Churches send preachers out v. Churches hire preachers to serve them

Which is worse: dealing with dirty diapers or potty training? I don’t like either. Maybe a better question would be: what drives my wife to keep wanting more kids? A mother’s love has some real similarities to the love that a Bible preacher has to have. Big kids aren’t a lot different from little kids, they’re just better at coming up with excuses for not taking responsibility.

Preachers have the never-ending job of:

  1. Making disciples
  2. Helping new or otherwise immature churches to mature

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. It’s never-ending because if the job is getting done, there will always be new disciples.

I started this discussion to explore why recent generations have not gotten the job done and how we can change that. This issue is first on the list because I believe it is one of the biggest. Why is it that although 1/3 of the world’s population needs to hear the gospel and 150,000 people die every day, we are so lazy that we hire ‘professionals’ to serve us rather than serving ourselves and sending capable Christians to those who need to hear?

In the Bible, preachers are also called evangelists and apostles (one sent out). Let’s briefly review the Bible’s description of their work:

The church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas off to Antioch where, “a large number who believed turned to the Lord.” (See Acts 11:19-26) Antioch was immature because it was a new church.

The church at Antioch rapidly matured and they soon sent Barnabas and Paul out to make disciples elsewhere. (See Acts 13-14) Barnabas and Paul planted a number of churches, spent a few months with each, and then left them to serve themselves.

The rapidness of these church plants was made possible by Jewish converts who were already grounded in Scripture and who were soon able to send out a man named Timothy, who from childhood had known the sacred writings (See 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15), to go preach with Paul (See Acts 16:1-3).

A brisk church planting movement was spearheaded by Paul’s evangelism team (See Acts 16-18). This is the primary example of church planting recorded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Three years is the longest time the Scripture records Paul spending in one place (See Acts 20:31). In some cases he left team members to help new churches for a while.

Paul also revisited most of the churches that he planted to strengthen them and appoint elders. Evangelists from his team were also sent to churches for this purpose (See 1 Cor 3:1; 4:17; Tit 1:5). The sooner churches mature, the sooner they can send preachers out to a lost and dying world.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:14-15)

There’s not much to say about churches hiring preachers to serve them, because there is no example of this in Scripture. Somebody would be rich if they had patented the invented position known as ‘pulpit minister’, especially if they could collect a patent fee regardless of the title used to label this unscriptural position.

In all seriousness, we need to “beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:38) Every church should keep moving in the Biblical direction of self-sufficiency and have the goal of sending apostles/evangelists/preachers out to make disciples and help new or otherwise immature churches to mature.

Some argue that first century churches could mature more rapidly because they had the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I would counter with 1 Cor 13:8-13, and point out that the gifts are called childish (immature). The gifts of knowledge and prophecy were replaced with the New Testament, which is widely available and is neither long nor incomprehensible. Childish things are inferior to the completed word of God in producing maturity.

Lord willing, I will point out in future discussions that teaching disciples to take responsibility for their own and for each other’s spiritual growth is far more efficient than imposing the trappings of manmade religion. Traditions of men hinder the maturity of disciples and the spread of the gospel.


Next up: Intentional evangelism v. Visitors might accidentally learn what they need >>>


10 thoughts on “Churches send preachers out v. Churches hire preachers to serve them

  1. Interesting post. Thanks. The little table is a very good summary of a lot of common practices. It is hard to know that these things are not the way they are meant to be. Jesus intended his church to be built on Peter – the rock – and certainly in The Acts we see three epiphanies which indicate the way the church will proceed in the new age. Once the faith was adopted by the Romans, we see a shift back to temples and priests, the style of the previous age. But, the conversion of the roman empire was on of the triumphs of the new faith. Always easy to say things should be different, and I agree that they could be.

  2. Interesting post.The reason why many churches aren’t sending out preachers is because first you have to make sure that your people are will equipped. And another reason I believe that a lot of pastors want to make man that man that they send is truly called of god

  3. To Epiphanist,

    Jesus did not intend for the church to be built on Peter, if you reread Matthew 16: 13-18 you will find out the the “rock” is the statement or confession that Peter said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

    This is vital to understand, because it resurfaces in Acts 8, when Phillip preaches the Gospel to the eunuch: “And as they went along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said “Look! Water! What prohibits me from being baptized (baptizo, immersed)? And Phillip said, “if you believe with all your heart . . . you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

    “. . . upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” Matthew 16: 18

    In verses 19 Jesus clearly states that Peter would be given the “keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever he loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven (i.e. Terms of Old and New Covenants), which was thus fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2: 14-41.

    Check these facts out for yourself.

    There is only one way to the Father
    . . . through Jesus Christ (only).


  4. Let me tell you a little story called my life. My Dad was an “evangelist” yes, he was a preacher sent out by one stronger congregation to help other congregations which were weaker. He devoted much time to praying and studying the bible with the church and members of the communities we were in.
    Sounds ideal, right? Well except for the fact that we were pretty much on welfare because people didn’t “collect regardless of needs” see, sometimes we don’t always see the need but God knows where to use it…
    Well long story short both my parents had to take other jobs to make ends meet which they did in addition to the work they were doing with the church. Someone didn’t see “the results” they thought they should (and isn’t that God’s to see?) so they cut the funding they were providing which left our family tired, worn, and poor, sent my Dad into depression in need of counseling and medication.
    Needless to say with God we pulled out of it, but there are years of my Dad I will never have back. There are years of trials we never should have had to endured. There are people who thought they knew best when they should have left it up to God.
    So, when I hear this we shouldn’t hire a pulpit minister statement, and I do hear it a lot. I tend to disagree with it. A)Because, while I do think we should follow the spirit of the early church, I also believe that we live in a different culture than they did. B)Because when Christians put their money in the plate they give it to God and this is God’s work. C)Because it allows someone to fully devote themselves to God and his Church, not distracted by money or fund raising.
    Please note, that I do not think the pulpit minister relieves us from our duties as Christians and members of Christ’s Church. We are all called to be ministers according to our gifts.But the pulpit minister, like the Elder or Deacon, plays a special role in ministering to the members of a specific congregation. The congregation meets his physical needs which allow him the time to lead the flock through prayer, study, and speech.

    I leave my name anonymous to protect my family from those who in ignorance still believe they did what was right.

  5. That’s a sad story, anonymous, and unfortunately very common. I have heard a number of stories where immature churches used and abused the preacher. This is another reason why I see a need to return to the Biblical pattern. Evangelists are enablers, not resident babysitters.

    When a church sends out apostles, whether to the lost or to an immature church, they are accountable to and likely supported by the church that sent them. That’s not to say that the immature church can’t help those helping them. But if they refuse to mature in obedience to Christ, the evangelists and the church that sent them should explore other options.

    Paul made tents for a living when needed. He endured years of trials and hardships by the grace and power of God.

    I believe the completed word of God is sufficient for all cultures, and I believe churches that follow the traditions of men rather than the Biblical pattern hurt themselves in many ways. Lord willing I will soon discuss the modern tradition of elders-in-name-only hiring servants to do their job.

  6. Dear Chris:

    Does 16 years old qualify as “child baptism?” I’m referring to the chart “Biblical Pattern vs. Tradition of Men.” I have heard you claim that baptism is not valid until after 18 because individuals are under their parents’ authority.

    Here’s hoping you know better, as you children’s souls may very well be at stake.

  7. Hi Chad, The law in America holds individuals directly accountable (no longer through parents) at the age of 18. I may have mentioned this in a discussion, but I didn’t claim that 18 is God’s age of accountability. I’m no legalist and I can’t set the age for someone else. That’s between an individual and God. I do recommend that individuals start by looking at what God’s word says (See Num 14:26-35; Deut 1:34-39), which is a long ways from what many men say (8-12, or worse, babies). Here is a thorough study of this topic:

  8. Dear Sir,

    It is not by accident I came across this site. I believe I am called and it is every Christians responsibility to do as you say, “Preach the gospel and make Disciples.” I believe that all Christians are called but few mature enough to follow that call.

    I also believe that like myself some of us are struggling with the idea of how do we support ourselves and our families as we follow Jesus? I will live in the church( If they would allow it) with my family and travel fom church to church if we must.

    We have found that we can live on as little as $550.00 a week for a family of 4!( Don’t get me wrong I have made millions but that was another man.) It is a challenge, but we have done it with God’s help. We would be willing to give this up as well if in fact we could get some support from the church.

    My question is this, how do we navigate the politics of these churches and recieve these monthly helps? Where do we began? The standard response of, ” go to bible college or Seminary then get a job with a Church,” seems to be the pat answer.

    Where in the bible does it say, Be ye saved and go ye to Seminary? There almost seems to be a wall, some unspoken rule, that says you have no athority unless you have some kind of formal education in religion. I thought we would be taught by the holy spirit?

    I believe the system set forth now is broken or in need of repair. Yes, we should study to show ourselves approved a workman not ashamed. But I think most of us are too busy building our own kingdom to help God build his. We are pursuing the American Dream and we are being enslaved!

    There are Christians wanting to go but yet the church is not really training nor sending.
    If the standards of the world were to apply to this one point, most everyone in charge of the church would be fired.

    It all seems like a show to me, and I am a believer. I can just imagine what it seems like to the outside world! No, I don’t have to imagine, I can see with my own eyes and I do not like it.

    So I put the question to you, I am willing and able, send me, where is my help?

    God bless you all.
    Thank you for your website

  9. So I want to know if u can clarify something. Evangelists should be paid or supported by the church that sent them out and serve the new saints where they are making new disciples at no cost, right? When does this time of being supported and serving at no cost end?

    1. Yes, the New Testament records evangelists being paid by the church that sent them out so they can serve the new saints where they are making new disciples at no cost. This is covered in the Spiritual Warfare study guide found here:

      When does this time of being supported and serving at no cost end? The Bible doesn’t put a time limit on it, but it doesn’t say any evangelism teams stayed in one place for longer than three years, until “all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord.” (Acts 19:8-10; 20:31) The example that’s recorded for us is they went in, preached to everyone who would listen, baptized them, continued to teach them all that Jesus commanded and then they moved on. The average time spent in one location is close to a few months.

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