This is the 2nd post of 8 parts on why I believe pastors should consider opening their pulpits to other people in their church on a regular basis. If you would like to start from the beginning click here
Reason #1: Because our church will not be built around my preaching ability. It will be built around the proclamation of God’s Word.
The reason why our sermon time is the primary point of emphasis in our worship gathering each week is not because I’m some one who deserves an audience. Even if I had the charisma and the platform to become a “Celebrity Pastor” (Which I obviously don’t), I still wouldn’t deserve an audience. To gather around a man and celebrate him when the opportunity exists to instead gather around and celebrate our God, is a tragic thing. Now, when we use these terms, we immediately recoil with thoughts of “not me”. And I highly doubt anyone would ever actually use those word specifically. At least not publicly.
But while we would never say such things out loud, it is still possible for us to achieve such things on a functional level. It is often easier to draw a crowd around your ability to expound God’s word than it sometimes is to gather a crowd around God’s expounded word. There is a real reason why many churches take a nosedive after a very dynamic pastor moves on. There is a real reason why some churches grow rapidly when a great preacher gets hired on from somewhere else. Not all of that growth and/or decline is directly tied to following preachers— There is some correlation there— But let’s not kid ourselves either. We all know it. We’ve all seen it.
Does that mean that good preachers shouldn’t try to become great preachers? Of course not. Does that mean that great preachers should ignore God’s call to move from one body to another? (Provided it actually IS God’s call?) By all means, go! But could we maybe also act like our job in the meantime is to point people to the sufficiency of God’s word and not our charismatic ability to exegete it?
I’m passionate about good preaching. I want to be undeniably great at it. But the possibility is out there that God won’t keep me at Nashua Baptist Church for the rest of my life. And if that happens and our church (which has been getting really healthy and growing lately) immediately begins to shrivel up. It will not simply be because I failed to prepare them for the future.
It will be because I failed them now. It will be because all the momentum that was built while God had me here revolved around the wrong center. Brother pastor, build the preaching ministry of your church around something far more eternal than you. Let someone else preach once in a while. It probably won’t be as good. You may have to clean up a mess after it’s over. You could potentially cause a visitor to not come back. But either God’s word is sufficient or it’s not. Our job is to teach our churches to trust what He’s doing with it.