Work of the Pastor-Evangelist

Although the gifts spoken of in Ephe­sians 4:11 are mentioned separately, every active Seventh-day Adventist minister, aside from those in administrative work, is either a pastor-evangelist or an evangelist-pastor, de­pending upon which phase is emphasized in his work.

By S. HORTON MCLENNAN, Pastor, West Palm Beach, Florida

Although the gifts spoken of in Ephe­sians 4:11 are mentioned separately, every active Seventh-day Adventist minister, aside from those in administrative work, is either a pastor-evangelist or an evangelist-pastor, de­pending upon which phase is emphasized in his work.

The work of pastor and evangelist is closely related and, in fact, overlaps. The minister who is primarily a pastor must nevertheless seek to bring others into the fold, or he and his work will suffer spiritually. The minister who is primarily an evangelist must also shepherd the flock he has brought into the fold, even though it be for a relatively short time.

The following Scriptural challenges are given to the pastor and to the evangelist. To the pas­tor : "Lift up your eyes ; . . . where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" To the evangelist: "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring." The challenge in these scriptures is to hold what we have, as well as to bring in more fruit.

In the early months of the present global war, the policy in respect to shipping seemed to be, "Build them faster than the enemy can sink them." When the emphasis is laid exclusively on evangelism, with little thought to the pas­toral side, it seems that a parallel policy, evan­gelistically, is being followed—"Bring them in faster than the enemy of souls can sink them." But our Government is now carrying out a much more effective program in regard to shipping. It is building as many, yes, more ships than it built before, but it is also building and sending along many escort vessels to save what we already have. Would it not strengthen our own work if we would make a greater effort to save what we already have, as well as to bring others in? Truly, we want to win as many, and more, souls to Christ, but we want also to save those who are already a part of the flock.

An old saying is, "A penny saved is a penny gained." It would not be amiss to suggest that "a soul saved is a soul gained." What profit is there in the work of the minister who brings many in through the front door of the church, while nearly as many are leaving by the back door ? More efficient pastoral work will bring more effective evangelistic work.

The work of the pastor falls quite naturally into seven divisions. We will consider each of these in turn.

1. Shepherding the Flock. This should include visitation of the entire membership. How often we have heard the sad comment, "You are the first pastor who has visited me in ____________ years." This ought not to be. It also includes special visitation of the sick, the dis­couraged, the erring, and new members, as well as prompt care of the needy, through the agency of the deacons, deaconesses, and the Dorcas Society.

2. Vigorous Leadership in Denominational Campaigns. If the pastor believes in campaigns and goals, his members will also. The response of the membership is far better and the goal is more quickly reached when the pastor says "Come," rather than "Go." He should, however, be able to delegate authority and responsibility to others. Herein lies the indication of true leadership. Woe betide the pastor who permits his real program to be throttled by running on countless errands, such as hauling sawdust, buying paints, repairing blackboards, and attending to other matters which could easily be handled by his staff of church officers.

3. Presides over Board Meetings. It may be wondered why this should be emphasized or even included. However, the pastor's voice is too often second in importance in his own church board meeting. It is almost superfluous to state that no pastor should manifest a dicta­torial attitude. Nevertheless, he has a divine responsibility as shepherd of the flock and leader of the church, actually to lead. His influence should be the strongest in the church board meeting. Unfortunate, indeed, is the church in which some lay member has gained such power, and has such an almost incontestable hold on a church office through years of occupancy that his mold is placed on every decision and action of the church.

There have been cases in which a pastor has felt quite insecure in his position, unless he became, in effect, a "rubber stamp" to some powerful lay member in his church. Such a situation as this breeds discontent and disunity among members and in time will inevitably pro­duce division and even disaster if not corrected. No pastor should be second in authority in his church. He should truly preside over his board meetings.

In counsel with his board the pastor keeps his church on a sound financial footing by care­ful planning in board meetings. He probably uses some type of budget system. The plan of paying one or two per cent of one's salary is an excellent means of meeting the local expenses of the church and of spreading the responsibility more evenly among the membership. It also eliminates many of those wearying pleas for this need and that.

In the board meeting the pastor should con­duct a regular checkup of the membership list, instead of having a "rush act" in December. Such a policy works on the basis of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Mis­takes are easily made in the effort to meet a dead line. Many a weak member is thus saved before he goes too far on the downhill path.

4. Instills Attitude of Reverence. It is almost impossible to overemphasize this crying need. Sadly it must be admitted that our churches generally have the name of being noisy. Quiet and order are almost unknown in many of them. Visiting members of other churches frequently turn away in disgust at our lack of reverence, and never return. The pastor should address himself to this problem most seriously. Proper ushering, a "speaker" system for mothers with babies in another room of the building, church calendars to give the announce­ments, a planned, intelligent use of dignified church music, and an occasional sermon on reverence should be helpful factors in meeting this problem.

5. Preaches Effective, Spiritual Sermons. The pastor's sermons should be effective in that they have an objective. He aims at a mark and hits it. He uses a rifle rather than a shotgun. Results are apparent among his hearers. His sermons should be carefully prepared. They should not be haphazardly thrown together or be a rehash of some pet topic, so that his audi­tors can whisper, "I know what he is going to say next." We have all heard the remark that a certain preacher "preaches on his reputation." Such a sermon is indicative of a lack of preparation. It catalogues the speaker as being lazy, content to give "the same old thing in the same old way." Most intelligent listeners are allergic to a sermon of that type.

The sermon should be made interesting, with the inclusion of new material and the proper balance of illustrations. Room, of course, should always be left for the Holy Spirit to impress a change, even in the course of the delivery. The spiritual tone of the discourse is, naturally, the most important. "Preach the Word" should be the basic motive in every sermon. It need not be said that each sermon be prepared prayerfully, with the uppermost thought of helping God's children, rather than of deriving any personal glory.

6. Cordial Relationships in the Community. We are to be "in the world, but not of the world." Cultivating the friendship of people of influence and position is of inestimable value in breaking down prejudice and increasing es­teem for our work. It will produce larger and friendlier giving to our Ingathering solicitation, and secure favor and help in preparing for, and carrying on, a public evangelistic meeting. Many times permission to use a lot, or the granting of a municipal permit, hinges on just such a relationship.

7. Organizes Church for the Fullest Service. The following suggestions are made on the premise that the pastor-evangelist will hold an effort and utilize every bit of strength in his church for complete service. Place greater responsibility on the local elders, espe­cially in matters of a routine nature. Have the deacons and deaconesses carry out an adequate program of visiting. Plan with the church board, acting as a missionary committee, to carry on the regular missionary activities of the church, with a minimum of attention from the pastor. Publicly set forth the plan that every member is to have a part in the effort, including a select few for platform work, lay Bible in­structors, ushers, help in the music, a reporter for the newspapers, handbill distributors, and every member helping in the important matter of prayer to God for the success of the meetings.

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By S. HORTON MCLENNAN, Pastor, West Palm Beach, Florida

June 1943

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