It’s Not the Pastor’s Responsibility to Bring the People into Church
When it comes to reaching the community for Christ, the burden of that particular outreach should never belong solely to the pastor. Rather, it belongs to the entire body of Christ.
Far too many laypeople are placing the responsibility of bringing people into the church on the shoulders of the pastor. But it’s not the pastor’s responsibility to reach new people; his job is to shepherd those who are attending church. I understand that many of you may not agree with me on that statement, but I do believe that I’m right. Now, this doesn’t mean that the pastor is not a soul-winner, but that his main focus should be to disciple and shepherd the local body.
We cannot simply wait for people to just magically appear and walk through the doors of our churches; we must go out and get them and literally bring in the harvest. In other words, we should not wait for people to meet Jesus and find us, but we should go out and show them Jesus.
The future of the church hangs in the balance, and this is one of the most important factors on how that future will come together. If we do not do our part and reach those around us, then the church will ultimately dry up. When people are not added to a church, in time, that church will die.
Several years ago, I preached at a church in a particular Southern state, which will remain nameless. As I arrived to minister that morning (it was just a Sunday morning service), I noticed that the church only ran about 30 people (on a good Sunday), and about 20 of those sat on the back row.
Inquisitively, I asked someone how many young people attended the services and, to my shock, the answer that came back to me was, “Zero.” I asked why there were no young people in church, and this person’s response was, “No one wants to go out and bring them in.” This was appalling to me. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned, to say the least, at this person’s admission of not doing anything to reach a vital part of our society.
I was always taught that if we do not do what we can to reach the young people, then the Devil will stop at nothing to ensnare them. That specific church is undisputedly dying off because new life calls for new people.
In order for the church to survive, there has to be a gathering of the harvest, which means that we, as a body, must look outside the four walls of our church buildings, and not heave that responsibility onto the shoulders of the pastor. We must all do our part and go where the pastor cannot go. We run into people that the pastor will never run into. But a word of caution: don’t keep your eyes locked on a goal so far and distant that you miss what is right in front of you.
It’s Time For You To Invite Someone To Church
Everyone has the ability to invite someone to church but, sadly, only about 2 percent of church members actually invite unchurched people to attend. That number should never be so low. Too many church members wonder why their churches aren’t growing, and they begin to blame the pastor yet fail to look at themselves. If church members would do their part and bring someone to church, then their church congregation size would instantly double.
We must do what we can to gather in those who are on the outside of the church. There are so many hurting and suffering. They are looking for answers to life’s problems, and they fail to see that Jesus is the only answer to their problems. They look instead to pills, a bottle, sex, drugs, lust, or whatever else, when the answer that they seek is found only in the Cross of Christ.
I read a statistic sometime back that said nearly 70 percent of first-time attendees come to church because of a personal invitation. Think about that! That is a huge number! People want answers; they want something that is real, and I can think of only one thing that is real, and only one person who is the answer—Jesus Christ.
When I was growing up, I heard my father say in a youth service at Crossfire that you may be the only Bible that someone else would ever read. This means that people are hurting and looking for something that can satisfy their souls, and when you—as part of the body of Christ—reach out to your local community, understand that you are an ambassador of Christ, and should not be like the world, act like the world, or march to the beat of the world’s drum. We have been separated by God for a specific task and, because of that, we should be like Christ and not like the world.
No matter where you go, understand that you are a representative of Jesus Christ. The person of the Holy Spirit lives within you, so ask the Lord for His leading and His guidance and then let the Holy Spirit give you the words to say when you step out into your community.
You have good news to bring to the drunkard, the drug addict, the lost and hopeless, the homosexual, and the transgender—anyone who is bound by sin. You have the good news that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and that He is able to change lives for the better. You have the greatest message that’s ever been told: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).
You may never step behind a pulpit to deliver God’s Holy Word, and you may never be called to give a devotion or even teach a Sunday school class, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it takes to be a witness and reach your community for Christ. We all have a part to play, and we all must look beyond the walls of our local churches, for there are people who are ready to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ if they are given the opportunity to hear it.
Where Do I Start?
After reading this, you may ask yourself, Where do I start? That’s a good question. Start with family members, friends, schoolmates, relatives, teammates, and work associates. You never know, the ones closest to you may be looking for something that can bring them peace, rest, and hope. That friend whom you are always around may be longing for someone to love him, to reach out to him, and show him a better way than the way that he’s been living.
That family member whom you tell yourself will never accept Christ may be hoping that you would say something to her. She sees how you live; she sees the joy in your life, and she desires to know the source of that joy. Once again, be led by the Spirit and seek Him to lead you to that person in need. The people you approach may not accept your invitation to church right away, but keep after them and don’t give up on them; their day of salvation is coming. The fields are white unto harvest and all we have to do is to go out and get them.
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After reading this article, it makes me think of organizations in general that do the same thing with their leadership, and expect them to do all the work when they are not even lifting a finger. And I'm president of an organization in which the numbers are holding steady and not growing because of lack of young people and not going out there or making the connection, irregardless if they are connected to technology or not (which does help). I could a variation of some of these ideas for our membership this year and to pass along to others. Thanks so much for writing this and I hope you can do more articles and teachings on just leadership in general.