Both/And when evangelism is pastoral care and pastoral care is evangelism

“When we do anything, our test is whether or not it will speak to men in their 30s” explained the visiting US pastor. This provoked plenty of reaction and questions. Does this mean that women and older people were ignored or treated as second class. He patiently explained that it did not. It wasn’t that others were ignored but that:

1. The church was deliberately correcting an imbalance where Christianity was seen as not for young men.

2. When they reached young men, then their families came with them and if the kids came too then grandparents were also there.

3. That the best thing they could do for the young women in the church was reach their husbands for Christ.

Now I am not asking you to agree with their evangelism strategy but I would like you to notice the significance of the third point. The best thing the local church could do for young women who were already part of the church was to reach their families with the Gospel. An evangelistic strategy is a pastoral strategy. It’s true isn’t it. What will give greatest joy to our church family? It should be to see their wives/ husbands/children/parents trusting Jesus. That is the biggest pastoral need for many of our members isn’t it? Think what it would mean  to be in family that is united and loving because Christ is at the centre. By now, you will hopefully be picturing various people and seeing the difference this would make to their families,

It works the other way too though doesn’t it? If we want people to be able to share their faith out in the workplace, then we need to disciple them and care for them. We need to model gracious, sacrificial love. Our pastoral strategy is an evangelistic strategy if people are built up and equipped to live for and speak for Christ.