When I say "Ministry is sloppy," I have a feeling most know what I mean: accusations, broken hearts, betrayal, tears, shock... In the short time I've been "in the ministry" I've seen how tough it can be. But really, that is life. That is people! (By the way, you kind of need people to minister to if you are a minister!)
People are hard to figure out! About the only thing we can know for sure about people is that we don't know any of them as well as we might think we do. The Bible tells us "all have sinned," "there are none righteous," and in general "the heart is deceitful in all things and desperately wicked," so why should we be surprised when others lie to us or let us down? Furthermore, we shouldn't set ourselves up to be anything more than fallen beings ourselves. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we are capable of committing all sorts of sins.
However; hurting, broken, messed up people need someone to trust. I know, I know, they need God and He is the only One they can fully trust...but there is a reason God uses tangible, human "messengers" to deliver His word and to conduct His business. People need that human element to which they can relate. Unfortunately, we are fallible just like the ones to whom we are ministering! So for that reason alone, we must purpose to be the best human element we can be for His work.
We need to be real, but we must train ourselves to be what the Bible tells us to be: alert, "sober-minded," equipped with knowledge and wisdom. We must fine tune our skills in the arts of communication and management. I'm not saying it is easy (In fact, I feel a little hypocritical just writing this article!), but it is what we are called to do. With that, let's look at some practical advice that will help us ministers not be so sloppy at the job we are called to do: (Lord knows I need to improve at each of these!)
1. Pray often! (We have His help or we fail. Simple as that.)
2. Set strict guidelines to help you avoid being lured into situations that could damage your testimony.
3. Memorize tons of Bible. (Word-for-word, including reference.)
4. Learn to read, write, and speak better. (This is pretty much the essential "trio" of communication.)
5. Always be well-groomed and appropriately dressed in public. (Physical appearance is very necessary for making the right impressions.)
6. Learn not to be content with incomplete or shoddy work. (Keep improving all the time.)
7. Learn to prioritize! (The non-essentials can wait while we get the most important things completed first.)
These sound so simplistic, but really, let's stop being sloppy!
God bless, and may your passion for ministry grow as you "addict yourself" to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
No, seriously, hear me out! In many ways, second men are to the church what housewives are to the home. If you don't like that statement it could be that you don't understand either position or respect it for what it is worth.
Some evidence of this being an accurate comparison can be found in smaller churches that don't have a second man. Who usually fulfills the role? The pastor's wife! Now, don't misunderstand the illustration; even apart from the obvious fact that we are...well...men, there are definitely many ways in which we cannot be compared to literal wives. And most of us have our own families that we must tend to in a different way than what this article is talking about. But I just thought I would take a minute and jot down some similarities while I am still thinking about it. I'd love your help on pointing out some of the similarities I have missed:
-A good second man will be a helper "meet" for his pastor.
-A good second man will lift up and honor his pastor in the presence of others.
-A good second man can be entrusted the responsibility of running the affairs of the "home" in the pastor's absence.
-A good second man will not nag and complain about every little thing the pastor does.
-A good second man will be a sounding board and will help implement the pastor's ideas and goals for the "household."
-A good second man will offer helpful solutions rather than increasing the amount of problems.
-A good second man will help provide a place of comfort and joy for the pastor rather than making it grievous and troublesome. (Hebrews 13:17)
-A bad second man will do whatever they want to do when the pastor is not over their shoulder.
-A bad second man will fight and question everything the pastor does.
-A bad second man will take the side of the "household" over the pastor.
-A bad second man will care more about advancing themselves fulfilling all their own needs.
-A bad second man can be the most hurtful and do the most damage to a pastor.
It was right before the Farm City Days parade, and much of our townsfolk were gathered together at the Square. My family and I were passing out copies of John and Romans with gospel tracts. We got a lot of "thank you's," and a few "no thank you's," but what stuck out the most in my mind was one particular response that I didn't know how to handle at the time.
"I have my own beliefs," one man said. I paused for a moment, kept the material, and moved on. I wondered what a person could believe that would actually be their own belief? I guess all of our beliefs to some degree could be called "our own beliefs," but surely those beliefs are a mixture of what we have heard or read from others, what we have observed with our own eyes in nature... and what we just want to believe for some reason or another.
Later, I asked myself how I should have responded. Perhaps I should have responded with "I'd love to hear your beliefs, do you mind sharing?" (to which he would most likely have said "yes, it's none of your business") I could have just asked him "Now, do you mean they are your original beliefs and no one else shares them or are you just saying you don't believe the Bible?" At any rate, I really wished I would have found out what he meant by "I have my own beliefs" before I walked away.
If a person doesn't view the Holy Scriptures as their main source of their principles and moral standards, then obviously they have rejected them, whether they are really saying "I have my own beliefs" or they are saying "I don't believe the Bible because I believe what someone else has told me." But the real problem is when "Bible believers" say "I have my own beliefs," and unfortunately, whether we realize it or not, we are probably guilty of saying this quite often.
How many times have you heard or said this,
"Here's What I Believe The Bible Is Saying."
That is often no different than saying "I have my own beliefs." I'm afraid we have gotten into a bad habit as Bible teachers and preachers of making the Bible say what we want it to say...or what someone else has told us it says. There is nothing wrong with having confidence in God's Word, there is everything wrong with having too much confidence in other men or in ourselves to interpret God's Word the way we want.
When I was in Bible college, I was a member of Southwest Baptist Church. At the time, Brother Sam Davison was pastor, and I'll never forget a particular message he preached on the text found in Genesis 6 regarding the "sons of God." I suspected he would be very dogmatic about the position he held and would show us exactly what the Bible said about the subject. I was eager to know what I was supposed to believe about this subject.
To my surprise, he carefully presented all three common views. He gave the reasons people have those views, and then pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of those views according to Scripture, and why he THINKS one of those views is probably correct. I learned so much about Hermeneutics and Basic Bible study by observing how he handled that one subject, that I hardly needed the class after that. To this day, I try to handle most subjects I'm not 100% sure on the same way (not to say I don't fall into the "this is what I believe" trap from time to time...why do you think I am writing this article?)
I realize it is good to take a stand. I realize there are certain people in our lives we are going to trust more than others to guide us. Most importantly, I realize that we have the Holy Spirit within to guide us... but this doesn't mean we cannot be deceived or deceive ourselves when trying to interpret the Bible. I am far from being any kind of authority on Scripture, but I have found that the more I study the Bible with this thought in mind, the more I am discovering in which facts I can be most confident and on which truths I can stand the firmest. I have found it is far more dangerous to have "my own beliefs," than it is to say "I'm still trying to figure that out."
I'm reminded of the words of the blind man to whom Jesus gave sight. When they tried to convince him that Jesus was a sinner and could not be given credit that should only be given to God, he replied "Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25).
God bless, and may your passion for ministry grow as you "addict yourself" to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
Imagine you're in a war. You're firing at the enemy, and the enemy is firing back at you. Your battalion has no idea how the enemy discovered your current location. What is worse, the enemy seems to know your every move before you make it. They are detonating all your valuable equipment and your arsenal. They are finding all the places you and your battalion thought were safe places. You watch as faithful men all around you are falling. Many surrender and are marched off into captivity.
Then things are silent just long enough for the smoke to clear. You scan the area with your binoculars to discover the most heart breaking sight you could have ever imagined--one of the best men from your battalion is among the enemy. He is dressed like them. He is armed and has been firing at you the whole time. He has been sharing classified information with them and leading them to every vulnerable spot where they could do the most damage. You are sunk. You can't even imagine moving forward any farther. You feel you have nobody left that you can trust.
"And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor."
Those who are closest to you have the ability to do the most damage. This is a very real and scary truth. Just for a moment, nevermind that everything worked out for good according to God's plan. That is not the point. Judas was a traitor, and Jesus and the rest of the disciples were hurt and betrayed by him!
I expect that none of us would ever want to be a Judas. Yet, if we are not careful, we second men have the potential to become traitors ourselves and have a huge impact on the destruction of our pastor (or at least his current testimony and ministry). I would hope none of us would ever be so wicked as to desire our pastor's destruction in any way. But I would venture to say that we could unknowingly be hurting him and putting "The Mission" in jeopardy by some of our careless actions.
Following are a 10 simple thoughts that could go a long way in keeping us from ever becoming a "traitor" to our pastor and church family:
1. Recognize the importance of the mission of the church, and make that your main focus.
2. Recognize the dangerous and manipulating power of the enemy to hinder the mission and to destroy the church from within.
3. Pray! Pray for your pastor, pray for your fellow laborers and church family...our greatest asset is prayer.
4. Discuss any significant differences of opinion (regarding theology, methodology, etc.) you have with your pastor in private.
5. On things you cannot come to agreement on, assure your pastor that you recognize his authority and you will do your best to support his views (this doesn't mean you necessarily compromise your own convictions).
6. Never talk negatively or engage in gossip about your pastor to members of your church.
7. Rebuke anyone (in love) that would come to you secretly to discuss their negative views about the pastor, and demand that they talk with the pastor about them.
8. Be sure to let your pastor know if you have engaged in such a discussion with other members, and reassure him that you will discontinue further discussions to the best of your ability.
9. Support your pastor publically as often as you can.
10. Even in the worst possible case, if you must resign your position on account of major disagreements you have with your pastor's doctrine or methodology, resist any pressure to criticize or belittle him to your next pastor or other fellow pastors or church members.
(All three of these structures assume that "elder," "bishop," and "pastor" are all interchangable titles, and that pastors are paid by the church.)
In the first example, there is somewhat of a plurality of pastors with the "senior pastor" being the main leader. These "pastors" work closely together and are typically all paid by the church body. Deacons are not paid, but share in some of the main decision making of the church and are typically more actively involved in the support of the ministries and upkeep of the church.
In the second example, there is one pastor, and he works very closely with his "assistants" who actually fulfill what would be the Biblical role of a "deacon" in teaching, soul-winning, and carrying out various ministries in the church. In this case, the "deacons" are usually provided for financially by the church body.
In the third example, there is one pastor who serves similarly to a CEO of a corporation. He typically hires his assistant pastors who would be more like managers or "vice presidents" of a corporation. Typically, the assistant pastor(s) would be brought on staff with some sort of agreement of financial compensation. Deacons are laymen of the church who typically share in the decision making and support of the ministries and upkeep of the church.
Don't forget to take the survey above. That will really help me with some upcoming articles I am preparing. Thanks!
God bless you, and may your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15)
Above is a photo of Richard Proenneke. Proenneke is a well-know, self-taught naturalist who lived alone in the Alaskan wilderness for over thirty years, well into his eighties. A documentary (one of my favorites) was made from his videos and written records of his life and adventures. The documentary is called Alone in the Wilderness. I'll come back to Proenneke in a minute...
I had a dream this morning (I have similar dreams from time to time) where I am trying to run a church service in Pastor's absence. Totally unprepared, I was still trying to figure out what I was going to preach. I had a tough time getting people to even listen to me, so I kept trying to raise my voice...which for some reason is a task I really struggle to accomplish in my dreams (okay, a little in real life too). Eventually, I decided the message I was going to preach was about the loneliness in the ministry (Please, let's forget about trying to psychoanalyze this dream for the time being). Thankfully, I woke up and didn't have to watch myself try to stumble throught the sermon with no outline or notes... but the dream really stuck with me all morning.
I began to think of the many times I have heard people in the ministry tell me how lonely the ministry can be. Sure enough, I have watched pastors and assistants grow very lonely and even depressed. I have maybe experienced it a time or two since I've been in the ministry, too, but I have learned a few things that are almost always the case. In trying to explain, I'd like to make a comparison to Proenneke's life.
1. If we don't want to be alone, we have to choose not to be alone.
In the case of Richard Proenneke, being "alone" in the wilderness didn't seem like such a bad thing. We tend to think of being all alone as a terrible thing, but the fact is, being alone can grow on you. I for one love solitude. I'm not so sure I could live without companionship for thirty years (not sure why I would want to), but I love to hike or run on trails alone. I don't mind spending hours working on a project by myself (In fact, I often feel as though I get more accomplished on my own), and I have worked for years cleaning office buildings early in the morning or late at night all by myself with nothing but my work, my thoughts, and quite often some good, old, Bible preaching on my mp3 player.
But I have to admit. I sure am glad I get to come home after work or after a nice long run and sit down at the table and eat dinner with my family. I'm glad for every opportunity I get to share with anyone who will listen as small sample of all the things that have been going through my head in my time spent alone. I'm glad for some interaction with people, honestly, even if it is just a comment on my Facebook post or a text message from a friend of family member. I'm not sure I could handle solitude without the comfort of knowing companionship is there whenever I want it.
2. We have to realize the dangers of staying alone.
First of all, let me scold myself and Mr. Proenneke for a second. Avoiding people for our own pleasure is selfish, plain and simple! There are people who need us, no matter how much we feel like they don't. Proenneke may not have had a wife or children, but most of us in the ministry do. There is simply no excuse for us to isolate ourselves from them for long periods of time when we have a responsibility to invest time and energy in them (and I'm not talking about going off to Alaska for thirty years, I'm talking about avoiding conversations and finding every opportunity to get away from people so we can be by ourselves). This is not just selfish, but it is dangerous on many levels. Our marriages require us to be good companions, our relationship with our children require it, and our ministries require it.
Now, if we enjoy the solitude, there is certainly nothing wrong with getting a way an hour or two...or even a day or two... It can be great for our spiritual, mental, and physical health. I strongly recommend it. But we must remember our responsibilities are to others first, not to ourselves.
3. We can't be too picky about our companions.
But let's say we never asked to be alone. Let's say we desire companionship but it just doesn't seem to be available. Maybe our personalities don't seem to match others. Maybe people just don't seem to like what we like or the things we care about don't seem to be a priority to them. My advice here is simple--we need to quit being picky about who our companions are. We need to allow them to have their annoying quirks (trust me, we have ours!). We need to allow them to not understand things we think they should understand (we don't understand all the things they think we should understand either). In short, we need not be "perfectionists." Perfectionism is just a figment of the imagination. We determine in our own minds what perfection is...even though others have a completely different view of what perfection is. We need to just decide to be a companion and to accept the campanionship of others despite our differences (of course, I'm not talking about hanging around those who would lead us away from following Christ).
In conclusion, yes, I suppose the ministry can feel quite lonely. We can sometimes feel like we are the only ones left who want to serve the Lord...but we aren't. We can feel like we are shouting at the top of our lungs and no one is listening...but some are. We might feel like no one wants our company, but I guarantee there are plenty who could use it, whether they know they want it or not.
May the Lord bless you, and may your passion for minstry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
1. It helps you stay focused on the sermon.
I struggle to stay awake through sermons. There, I said it!
No, I'm not praying, as much as I'd like you to believe that. I'm falling asleep! Yes, I got some sleep last night (though maybe not as much as I would have liked), but still I am falling asleep during the preaching.
It has very little, if any, to do with the preacher or the sermon preached; it is simply a matter of my body shutting down when I am sitting still. Many can relate. I can rarely sit through a whole movie, I hate board games that take longer than 15 minutes to play...and I might yawn 5 or 6 times during our conversation. I might not even make it through writing this article before I start another one. I like to be active and I have a short attention span (Call it ADD, ADHD or whatever). I'm not saying I shouldn't work on it more, and I'm not trying to make excuses for myself. It is just the facts.
For several years in Oklahoma, in a church of about 2,000 members or so, I sat in the choir, and people watched my head bob throughout the sermons. For many of those years, my favorite preacher was my pastor--Sam Davison. I love his style, the way he takes command of the service, the way he so clearly communicates the Scripture, the way he applies it...even his farm illustrations made me want to be a farmer... but I would nod off several times during his preaching, and people would ask "How can you sleep during Sam Davison's preaching?!" I don't know, I just did.
One thing I have noticed that helps with this, however, is the simple practice of saying "A-men" throughout the message. You have to be careful, though, because if you are not paying attention you may holler "A-men" at a very inconvenient time. Some preachers will trick you, you know?
"Let's go to Romans 10:13," the preacher will say. "The Bible says 'for whosoever shall be BAPTIZED shalt be saved,' right?"
You shout out, "A-men!..."
Suddenly, everyone is looking at you and the preacher says "No, not A-men, it says whosoever SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD..."
You knew that...but you weren't paying attention!
I don't know, maybe this is why some people don't want to say "A-men." But anticipating the right opportunities to agree with specific points of the sermon can help keep your mind focused. It can help you stay awake, and let's face it, you don't really want to be the one being laughed at for falling asleep during a message...especially if you are the second man!
2. It validates what is being said.
When the preacher makes what sounds like a great point, and everyone is silent, one might sort of wonder if what the preacher said was right or not. However, if men in the church are joining the preacher in agreement, others who aren't so sure what to think may be a little more accepting of the message as it is preached.
Now, I'm not saying we should lie. Sure, there have been times I have disagreed with something that a preacher says... okay, many times. It is my nature to question things, but it wouldn't help anybody for me to cringe, frown, fold my arms in protest, or look at my wife and shake my head. What I do instead is try to keep a straight face, maybe even write down a note or two to remind me to look up that point later (maybe even politely discuss it in private with the preacher...I could, and maybe should, write a whole article on how to go about doing that properly...), and then I wait for another point I can "A-men." Trust me, it will come!
This becomes even more important during a message that is a little more controversial or less popular to preach. When people hear something that contradicts everything they have been taught in the world, they have a natural tendency to prick against it. As second men, we have a responsibility to lead by following. When you follow, others will follow, and soon the majority will follow. This makes your participation in a service (by simply saying "A-men") almost as important as the delivery of the message itself.
3. It encourages the preacher.
Every preacher understands this. If you aren't a preacher, just imagine standing in front of people trying your best to deliver a message and half of the crowd is falling asleep. It is hard to tell if the other half agrees with you or not because they are just staring at you. Now imagine the majority of the men nodding their head and saying "A-men preacher, that's right." It is a HUGE encouragement, and I would say it almost always increased the overall quality of the delivery of the message.
So there! It is our fault if we think a message is dry and boring. What part are we playing in helping the preacher preach? Let's consider this during the next message we hear, and let's try to get better at supporting our preacher.
Lord bless you, and may your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15)
I once wrote an article on a blog that no longer exists, and I titled the article something like "Our Perspective, God's Perspective, and Synchronicity." The article pointed out that, from our perspective, the universe really does revolve around us. Everything is seen from our own eyes and is filtered through our own thought process. The article then pointed out how we must remember that the universe doesn't only revolve around us from our perspective, but it also revolves around others from their perspective. Finally, the article explained how God somehow understands each of us and deals with us all individually as well as collectively. Of course I can't explain how He does it...He just does!
We can't do what God does, but I believe there are a few things we must take from this that will help us in the ministry:
1. Remember your experiences in life are different than those of the ones to which you are ministering.
When I try to teach a teenager that has grown up with no father (or multiple "fathers") or maybe an abusive parent, I honestly can't fathom what they have had to deal with. Their view of God "the Father" is totally effected by their view of their earthy male role models. All I can do is be sensitive, and try not to expect them to view things the same way that I do. If I use myself as an example, I have to be careful how I relate that to them.
2. Remember that your views have changed over time
On some issues, others may come to the same conclusion you have come to about those issues, but you can't expect them to arrive at those conclusions immediately--you probably didn't either. I heard one preacher who was against the celebration of Christmas (at least the typical celebration) criticize some of his church members for being judgmental of others who don't share their views on the celebration of Christmas. He said that a couple years ago some of them didn't have a problem with it, and now they suddenly condemn anybody who does. We need to give people time to grow and to form some of their own opinions based on the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit in them. Preach the truth, yes! But we need to try not to get so offended when others have yet to reach the same conclusions we have.
3. Remember that God may be leading others in a totally different direction than He is leading you.
This is a hard concept to grasp. We tend to think that if God leads us in one direction or another, since it is right for us, it must be the right direction for everyone else. There are certainly some areas in which God wants us all to arrive at the very same conclusion (Jesus is Lord, the Bible is our final authority...), but there are other areas where that just isn't the case. There are some styles and customs other churches have adopted that I don't particularly care for. It is easy to criticize how they are doing things, and I can try to find some verses in the Bible to point out how my way of doing things is better; but the truth is that I can't speak for those churches. I honestly don't know where God is leading them or what His plans are for them in the future.
About all we can do is to keep watching the sun rise, even though it may be setting for others; all the while it isn't rising or setting on any of us, but rather we are all rotating around it. We can keep doing our own work with our own hands, and as opportunity rises, we can assist others around us in their work too. But their work is theirs and ours is ours, and all of it should be done for the Lord and not ourselves.
Thanks for reading. May your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15).
My wife was a great student through high school and beyond. She received scholarships and went to the University of Kansas for a few years before we got married. I, on the other hand, barely passed high school. I took a semester of drawing in a community college because it was about the only area where I had some skill and what others called a "natural ability," so I hoped for a future in illustrating or something to that effect.
Around this time I felt a call on my life to preach and I went off to Bible college. Twelve years later (in Bible college, out of Bible college...), barely passing each class, I still hadn't graduated. However, I was heavily involved in the churches I had been a part of, and there I had gained a wealth of knowledge. Six years later my education level and skills have only multiplied as I've been fulltime in the ministry of the local church where I am presently.
So you can see why I was bothered when an older lady approached me last night at church with an advertisement for some sort of trade school program available in our area. She said something like "the only way these kids are going to amount to anything if they don't go to school (a particular reference to homeschooling was made...don't get me started...) is to attend something like this trade school program.
I love this lady in the Lord, and I respect her like a grandmother. I truly am thankful for her service and her faithfulness over the years, but she is dead wrong on this. However well-meaning her intentions were, she was missing something. I couldn't pinpoint it at the moment, but the rest of the night my mind was flooded with thoughts about what she had said. Should I encourage young people to be less involved in our church (it's not like we have a bunch of kids hanging around the church all the time, I can tell you that!) and to concern themselves with getting more of an education in the world so they can do more work in the world and make more money in the world?
Most of the things I have learned in my life that are worth anything were learned in the church, and I'm not talking about spiritual things (although I would strongly contend that spiritual things are of much more value as they are eternal). Actually, I'm talking about practical skills that would enable me to get a job or start my own business in many number of fields in the secular world. If you doubt that, here is a list of skills I have gained through the ministry of the local church:
-Painting and minor maintenance
-Minor electrical work
-Framing and minor carpentry
-Lawn care (mowing, edging, fertilizing, mulching, plant and tree care)
-Small engine maintenance and repair
-Ceramic tile flooring/minor masonry work
-Secretarial (Just tested at over 60 words per minute with no mistakes)
-Basic audio/visual technical skills
-Art (illustrations, props, costume design and more)
-Organization and planning skills
-Basic accounting for business
-Commercial Drivers License with passenger endorsement
-Learned to "dress for success" (suit, tie, polished shoes...)
-Music (theory, performance, conducting, songleading)
-History, Science, English, Foreign language and Linguistics (In preparation for sermons, Sunday School lessons, etc)
-Child development and psychology
-Food service and catering
-and many more that I can't think of at the moment.
Of course, I wouldn't consider myself an expert in any of these areas...but that is because these are all secondary to what my actual job is which is teaching people the Bible. That being said, if needed, I have no doubt that I could learn rather quickly any of the above trades, in order to make a living, in a fairly short amount of time. Not one of them was learned at a university, community college, or trade school. They were learned the way anything is learned. You can learn anything if you have a reason to learn, and the willingness to work hard at learning.
Lord bless you, and may your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it. 1 Corinthians 16:15
If I know someone is going to ask me each week what efforts I have made to reach someone for Christ, I will no doubt make a much greater effort. (For this reason, I believe it is a good idea to have regular testimony times with other believers where we can all give a brief report about our contacts made at work, school, organized visitation, etc.) Isn't this principle true for just about everything we do? (Exercise, diet, Bible reading...) Maybe it is not a motivation for others, but it is for me!
I realize it may not be the best reason, but I don't believe there is anything necessarily wrong with using accountability as a motivation considering the following points. First of all, the Bible says we are supposed to encourage each other and provoke each other to "good works" (Hebrews 10:23-25). Also, when Paul and his co-workers were out sharing the gospel, they always knew that they would be returning to their sending church to give a report (Acts 15:26-28, 18:22,23). I am sure that was a huge part of their motivation.
Of course I realize there are definitely some dangers, however, in having accountability as the main motivation for your evangelizing efforts. A very real danger in emphasizing accountability as a motivation is that it can promote pride. In our attempt to make ourselves look good in front of others, we can be overly focused on "giving a good report."
As a result, it can also lead to bad quality "soul-winning." What I mean by that is that we can be more interested in getting someone to say what we want them to say than telling them what they need to hear and making sure they totally understand. Relying on our own methods, we may lack true reliance upon the Spirit (like dead branches trying to produce fruit when Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, working through Him, by His Spirit).
The gospel of Christ is the whole theme of the Bible, really. All the Old Testament pointed to the coming Messiah and what He would accomplish. Then the New Testament starts off by telling the good news of His death, burial, and victorious resurrection from the grave.
While on Earth, Christ stated that His very purpose for coming was to "seek and to save" the lost (Luke 19). Then, after His resurrection He spoke with His disciples, leaving them a great work to carry on. He left His church with the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, John 20:21, Acts 1:8).
(Note: There may be a specific call upon certain men who God has ordained to take the Gospel to every creature, but it is definitely the responsibility of everyone to do their part in reaching family, friends, neighbors, etc.)
A final, and perhaps the most noble, motivation for evangelism is simply charity. Do you really want people to go to Hell? If we really believe people are going to Hell if they do not believe/receive Christ, we would really have to hate someone awfully bad to not make sure they have heard the Gospel.
Jude speaks of having compassion on others, and how we can make a difference (Jude 22). Then he goes on to speak of others who we must "pull out of the fire," saving them "with fear." I'm afraid the average Christian neither demonstrates the right type of compassion for lost souls, nor do they fear hell enough to snatch their friends and family members away from its awful grip!
What better cause is there, in this world, in which to give our time, effort, money, and every resource we have than evangelism? What do you spend your time on that is more important? What do you give your effort to that is more important? What do you give your money to that is more important? Lets become better evangelists for the Lord!
God bless you, and may your passion for ministry grow as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15)
List of Articles