Christmas Evans Ordained (1789)
Christmas Evansdid not like memorising his sermons because he thought that he was not allowing Holy Spirit to have His way, so he began to preach by inspiration, but he found that was just as bad. He was so dispirited that he entered every pulpit with dread. He carried on with his preparation and training until he went to a Baptist Association meeting at Maes-y-berllan chapel in June 1789, when he was persuaded to go to preach in North Wales where there was such a shortage of ministers. He left for Lleyn, Gwynedd directly from the meeting, travelling with some of the ministers from North Wales who had attended the meeting. Lleyn was a wild and primitive area, although very beautiful. Evans was ordained at Salem, Ty’ndonen; shortly after his arrival in Lleyn. It was relating to this time that he made a note that, “I then felt that I died to the law; abandoned all hope of preparing myself to apply to the Redeemer; and realised the life of faith and dependence on the righteousness of Christ for my justification.”
It appears that it was only now that Evans was truly converted and it is probably no coincidence that his power as a preacher began to appear almost as soon as he took up his first ministry position. He wrote, “I could scarcely believe the testimony of the people who came before the church as candidates for membership, that they were converted through my ministry; yet I was obliged to believe, though it was marvellous in my eyes.”
One of the many preachers he heard while ministering in Lleyn was Robert Roberts. He noticed how Roberts used graphic pictures to convey his message and realised that was something he could do as well. He had had the idea before, but was unable to work out how to apply it until he heard Roberts. This became one of the distinctive characteristics of his preaching and he has often been compared with John Bunyan who used a similar device in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. Evans always learned a lot from the many preachers he heard and he used what he learned to improve his own manner of preaching.