Should pastors preach the gospel every Sunday?
One question I am asked frequently is why I don’t preach the Gospel Message every Sunday. This is an excellent and sincere question. However, I believe it is based on a mistaken belief. This belief goes somewhat like this: The primary purpose of the church is the evangelization of the world. This belief is understandable, but untrue.
In Ephesians 4:11, the apostle Paul describes the ministerial callings (gifts) and their purposes. He says that “He (God) gave some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.” Then, in verses 12-14, he gives their purposes: for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
Each of these ministerial gifts is distinct, but they work beautifully hand-in-hand to equip the saints, to unify them in doctrine and faith, and to build them up so they can do the work of service.
The Biblical apostles were eye-witnesses of Christ, his ministry, his death and resurrection. They testified to the reality of the Messiah.
The prophets, besides foretelling the future, had, as a primary responsibility, the obligation to spiritually asses the people so they knew their spiritual condition.
The evangelist could then go forward to provide the cure for the spiritual condition of the people.
The cure is Jesus as He is the only one who can remove sin.
From that point forward the pastor/teachers equip the sheep (you and me) with the whole counsel of God so we can grow and mature into healthy sheep.
Now think about the reality within any church. If the gospel (yes, it is the most important truth that anyone can receive) is the only thing taught, how are the sheep going to grow? They know the gospel. They have received
what the first three ministerial callings have provided, but now they need to grow. They will not grow if the gospel is the only thing they ever hear.
Jesus wants you to know Him completely. This is a responsibility of the pastor/teachers of any church. They feed the sheep. They teach the entire word of God so the sheep have good spiritual nutrition to help them grow. As they are equipped with the word, they begin to do the work of service. This is service to support and build the Body of Christ. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
We certainly can and should preach the gospel. While this is the calling of the evangelist, it is also something spiritually healthy sheep can do as they grow.
If everyone in your church is already saved, the gospel, as vital, life-changing and important as it is, will not be enough to fully equip your growth. Therefore teach, preach and facilitate growth by understanding that the purpose of the church is to equip the saints.
The purpose of the evangelist is to reach the lost.
Once the lost sheep are found and part of the church, it is the pastor’s responsibility to protect and produce growth and maturity in the sheep by presenting the entirety of God’s Word.