While using my handy Logos software to do a little background study for a paper at school, I came across something disturbing in Nave’s Topical Bible. As if I needed a reminder of the negative effects of Christendom models of churches, I was shocked to discover that Nave’s has no entry for “Evangelism” in its catalog of Biblical subjects. Instead, the evangelism entry reads, “EVANGELISM. See Minister, Duties of.”
Evangelism is part of the pastor’s job description because it is a part of every Christian’s job description. Instead, most Presbyterian churches I’ve been a part of operate in a model of church where we still expect unchurched people to magically show up on Sunday morning if God wants to save them. Forget going out to spread the good news of the Kingdom in the world – that’s the pastor’s job. It seems that many church members outsource their duties as ordinary Christians to the staff of the church. We outsource children to youth pastors. We outsource responsibilities to ensure social justice to mission committees. And as this example blatantly shows, we outsource the work of evangelism to the pastor. All the while, we forget that the job of the pastor is to “equip the saints for ministry” (Eph. 4:12), so that all of the Church, pastors and lay-people, ordained and non-ordained, engage in ministries like evangelism, witnessing to social concerns, and nurturing their own children in faith. I pray that more and more church-members will start to realize their own responsibilities and that God will grant me the grace to lead congregations this way.