Why Your Pastor Shouldn't Evangelize
Everyone in your church agrees that Christians follow Jesus in his mission to seek and save the lost. I would even go a bit further to say we rightly judge churches poorly if they don’t have anyone coming to Christ with regularity. But according to the latest statics from Barna, almost every church is leaving that mission to the Pastor and the church staff. In fact, half of the Christians surveyed believe that their spiritual life is entirely private.
That means half of your church was found and saved; hallelujah! But they believe it’s someone else’s job to pay it forward. In psychology, they call it the bystander effect because people believe someone else will do it and remain a bystander. However, that is not the mission God gave in John 4. He said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest.” Look at the field and get in the game. That’s the message Jesus preached while he was here and it’s the last thing he said on earth. “Go and make disciples.”
Your pastor shouldn’t spend his week evangelizing. He should leverage his knowledge, experience, and education into discipleship. So when he disciples you or your friends, you can, in turn, evangelize and disciple others. It's the difference between addition and multiplication. One clearly gets to a higher number than the other.
But before you go jumping down my throat on how your pastor needs to evangelize and blah blah blah. I'm not saying he shouldn't do it at all. I'm saying there are better uses of his time than evangelism being the MAIN thing he does.
Now, this isn’t groundbreaking. It’s not even new. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, advised Moses to appoint leaders so that he wouldn’t get burnt out. David had his mighty men as commanders to bear the weight of war. Jesus had disciples ministering to the crowds. Paul intentionally trained Timothy to lead churches.
What is ground-breaking is our lack of desire to step into the role of the trainer. We want our pastors to be the forever Pauls. The Eternal Moses. But the truth is they can’t spend all their time teaching us and have it go nowhere. It would be a seed scattered on rocky soil. What your pastor needs is for you to take that information and then evangelize to your neighbors. He needs you to change your church model from "come and see" to "go and tell."
I would wager that if you polled your church staff and asked if they would rather have 200 people at a church program or 200 people willing to disciple others, they would take the discipleship every day of the week and twice on Sunday because 38% of your staff have thought about quitting this year. The main reason? They are rowing the boat alone and are desperate to hand you an oar.
So what can you do?
The first thing is to take the next step in your faith journey. Maybe you've been at church for a while. Maybe you're in a small group or helping in kids' ministry. All those things are good. But what you really need to do is become a self-feeder. Learn to take in the Bible, and its teachings on your own so that you don't need a pastor spoon-feeding you small bits every Sunday. There are tons of free classes online that will bring you from baby Christian to a depth that few enjoy.
The second thing is to buy your pastor coffee or breakfast or something and tell them you want a real conversation. Sit them down and say "I know there are things you want to accomplish. There are goals you want to hit and people you want to reach. I've been on the sideline for a while now, but I'm ready to help. I want to start discipling others. Where can I start?" That will be a breath of fresh air for your pastor and probably their favorite conversation of the week.
The last thing is to actually do it. Have a conversation with your co-worker, bring a friend to church, or start a bible study. Just do something. Information is only as good as what it gets used for. If you're taking information in a small group or on Sunday but not pouring it out anywhere then you're wasting space because the name of the game was not "go to a building, have a great devotional life, and enjoy being spoon-fed your beliefs."
Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”