Pastors Who Do All The Work Aren’t Doing Their Jobs!
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Jesus said GoA while back a lady went into the hospital for a few days. While she was there, a local elder, deacon and an elderly lady came to visit her. However she was released from the hospital before the Senior or Associate pastors of the church could come see her. After her release, she was commenting to me that none of the pastors came to see her in the hospital. I corrected her, and told her that three pastors came to see her. According to 1 Peter 2:9 the local elder, deacon and elderly lady are all pastors. 1

The New Testament church was an active church with everyone pastoring and evangelizing. In Acts 8, Philip, a deacon, is evangelizing and baptizing. In Acts 7, you see Stephen, another deacon, being stoned to death – and it wasn’t for taking up the offering or adjusting the Sabbath School classroom thermostat. No, he was stoned to death for preaching the gospel! Wait a minute. I thought preaching was the pastor’s job? Not in the New Testament church! In the New Testament church all the members were ministering and evangelizing.

In the Dark Ages a wide separation was made between the clergy and the laity but that was not the biblical design. As we progress out of the Dark Ages the gap between clergy and laity must be narrowed, in order to get back to being a remnant of the New Testament model church.

Around 20 years ago I moved to Texas to be a Bible Worker. The church had thousands of Bible study lead cards that needed to be mailed out. The pastor asked a lady in our church if she could take them to the post office to be mailed. She responded, “Well if I do that, then what is William going to do?” She felt since I was the paid “Bible Worker,” that I should be doing all the work, and should mail them myself. Wrong! Fact is, if I am doing all the work then I am not doing my job.

My job, along with the pastor’s job is to equip and empower the laity to do evangelism.  If I go by myself to give a Bible study then shame on me! I should always bring another church member so they can be learning how to give Bible studies and also to bond with the student and be another link to the church family. Currently I have about eight adults in my Bible marking class where I am teaching them how to chain reference their Bibles and give studies and get decisions for Christ. I have also been teaching a Bible marking class at Tampa Adventist Academy, where young people are learning how to share Jesus. At the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church our young people and lay members have been empowered to speak at our evangelism meetings and to lead out in seminars. We also have several growth-group Bible studies, and the associate pastor and I are training and mentoring lay members to take over and lead out in these groups. We have also been taking members on door to door evangelism.

If a pastor or Bible Worker thinks of themselves as the ones who are to do all of the preaching and evangelizing then they are not biblical but are stuck in the Dark Ages. Very few pastors today still want to create a huge gap between pastors and laity, while more and more pastors are like Moses, when he said, “would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” Numbers 11:29 With this spirit upon our paid clergy the gospel can spread like wildfire and turn the world upside down, just like it did in the book of Acts when every member was an evangelist! Please keep in mind that if the pastor or Bible Worker are doing all of the preaching and teaching then they are not doing their job. You know the pastor and Bible worker are doing their jobs when they call you and give you work to do!

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Pastors Who Do All The Work Aren’t Doing Their Jobs! — 35 Comments

  1. I cannot agree with you more!! I can relate to the woman in the first paragraph as that happened in a church I was attending and only had a membership of 60 with three members in the hospital and rehab for a month. I have been a member of churches in which the pastor did precious little other than give a sermon every week while telling us that the laity was to be doing the evangelism (and in a conversation suggesting that he wasn't paid enough to do otherwise) without equipping. My current church is beginning the process of equipping the laity to do the work and it is both exhilarating and scary to be outside the comfort zone of sitting in a pew. I have seen this church grow when we had an equipping pastor and seen it come close to closing with a hands-off pastor. We must continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we go out among the lost and for our pastors to continue in the work God has put before all of us to do.

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    • everyone is bestowed with the responbility to evangelize for God..Not only pastors...we are a royal priesthood and the chosen of God..If not we then who else will..

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  2. In the early 1970's Gottfried Oosterwal echoed this thesis in his book MISSION POSSIBLE.The hierarchy of the church from the responses seemed a bit ruffled by his argument. I am glad to see we have come 360 back to this point.

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    • I think we are making a 360 Micahel. I can relate to what you are talking about in the 1970s. For the last 22 years I have worked as a Bible Worker in 3 states. I have noticed how a few (not all) older ordained ministers want to make a distinction between me (just a Bible Worker) and them (an ordained minister), while the younger ordained ministers treat me just as if I was one of them, and make no disctintion at all.

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  3. I totally agree with this process only!!! I do not believe delegating responsibilities just for personal agendas or personal business venues. If Elders and deacons are doing pastoral labor in my opinion and I am sure others agree; they need a stifling. Elders and Deacons do not need to work 40+ hrs. a week and then do pastoral labor while the pastor engages in personal interest and earn a salary. Something is wrong with this picture. The church needs to move forward in proclaiming the gospel.

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    • Point well taken Deborah. Whether we are lay members or paid clergy, we should be doing all we can to spread the gospel, not motivated by salary or personal agenda, but motivated by the cross.

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    • What’s missing in this picture is the structure of the New Testament and early Adventist Churches which were dedicated to church planting. For the last 100 years we have employed a pastor dependant model. Pastors have been the primary care givers. Rather they should function as elders solely focused on church planting and equipping. An additional rationale and motivation would then exist for lay people to do more ministry (on top of their 40+ hour week). Lay people would step up knowing this allowed a full time person to spread the gospel by planting healthy new churches.

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  4. I come from a small church in Zimbabwe and we have been having problems with getting our youth to participate in church activities. How best can we deal with such a problem. PLIZ HELP!!!

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  5. Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
    Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
    Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    This scripture includes pastors, if they personally care they will be there.....

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    • Should have added the comment, if a pastor is way too busy to make a contact with someone that is jail, hospital, or sick, things along those lines of what Jesus was referring too. He should make sure he has an appointed person to go visit the person on his behalf, at the least, God willing. And then make sure the secretary or his wife sends a card. This may sound like much to some, but according to that scripture it is our job to visit people in church or out that face certain circumstances such as mentioned above. Jesus wants a church family to be a real church family, not just a group of people that meet for potlucks.

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  6. I have in mind the first adventist missonary who came to Zimbabwe@ Selous. How they laboured and recruited men and women to equip them for the work of Christ. They were unselfish Men of God. Let us emulate this. Nowadays in some other Churches we have Elders who are selfish and want to stay on the post for life. Do or Die. GOD help us.

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  7. I am very glad to know that.Everyone must know that the Evangelism service is not only for pastors, but for all who recognise Jesus as their savior. I have been faced for some christian brothers, who thinks against the voluntary service to call souls to the Jesus.

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  8. I loved this article and am really grateful because the Lord provide us with right and adequate information at the right time.If we as members of the body of Christ,we are still relaxed and waiting for the pastor and lay-evangelist to do all the work of spreading the gospel,then like Peter we should be converted.The mandate is for all of us.THE WORK IS MUCH BUT THE LABOURERS ARE FEW,BE INVOLVED IN THIS WORK IF YOU TRULY LOVE THE LORD.

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  9. Thank you Pastor William Earnhardt for the article..notice I call you pastor even if you are not salaried for it..The church I worship in here in the UK has come a long way regarding the congregation being at work for Christ..Last year we had about 18 members of our congregation on a Lay preachers course (a record in the SEC)..Our pastor has often encouraged us to touch others since we've been touched by Jesus, challenging the church to move from its comfort zone.. This has yielded tremendous success and when the year started we had a successful Revival two weeks program run by the Lay preachers..There is power when the churches stand to work in his vineyard..The Holy Spirit moves amongst his people who are willing to be used..Ministries are re-energised and the love (which often wax cold) is once again felt within the church..He says we should 'test and see...'

    May God bless us :)

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  10. I am member of a Seventh-day adventist church in the Solomon Islands and i find it boring if all that the church pastor does was to preach the sermon every sabbath - becoming monotonous and too mechanical. Taking on the mandate given by the Lord - 'to go into all the world' and when all the members paricipated, the church becomes more dynamic giving spiritual vigor and strength to do more both in witnessing and personal Bible Study making the role of the Church Pastor somewhat redundant.

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    • Dear William,

      You've hit on why so many church members are "bored" or asleep, or, as Jesus said it, "miserable and poor and blind an naked." they are not fulfilling the mandate the Lord has given to every believer.

      For many decades now, the slowest church growth has been in areas of greatest concentration of pastors. That doesn't necessarily mean that the pastors are bad, but if they're doing all the work, the churches will stagnate and eventually die.

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  11. I noticed the lesson didn’t use the word Laity to describe church members who are not pastors. This is because Laity is not a Bible concept. We are all priests of God with different gifts and responsibilities (paid or unpaid). The pastor is a priest serving as a pastor. Someone else may be a priests serving as an usher. As priests, we should all feel the responsibility to do the work of the church and carry out evangelism. The pastor is a paid worker, and he has dedicated his life to ministry. He will have more time to focus on evangelism. But God has called all of us to witness and evangelize also. What a wonderful lesson.

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  12. The Bible says, "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine ..." (Eph. 4:12, 13).
    God bless,

    Rich

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  13. Pastors have themselves to blame, as they guard the pulpit by not training people first to know Jesus, and after that to train them according to their calling.

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  14. Shepherds do not get sheep, sheep do!
    As soon as we realize that, we would
    assume our individual and collective responsibilities for soul winning in God's army, not His art gallery!

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  15. The challenge is for us to view ourselves first as christians and second as church members and lastly as position holders in A partcular church. AsJesus said in Luke 10:2 "the harvest is plentiful but labourers are few" if we view ourselves as labourers in God's vast fields, we will be able to see ourselves in a more active role of evangelism. Similarly if pastors saw the church as a training facility for labourers in God's vast field, they would assume a more enabling role for those potential labourers.

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  16. Praise the Lord I think we all are onto the same point here. Paid pastors and lay pastors are not suppose to be babysitters for the church. We are all evangelists. Happy Sabbath all!

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  17. It is very important that a church is organized in such a way as to know exactly what they will do if 'newbies' come in. Like for one example, have someone invite them for personal Bible studies. If they show up again have someone planned ahead of time to invite them to lunch at their house, not the potluck!

    We have found from visiting several different SDA churches that they seemed more cold than warm, many do not smile back, it is not the way a church should be. If newbies come in and don't start to feel a connection to the church family, many will leave and we know that. Therefore this organizing each church to be prepared is especially important and i do think that this quarterly is touching base on this point as well.

    Also make sure your church has a set plan ahead of time for conflicts, when or if they arise, so the church is better able to handle them. The devil tries all to hard to cause trouble among Gods people and there should be a set plan for stuff like too. It is called being a true family of God, if you asked me. After all, we should as a church know the ins and outs of the norms and have plans to help the people, not allow them to scatter.

    One couple left the church a couple yrs back and to this day I am still rather appalled at the comment of one of the elders, he said "Well they left us" and he made no effort for any type of reconciliation (there was a conflict) Thanks for reading :) :)

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  18. I agree with all that is been said; what I see in too many chruchs is what I call the Pharsee syndrom; too many pastors and preacher and lay people are too busy and concerned with what benifts them and are not really thinking or doing the work that the spirit of God is showing all true believers. I would love to see more work of love coming forth from our brothers and sister' in Christ.

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  19. Proverbs 14:23 says that all work makes a profit. Deuteronomy 25:4 says that even an ox has a right to eat of his labor. Matthew 10:10 says that the worker deserves his wages; and Luke 10:7 says that the laborer is worthy of his keep. 1 Tim. 5:18 quotes both Deut. 25:4 and Luke 10:7. 2 Tim 2:6: "The hardworking farmer is worthy of the first share of his crops." 1 Cor. 9: 7--"who serves as a soldier at his own expense?" 1 Cor. 9:9 explicates Deut. 25:4 and applies it to ANYONE WHO WORKS. 1 Cor. 9:14 makes it clear that the LORD HAS COMMANDED THAT THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL SHALL MAKE THEIR LIVING OF THE GOSPEL. I can't understand, then, why you think it's everyone's job to go and preach the gospel.

    Further, your sense that Eph. 4:12 makes all paid Christians equippers and senders is absurd and wrong. The KJV does not use the word "Equip," and makes it clear that the five-fold ministry does the perfecting, ministering, and edifying. 4th century bishop St. John Chrysostome spoke the original Greek and interpreted Eph. 4:12 EXACTLY AS IT IS RENDERED IN THE KJV. So forget about "equipping the saints for works of service." It's not in the Bible. It never was, until Westcott and Hort translated your Bible in the late 19th century. Lay evangelism is not in the Bible. The Apostolic ministry is supposed to do it. Stephen and Philip were members of the 72, and were getting at least bed and board for their work. Unpaid labor is illegal, violating at least nine scriptures, which I have listed.

    Additionally, there are enough paid Christians to evangelize the entire nation IN ONLY TEN HOURS. I base this on 600,000 paid Christians in America, divided into 300,000,000 Americans. This is only 500 people per paid Christian. Since there around 2.5 people living in a dwelling on average, this is only 200 homes, which could be canvassed in one 10 hour day.
    Further, since most clergy are overpaid, I could probably double the number of boots on the ground by firing them all, and hiring 1.2 million full time evangelists to go out preaching in the streets and door to door. This way, we could get the job done in only FIVE HOURS. So you see, the paid Christian has the entire load (because no work can be done without pay--Deut. 25:4).

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  20. Dear Robbed,

    I am sure you know, Paul, who wrote that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel, also was a tent maker, supporting his ministry as he refused to take moeny from the church. It was his passion. Stephen was not preaching for money when he was stoned to death. It was his passion. I would like to share a quote from Gospel Workers, Page 67 " Selfish interest must be swallowed up in deep anxiety for the salvation of souls. Some ministers have labored, not because they dared not do otherwise, not because the woe was upon them, but having in view the wages they were to receive. Said the angel, “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for naught? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for naught. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts neither will I accept an offering at your hand.” [Malachi 1:10.] {GW92 67.1}
    It is entirely wrong to hire every errand that is done for the Lord. The treasury of the Lord has been drained by those who have been only an injury to the cause."

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  21. Whether paid, salaried gospel workers or unpaid volunteers, I pray that we all make the ultimate sacrifice and give our all to the proclamation of the Third Angel's Message. When we come together on one accord to do this, with no self-interest tainting our motives, God will honor our commitment by giving us what we so desperately lack to accomplish the mission He has set before us: the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I appreciate all the comments. Now let's get on one accord seeking Him and labor tirelessly for precious souls!

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