Laymen Ministries


This article examines the issue of what a Christian layman is expected to do according to the Bible. It opposes the idea that only certain people are called to be active in any kind of outreach (work done outside the church, either evangelism or meeting people’s other needs). It also opposes the idea that laymen are generally not to do anything until they feel a special calling or see a special opportunity.



Anything done for the Lord should never be done reluctantly or out of guilt. But we are to exhort each other in good works. Then if people see the need to do more they can ask God to help them have a heart to do it. So this article will examine the issue to see what the Bible says and exhort you to pray and ask God to work on your heart so you care about people and their souls to the point that you do want to reach them or help them in some way. But first let me define what I am NOT talking about to avoid confusion:



11)      It is not organized programs that whip immature people up into a superficial excitement to go out and “evangelize”. And it’s certainly not sending young people out alone with each other.


22)      It’s not programs to guilt people into reluctantly evangelizing others, without asking for God to help them have a change of heart.


33)      It’s not something done to impress others or gain influence in the church, or a host of other wrong reasons to do it.


44)      It doesn’t have to be a particular form of evangelism, like street preaching. It can be quiet and subtle. The issue is that we should have a heart that wants to in some way and so we look for ways that we can share the good news with the gifts and opportunities God has given us. But I don’t think we should wait for a special feeling first. We should pray that we always have that feeling. Here are some examples below in order of needed courage and skill.


I.        Secretly leave tracts in conspicuous places like restrooms or counters. (anyone can at least do this)


II.      Leave a tract when you finish a meal at a restaurant. (also very easy)


III.    Hand a tract to an employee (e.g. a cashier) when you are the customer (and so somewhat protected).


IV.    Offer someone a tract in public.


V.      Attempt to talk to someone in public about spiritual matters.


55)      Evangelism, in some form, does seem to be a call for all of us according to the Bible, but I can understand if some would not see it that way. However it is very clear that we are all to be very busy helping other people in some way, like helping people with physical needs.



There is no doubt that the Bible expects us to be very busy doing the Lord’s work, in some form.




We are to take care of the poor, the widow and the orphan (James 1), help those in need (1 John 3:17), visit the sick, hungry, thirsty, and those in prison (Matt 25), and “deny ourselves and take up our cross” (Luke 9:23) until we “bear fruit” (John 15:1, Luke 8:15).



“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:3-6) And just look at how Jesus lived. He lived fervently and frugally to help people and tell them the good news.



Paul, writing to a general audience in 1 Cor 7, wanted everybody to be so busy for the Lord that they should question if they should get married or not because it would take time away from the Lord’s work.



We do not live for ourselves but for God. This would indicate a very high level of working for the Lord. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15



Many of the parables are about shining our light, helping people, and bearing fruit. Bearing fruit could mean fruits of the Spirit, but in the context of parables about plants it seems like it would be reaching other people because the plants bring forth a fruit that produces something just like itself. The parable of the sower is especially clear because it talks about how a seed of wheat can bring forth a multi-fold increase in other seeds just like it. Other parables talk about forsaking all we have to serve God.








The Lamp under a Bushel




Shine your light

Good Samaritan




Take care of people

The Rich Fool




Be generous

Wise & Foolish Builders




Do what Jesus says

Parable of the Sower




Bear fruit

The Barren Fig Tree




Bear fruit

Parable of the Pearl




Forsake all you have

The Hidden Treasure




Forsake all you have

Counting the Cost




Forsake all you have

The Faithful Servant




Take care of people

The Talents or Minas




Bear fruit

The Sheep and the Goats




Take care of people






For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:9-10




We must bear fruit (with perseverance, Luke 8:15). I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. …


Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:1,2,8




This passage says that love for our brothers will be a sign of our sincere faith, and that it must be a love with deeds.  14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:14-18




By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35




Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58



13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:13-16.




This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:8




Verses that would indicate we are all to be evangelizing too.



In the parable of the sower, the only indication of the good seed was bearing more seeds thru persistence. It is told in all three of the synoptic Gospels. As a nation gets harder and harder against God I think God understands if we can’t bring forth several salvations each but I think He would still expect us to try. Matthew 13:23: But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.



[Paul prays] That the communication [sharing] of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. Philemon 1:6 the Greek word for communication, G2842 – koinōnia, means a sharing of what one has.



When Jesus said in Matt 28 to make disciples “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”, wouldn’t that command itself be part of the “all things” that we should teach?



The term Evangelist in the Bible (Ephesians 4:11 and others) may be an office in the church for full time workers or a special gift for some laymen. However, all Christians are commanded to do things even if not their gift. E.g. We are all to give, but some have the gift of giving.



Unless the context is clearly otherwise, we apply anything that Jesus said directly to his disciples to us as well. Jesus said his disciples would still be going thru the cities of Israel spreading the news when he returned. So that would have to be a continual process extending to today. “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Matt 10:23



It makes sense that if our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness for what God has done for us, we’ll naturally talk about it and share it with everyone we’ll meet. We see this several times in the Gospels. I can only remember a few.


·         The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45


·         The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? While she’s getting the townspeople, Jesus tells a story about going out and gathering in the harvest. When He was done she returned with the people she had gathered. 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. John 4:28,29, 39


·         Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. Luke 8:38, 39



We looked at this verse earlier. When you look at it in context there is certainly an outreach context. Jesus has given us the ministry of reconciliation. It would be real difficult to say Paul was writing all this just to apply to himself and Timothy, the authors of this letter, and other apostles. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. …  18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)



The command in Acts 1:8 was said to all believers that were present at Jesus’ ascension. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”



All those that were scattered from Jerusalem evangelized. Acts 8:1,4 (Greek word euangelizomenoi) “And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.


4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”



13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philipians 2:13-16


30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Prov 11:30


And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4


17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:17–19


Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: Luke 12:8,


23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. Luke 11:23




Objections, #1 Only Evangilists should evangelize


I’ve been addressing this as I go with thoughts and scriptures. I disagree with this but can understand how some would believe it, as long as they are doing something. But just to continue a little more with practical discussions on this… The idea that only those chosen by the church should evangelize is resonant with Catholicism. When you look at many successful missionaries and evangelists it was done without a church. Some even had to go against their churches or mission agencies. There are examples of people going out on their own and failing (for various reasons which we should be careful for) but we also have examples of people going out with a church and failing.


Objection #2, Only very mature people should evangelize


The idea here is that the temptations younger people will encounter may lead them astray. This is certainly a valid concern and we need to be careful to not let them do it alone and follow many prudent procedures. As far as seeing immodesty, they will certainly experience that everywhere; we just need to train them in the dangers, emptiness, and other problems of immorality. As far as exposure to false doctrines, it is fairly easy to defend solid Christian doctrine. And there again they will certainly be exposed to false doctrines anyway. Perhaps waiting won’t help. Why not expose Children to some of the attacks on the Bible when they are young and want to follow God when they’ll listen to the truth against these lies, instead of waiting till they are lured by lust and peer pressure as they are out on their own. In general, we don’t want to be foolish but we don’t want to live in fear and let that keep us from doing what is good. If we proceed cautiously and with much prayer and counsel from others (who are doing it successfully) we can trust God to lead us as we’re trying to do His will.


Objection #3, Only the trained should evangelize


People who have a lot of experience in it will tell you the only way to learn is to get out there and do it. You’ll be stumped but you can be humble and admit you don’t know the answer but will look it up and get back with them. Then you’ll be ready for that question next time.