Do You Keep Your Pastor From Evangelizing?
Many Christians, especially those who serve in some from of full-time vocational service, experience a unique bias toward those who do not know Christ. Christian people who are trying to grow in their faith surround themselves with other Christian people. They read Christian books, listen to Christian radio, and have Christian symbols displayed on their person and workspace, if possible. For those in Christian service, their primary responsibility lies in taking care of the flock of God. They work with Christians, have a Christian coffee mug from which to drink, have Christian paraphernalia decorating their offices, and fellowship primarily with other Christians. As a result, most Christians have very little contact with those who do not know Christ.
Truthfully, most Christians probably do not like being around non-Christians. Once Christ has transformed an individual, that person will often become very aware of the behavior of others. People outside of Christ become offensive in the language they use, in the attitudes they demonstrate, and in the behaviors they accentuate. As a result, many Christians isolate themselves from non-Christians.
If one truth can be communicated at this point, it is this: the reason that lost people act the way they do is because they are lost. That statement is not meant to be pejorative. It is meant, however, to arouse Chrsitains to examine their lifestyles and to discover why they are not more engaged with people outside of Christ. Evangelism must become a priority for believers if a Great Commussion Resurgence is to take place. For pastors, that level of primacy must begin with them. . . .
One of the reasons pastors are not witnessing is because they are responsible for a plethora of activities. They have administrative duties to handle including budgeting, staffing, planning, and programming. They have ministry to be done, from visiting Aunt Susie because her bunions are hurting to ministering to a family who has suffered an untimely death. They have visits to make, from hostpitals, to nursing homes, to the homebound, and to new members. They have discipleship to accomplish, from prayer groups, to personal mentoring, and to preparation for weekly Bible study. And they have sermons to prepare…lots of sermons. . . .
In the end, little time is left for evangelism. The most unfortunate issue in this entire scenario comes form the fact that the pastor will be criticized if he does not visit Aunt Susie, or if he misses seeing a church member who just needed a visit, or if his sermons are not as exciting or uplifting as that guy on television who smiles a lot. Rarely do people become upset if he has not done any evangelism….If we really beleive in evangelism, then churches must release their pastors from activities that members of the church can accomplish…
from The Great Commission Leader: The Pastor as Personal Evangelist by William D. Henard
in Great Commission Resurgence (ed. Chuck Lawless and Adam Greenaway)
pg. 273, 274, 278