospel one girl came forward, gave her life rededicated her life to Jesus. And three weeks later, she was in an accident where she passed away. She was only 16 years old. And so the, the, the pastor and the the grandmother came up to me and said, thank you at the funeral. I went to said, thank you so much for preaching the gospel to my granddaughter, because now I know she’s in heaven. And so this young generation, there’s an urgency. So my wife and I, we came out to Vancouver, Washington at Bethesda church and been youth pastoring for about the last year pouring into the youth learning like their culture, their language.
Evan Threlkeld (14:06):
And there’s so much that could be said. But when we first came in, we noticed that a lot of their a lot of them were hungry, but they came from broken backgrounds or families. And so we really began to encourage them disciple them build them up in their identity, just the foundation of who they were were. And then we began to really teach them about how to pour out. Once we saw that maturity growing in their hearts and their lives, how to pour out in their community, in their family. And so now we, we have students that have been sharing the gospel with their own families and seeing family members get, get touched by God. We’ve seen we had one student he’s been faithfully doing a club in his school for the last three years in his high school. And his high school is very hostile in gospel. He’s just been made, he’s been like the, like the laughing stock of the school, but he’s continued to faithfully preach. He’s in downtown Portland. And so we did an evangelism training with him and Scott McNamara that we went to, and that week he went back to school and preached the gospel and 50 kids gave, raise their hands, give their life to Jesus. And so yeah, it’s just been phenomenal. Being able to pour, pour into them.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:32):
You’re about to enter a new season of ministry. God has put it on your heart to, to launch your own ministry. What, what are you gonna call your ministry?
Evan Threlkeld (15:44):
Yeah. So we’ve been really praying into this and the holy spirit has spoken to us gospel awakening because we want to bring clarity and the power of, of the gospel to the nations.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:58):
And talk to me a little bit about your vision and, and what you see God doing through your ministry over the next few years.
Evan Threlkeld (16:07):
Yes. Well, we really want to keep things simple. We want to preach the simple gospel disciple people, plug them into local communities where they’re gonna be discipled. And we have a really strong heart for Asia for Africa. We really want to partner with some other ministries that are in Asia. We have so my wife, you know, she’s from Australia and she, her parents are pastors just north of Sydney. And so what we’re, what we’re really planning to do is have our base in Australia and America as well. <Laugh> but we want to go to Asia from Australia, and we have plans to partner with friends that are doing crusades throughout Thailand. Indonesia is on our hearts as well as some of the Oceania like islands, Vanuatu Fiji, some of these different regions PNG, Papa, Papa, new Guinea. And so right now we, we really feel that soon we’re gonna be doing partnering with a, a friend that’s doing crusades in Thailand and reaching some of the literally most unreached people groups in Thailand who’ve people that have never even heard the name of Jesus. And so, so far they’ve had thousands of people coming to their gospel truck events, preaching the simple gospel and plugging them into local churches. So that’s where we we’re plan to start.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:46):
Well, I think that’s so brilliant to, to base your ministry there in Australia, because you’ll be so much closer to, to many of these places. It it’s a, a good 18 hour plane ride from the United States, but from Australia, you can get there much easier and much cheaper. And all of those countries that you mentioned have such a tremendous need for a, a gospel awakening, especially Thailand. It’s a nation that is mostly Buddhist. My wife went to Thailand one time and she told me she was on the, the Metro in, in the capital. And she was talking to someone about Jesus. And this person said, oh, Jesus is that an American music star and had no idea that Jesus was a historical figure that lived 2000 years ago. And, and so there’s so many villages in Thailand that you can go to and they, they literally have not heard any of the gospel story.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:54):
I mean, here in the United States, generally, people kind of have an idea of the story of the Bible that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and, and then Adam and Eve sin, and then Jesus came and died on the cross to save us from our sins. I mean, that basic gospel outline, even for people that maybe don’t go to church or aren’t living for God, they kind of know that general basic outline. But when you go to a, a Buddhist station like Thailand, you really have to start with just the very basic that there is a God who created the universe. And let’s talk about who that God is. And so I, I think God will give you tremendous fruit as you go there.
Evan Threlkeld (19:42):
Amen. And I, I know you’ve done a lot of ministry and crusades in Asia as well, Indonesia and Burma. And it’s just amazing to hear about the testimonies that have come out of that as well.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (19:56):
Yeah, God is moving. I love ministering to, to Buddhist people. Let, let’s talk a little bit about ministering to, to Buddhist, you know, in Christianity, the, the main issue that Christianity deals with is, is guilt. We, we talk about sin and being guilty of sin but in Buddhism, the main issue that that Buddha was trying to deal with was suffering. And so the story is that that Buddha was a prince who lived a very rich isolated life. And then one day he was in a, a, a little thing that he was being carried by his servants, and he was going down the street and the, the curtain open. And he saw sitting beside the road, a leper who was in horrible suffering. And seeing this leper shook him to his very core because he saw suffering for the first time.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:08):
And Buddha started to look for ways to deal with suffering. And he came up with four great noble truths of Buddism that helped people to get free from suffering. And so the first truth is that life is, is suffering. Now all of life is suffering. And then he decided that the, the second truth is that this suffering is caused by our desire. And then his third great truth is that the way to get rid of suffering is to get rid of desire in our life. And so he said that when desire is eliminated, then suffering can be eliminated. And then his fourth truth revealed an eightfold path for getting rid of desire in our ministry. And this was all a response to him seeing this Lepar. And so he came up with this, this very complicated plan for getting rid of suffering in our life.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (22:11):
And I always like to compare Buddha’s response to Jesus’s response because in the gospels, we find a similar story where Jesus encounters a leper. And again, this leper is in horrible suffering. No one is touching him. And what is Jesus? Does. He reaches out his hand, he touches the man that the man says, Jesus, are you willing to heal me? And Jesus says, yes, I am willing be healed. And immediately the leper was cured of his suffering. And so the very problem that Buddha was looking to solve Jesus solved. Wow. And I think it’s so beautiful that here Buddha is looking for enlightenment and Jesus actually said, I am the light of the world. And, and so Jesus offers hope to Buddhist, to hinders to Muslims, to people of every single religion. Jesus actually offers the very thing that they’re looking for. So, so I think that will be wonderful.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (23:25):
As you go to Thailand and in other nations in Asia God is going to open up great doors for you to minister and, and for you to, to have a, a tremendous impact. If you’re listening today and you want to support Evan and his ministry, I’m going to put a link on our website that would link to where you can go and to support him. And, and to, to find out more information a, about his ministry. But Evan, there’s a lot of young people who maybe feel called to be evangelist. What would you say to those who, who maybe have a heart for evangelism, but don’t know where to get started? What would you say to them?
Evan Threlkeld (24:15):
I would say that you have what it takes. You have Jesus in you. He is the desire of the nations, and there’s no junior holy spirit. And in fact, I’ve seen some of the young people have the most faith for miracle signs and wonders. And even in our church, when the young people come forward to pray for people, the miracles are astounding and in our youth group. And so I want to encourage every young person that might be listening to this, that you have, what it takes and that Jesus lives on the inside of you. And he’s the one that qualifies you, not your experience. You know, Paul told Timothy don’t let anyone despise your youth. And so you have what it takes. And secondly, I would encourage any young person to really plug themselves into an non-fire church to surround themselves with Onfi, believers mentors and fathers in their life, as well as peers that can encourage them run with them. This generation because of social media is a very isolated generation. And so I would encourage every young person to really run with a tribe of on fire P men and women of God that can encourage you. And so I, I, I would, I would just really love to pray for any young person as well for your school, for your neighborhood, for your family. There is hope.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (25:40):
Absolutely. Please let’s pray.
Evan Threlkeld (25:42):
Yes, father, we thank you for every young person. God, we thank you for every youth worker, Lord that may be listening to this today, father, we pray that your power Lord, that your love that your fire would fall in their lives. Jesus father, we thank you that the holy spirit is the best evangelist. He is the one that leads us, that guides us, that convicts people of their sin and reveals Jesus to their hearts. And so father, I ask for a fresh baptism of your fire. Lord, I thank you for boldness Lord to preach the simple gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection of our king Jesus Christ that others may hear and be saved. I pray for their schools. I pray for their families. Lord my family, my parents got divorced when I was seven and they through a miracle, got remarried when I after 18 years of being divorced. And so father, any families that are broken, I pray that I pray that you would restore families. God restore marriages in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (26:51):
Amen. Well, Evan, thank you so much for being a guest on the evangelism podcast. I’m excited about what God is doing through you and through your ministry. And I know that God is going to give you a tremendous harvest and I agree with you for a gospel awakening all over the world in Jesus name.
Evan Threlkeld (27:09):
It’s been an incredible honor. Thank you so much, Daniel.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (27:12):
Evangelism Podcast Host (27:15):
Daniel King is on a mission to save 1 million souls a year, but he can’t do it alone. Would you consider sewing a financial seed today to give, please visit www.kingministries.com.