Dear Pastors, Please Stop Evangelizing for Me. Sincerely, the Church.
I want to say that I love you and am thankful for all of the work and service you do. I am so glad that God brought you to our family, and I can see clearly that you love and care for your sheep. I know that you always have the best of intentions, and I know that nothing will ever be perfect as long as we humans are involved.
With that being said, I want to tell you something that has been troubling me. It didn’t really trouble me for a long time, but when I got deeper into God’s word and realized what my role in his plan was, I became saddened by what I saw around me. And it’s not just here, it’s everywhere. I don’t know exactly how it came about or where it started, but I’m sure my actions as the church only served to make it worse.
So here it is: I think that pastors are not really serving well from the pulpit. I don’t know why, but for some reason you think you hold the responsibility to evangelize from the pulpit. I should probably start by apologizing, because I haven’t taken the responsibility God has given me for evangelism. But I guess on the flip side, if you take on that responsibility from the pulpit, I don’t really feel the need anyway. It’s kind of a chicken/egg scenario. I don’t know which came first. Was it the pastor neglecting his real duty or the church neglecting its’?
Nonetheless, here we are. I don’t do evangelism because you do it for me, and you don’t prepare me to do evangelism because I want you to do it for me. I think we both have some repenting to do.
I realize that I have made a big statement without bringing in why I came to feel this way. Let me show you.
“And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.“ – Ephesians 4:11-12
So these verses show clearly that there is a difference between an evangelist and a pastor, and verse 12 clearly shows that the goal of these gifts is to train me to do ministry. And to think all this time you thought you were the one in ministry! It turns out I’m actually supposed to be doing that. I guess we dropped the ball there. Furthermore…
”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
So this is saying that the disciples were supposed to teach me to do everything you taught them to do, which namely is evangelism. On a side note, baptism is also in there, so why do I never baptize anyone? Anyway…
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
I think this means I am supposed to be a witness. For so long I thought I was just supposed to try to get people to come to church so they could hear the Gospel. It would have probably been better for me to just tell them the Gospel myself so that you could edify me and equip me to go do it again. Hmm…
“And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” – Philemon 6
Had I been sharing my faith all along, I think I would be a lot stronger in my faith. My relationship with God has just kind of stalled because I thought I was doing my part. Go to church, tell people I go to church, and try to get them to go to church. I never really grew that much from the services, though, because you were always preaching to the lost people. It always seemed right, because it’s the Gospel. Of course you are supposed to preach the Gospel. How could that be wrong?
It’s like a parent who wants their kid’s room to be clean, but they go in everyday and it’s never clean, so they just clean it themselves. The kid never cleans the room because the parent does it for them, and the parent never understands why the kid doesn’t clean the room. Or maybe it’s like a parent who is always trying to be their child’s friend instead of their parent. So the child has all this freedom without discipline, which seems like it would make the kid happier, but it turns out it only makes both the parent and the child unhappy. Maybe you should stop trying so hard to be my friend and be my shepherd instead. The sheep doesn’t always know it’s in danger, but it needs protection and correction whether it likes it or not.
I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t do evangelism. Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. The problem is that it appears the work of an evangelist is a continuous thing in one’s life. The pulpit is different. I want you to be an evangelist. You should be an example for me. But the example I need is to see you doing evangelism every day. I know God has not gifted me to be a pastor. I cannot follow that example. I must do what God has called me to do, and he has called me to be a worker in the harvest.
So what do you say we try to put the past behind us and move forward. I will try to do my part. Will you help prepare me? You shouldn’t feel like you have to do everything. God made us one body for a reason. You have a special gift. Use it. Please stop preaching to only the lost people. I could really use some training and challenging and maybe even some conviction.