Get Out of Your Office!

Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”, 2 Timothy 4:5.

How are you intentionally building relationships with non-believers?  Can you readily name non-believing friends you are burdened for?  I think one of the greatest dangers for the pastor is losing touch with the world and to isolate themselves in a Christian bubble.  This is easy to do.  I love my study.  I can get lost in here digging, researching, preparing for my next sermon or speaking engagement, planning out the church calendar, and dealing with church people.  It’s easy to end up in a place where you have no meaningful relationships with those who are apart from Christ.

It seems the further we disconnect with the nonbelieving world the harder time we have proclaiming the Gospel in a relevant manner.  Let me clarify this point.  I believe the gospel is relevant.  I actually abstain from worldly activities more than the average pastor–I don’t have cable, I don’t drink, I rarely go to the movies, etc, etc.  That being said, I find it critical to be out establishing relationships and engaging people who are not a part of the church.  Failing to do so ultimately diminish your sharpness, passion, and zeal as the Lord uses you to engage a lost world.  Your teaching will become dry.

Since I have been the pastor of Valley Baptist Church, I have been very convicted that it is paramount for me to be involved in the community.  Whether it’s Kiwanis, the local cemetery board, or serving as a law enforcement chaplain I have been compelled to be out amongst the nonbelieving world.  As I have done this, I have established genuine friendships.  I have been questioned about my faith.  I have been called to help in crisis.  I have seen God work through me and it is exciting!  These events shape my preaching and pastoring in a good way.

God has not called us to be taskmasters telling the people what to do, but to lead with our lives and to teach out of the outflow.  As you engage with people who are not Christians, you are reminded

 

 

 

7 replies
  1. Mike Neglia
    Mike Neglia says:

    Great post. This January I began praying that I would begin to make meaningful relationships with non-Christians. As you probably know it is sometimes quite hard for a man in full-time ministry to to connect with and relate to ordinary unbelievers.
    Since then I’ve been begun intentionally going along to secular cycling events in my city, and going alone every time. I don’t bring a Christian buddy along with me; I insist on going solo, so that I am forced to speak with other people. It’s been great, and I have made a handful of friends, all of whom haven’t been inside a church for 15+ years. We’ve actually started up our own “bike gang” that meets regularly for cycles, coffee and conversation.
    Thanks for this encouragement Gunnar!

    Reply
    • Gunnar Hanson
      Gunnar Hanson says:

      That’s awesome Mike. I have found that doing stuff like this makes my passion for the Lord grow as I am fired up to see him move in my life! Praying for your “bike gang”! Keep it up.

      Reply
  2. Don Steigerwald
    Don Steigerwald says:

    Please let me encourage all of the Pastors out there to follow Gunnar’s recommendation. I can’t equip people to do something nearly as well if I haven’t actually been doing the work which I am trying to motivate.
    One on one evangelism is hard work. It requires transparency and the willingness to be embarrassed and broken.
    ‘Give me to drink’ was Jesus’ request of the woman at the well. He NEEDED something, thus making Himself available to the woman whom He knew had a much bigger need than He. His act of humility opened the door for the woman, for it provided a way for her to be of value. He could of just started out by pointing out that the water she was drinking couldn’t satisfy as much as the water He could give, and He would have been accurate in saying so. Yet, He opened Himself first to rejection, by becoming needy. This simple act can be difficult for those whose job it is to ‘have it all together’, like a Pastor.
    People need to see that ‘His yoke is easy’ and the best way for them to see that, is for us to be real, broken, honest, needy, and abiding in Him.
    Thank you all, Pastors, for your care for the Lord’s flock. You are truly a gift from the Lord to us all.

    Reply
    • Greg
      Greg says:

      Years ago I was walking to Israel and the first place I stopped, a tiny town just east of my starting point, I asked the local pastor (who met me at the nearby park) for a drink of water. He explained that the town’s water supply had been tainted and there was no tap water that was suitable for drinking.

      He asked about what brought me through town and I explained my story. He was incredulous and as we talked a young boy walked by and asked for some money to buy a soda at the local market. The pastor brushed him off, and the kid offered to sell his coat. The pastor, inconvenienced, pulled a dollar out of his wallet and handed it to the boy… who lit up and thanked him.

      The pastor excused himself to make a call. I hoped it would be for a lift to the next town some 75 miles away. A couple of minutes went by and I had the distinct urge to leave. So I started walking down the road I thought would lead to the next town. Some time passed and a truck drove by heading east, few more minutes then it came back the other way. Guy stopped asked me where I was heading. I told him and he said I was on the wrong road as the one I was on was a giant loop connecting back further south. So he gave me a lift back to the main road. Found out later, the pastor called my pastor to come get me as he thought I was loopy… and the time spent on the side road hid me from their search.

      No water, no drink, no prayer.

      I didn’t judge the pastor, just observed him… dealings with me and with the young boy.

      I guess my frustration on this site is expecting more from Calvary Chapel pastors… because you certainly talk a good game.

      So, yeah, get out of your office… and please, don’t bring it with you…

      Reply
  3. Tim Brown
    Tim Brown says:

    Thanks, Gunnar. Fremont has the largest Afghan population outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is a mosque four doors down from us. We have a TV outreach to Muslims, but I know that I need to become personally engaged with them. I don’t know how to do this given my schedule, etc. Please pray for me that I would come into personal relationship and friendship with a Muslim man in my city. Thanks!

    Reply

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