A pastor wrote:
How do you balance pastoring the current flock and evangelizing in your community? How do you recruit people in your church to help with both?
Certainly, no one would argue that it is the pastor’s job to pastor, but what we can’t agree upon is whether or not it is also the pastor’s job to evangelize in the community. In other words, is evangelism inherently embedded in the call to pastor. Some pastors would say yes and some no.
If I were coaching the pastor who asked these great questions I would begin by asking:
- What does ‘evangelizing in your community’ look like to you?
- Where did you get the idea that this is part of your call?
- On a scale of one to 10 (one = lowest), how gifted are you as an Evangelist?
- On a scale of one to 10 (one = lowest), how passionate are you about evangelizing in your community?
I’ve spoken to many pastors who are laboring under an expectation that it is their job to reach new people and grow their church. Some actually have this written into the job description they agreed to when they accepted the call to their current church.
Let me briefly comment on each of these questions one at a time.
- How do you balance pastoring the current flock and evangelizing in your community?
I don’t think this is a problem unless your gift-mix includes Evangelist. Some pastors have this mix…most, in my experience, don’t. Now…every believer (pastors included) has a responsibility to know how to share their faith and to do so when an opportunity presents itself. If my understanding of Eph. 4: 11,12 is correct, the pastor’s job is to train and equip the believers to do the work of the ministry. This probably would include how to share their faith, which I will comment on with the second question.
If, however, your gift-mix includes Evangelist, you will want to make room in your week, or month to exercise that gifting. This may or may not look like you spending time in the community getting to know people, etc. but it must look like something. Perhaps a starting point would be to set apart 10% to 15% of your time to this.
2. How do you recruit people in your church to help with both?
This is the hard part, isn’t it? Discover this, bottle it, sell it, and your phone will not stop ringing with people wanting you to speak at the next “How to grow your church” conference.
Once again, if I were coaching the pastor who sent me this question I would begin by asking:
- Are you aware of anyone in your church who has the gift of Evangelist or is passionate about people coming to know Jesus? If your answer is, “I don’t know.” then how might you find this out?
- On a scale of one to ten (ten being high), how certain are you that this is a matter of re-educating or re-envisioning your congregation about evangelism, personal evangelism, church-growth, who’s job is it to reach new people, etc.?
- If it is, where or how might you begin the re-educating process?
If I were coaching this pastor I would suggest:
- Saturate this in prayer asking the Father to stir up the people for reaching the lost.
- Gather together those who are passionate about this, even if only a few. Pray together, dream together, brainstorm together on how to reach new people.
- Begin a process of re-education.
- Be patient.
- Be willing to start small.