Essential Relationships for Sharing the Good News of Salvation
The late James L. Henderschedt, in his article “The Sermon: A Tool for Evangelism” (Trinity Seminary Review 7, pp. 23-29, Fall 1985), once wrote, “The preaching service is the one time the evangelist has the largest number of people together at one time, all of whom are experiencing the difficulties of life. It is the one regular opportunity he or she has to assure those whose ears are open to hear and whose eyes are open to see that, in the person of Jesus Christ, God reaches out to them in love and compassion, forgiving their sins and calling them to a new life.”
It’s true. As Henderschedt alludes, the preaching service of an established church that is filled with a congregation of seekers and believers is the optimal time for sharing God’s plan of salvation. And, because the relationship between the pastor and the flock is one built on trust, shared history, mutual commitment, and other similarly important feelings and experiences, the view the congregation holds for the evangelist and his or her message will typically be through the lens of the pastor.
In other words, central to a congregation’s effective response to the salvation sermon is a visible and vibrant rapport between the evangelist and the lead pastor. While the pastor and the evangelist have two distinct callings and fill unique roles (not to mention that they usually have two very different personalities) they should view each other as partners in the vital work of the Kingdom.
Paul explained the importance of the interconnectedness of church workers in Ephesians 4:11-16:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (ESV).
And so, central to any evangelist’s effective ministry in and through a local church is a deep and mutual appreciation and visible rapport with the local pastor.
Much could be said here. But in this brief overview, let me mention six points of agreement on which both lead pastors and evangelists need to focus and work toward to position themselves before the Lord to let Him develop ways the congregation will confidently embrace the evangelist’s ministry and message of salvation.
Six Evangelist-Pastor Agreements
- Chemistry – Be positive and encouraging to each other.
- Connection – Through words and actions, make your spiritual connection abundantly obvious.
- Vision-Mission – From Scripture, clearly lay out your vision and mission for the evangelistic services.
- Values – Communicate that your morals and convictions are comparable and you both believe in the supremacy of Scripture.
- Communication – Be open with each other and the congregation with questions, comments, and concerns.
- Respect – Demonstrate mutual respect.
When a lead pastor and an evangelist begin to develop these agreements, a dynamic warmth and delight will naturally flow off the platform and into the lives of each person who enters the environment of the public worship gathering – regardless of denomination or worship style. For when we love one another, all people will know that God is accessible and has sent Jesus for their healing, help, and salvation.