Some time ago, I read a few posts where pastors were critical towards the Itinerant Preacher; and I didn’t have the time then to lend my input. Well, today is that day!
Definition: An Itinerant Minister is one called and commissioned by God to fulfill his/her mandate to preach and/or serve from place to place. They are not pastors committed to one local Christian assembly; but rather Kingdom evangelists charged with the tasks of IN-Reach (to the church) and Outreach (to the world) ministry.
Whereas, I have functioned at just about every level of ministry leadership, I most enjoy being an Itinerant Minister. I find the work of an Itinerant Minister to be of great benefit and significance concerning the Kingdom agenda. And, the bible gives the greatest precedent for this role in the examples of the prophets, the apostles, and even Christ himself. So, for a pastor to be overly critical of the Itinerant Minister role, one might rightfully be suspicious of that pastor.
We choose to think that the Itinerant Minister comes JUST to get our church funds; as opposed to embracing the biblical doctrine that instructs us to communicate (give) naturally to those who communicate (give) spiritually. It is the bible that teaches us to enable the Itinerant Minister toward continued and greater ministry; especially since “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.”
But some say, the Itinerant Minister should only preach outside the local assemblies and to the unchurched. They argue that they should not be visiting churches getting rich by collecting honorariums. But, I ask…what true Itinerant Preacher can get rich off honorariums? Your rich preachers, the few there are that be, acquire their wealth by other means. Many pastor churches, publish books, package sermons, hosts conferences, make investments and more, to achieve their financial strength. But, the true Itinerant Minister draws from his honorariums to function progressively in life and ministry. Even if he has a little streak of financial reaping, you can rest assured it will be flanked by an even longer streaks of financial restriction.
The Itinerant Minister has a call balanced by the need within and without the local church. Outside of the local church, he seeks opportunities to preach to folk from whom he can’t, and ought not expect to, receive. His primary objective is bringing them to a saving knowledge of Christ and helping to usher them into the Kingdom of God. But, in the inside, his job is aimed at spiritual growth and faith preservation for those whose faith needs to be reignited from time to time. He is, for lack of a better analogy, like spiritual air freshener for a stale environment and irritated people who can benefit from a change of face and different anointing. And, please don’t get offended by the analogy…most of us use air fresheners in our homes to chase away our own stale scents; of course church can get stale too.
So, I want to encourage pastors to stop being overly critical of the Itinerant Minister. They are biblical and they are valuable; and, YES, they should be financially enabled to faithfully continue their work in the Kingdom. They come to bless YOU and your congregation; leaving everyone inspired to keep on keeping on in Christ. And the blessing they receive from you essentially becomes your contribution to their work. You are in essence partnering with God to keep his footmen advancing towards the receding horizons of evangelism and faith preservation.
And, as for those who are only in it for fame or the money, they will identify themselves and you will do well to avoid them. But don’t get trapped in the foolishness of thinking the Itinerant Minister has been deprecated by Christ. No, they are likewise trustees of the great commission, the same that was given to the disciples of Christ and still remains the primary objective of the universal Church of God.