I value the proclaiming of God’s word on Sunday mornings more than I value anything else that we do as the gathered church. While I certainly value other things, everything else takes a back seat. And it’s for precisely this reason that I’m intentionally off the stage once a month. This is the second part of a series of posts where I want to convince you to put your lay leaders in the pulpit on a regular basis. To start at the beginning, click here.
Reason #2: Because God is able and willing to speak through the preaching of someone else.
The correct way to preach through the lives of the Old Testament faithful is to point out just how unfaithful they were. That God was the Faithful One in spite of their consistent failures. It’s also the correct way to preach the gospel. We don’t bring anything to the table.
Even a cursory reading of the bible leads us to believe that God doesn’t need your preaching ability to speak. He doesn’t need it to reveal Himself or to apply truth to our hearts. He speaks quite freely through murderers like Moses, racists like Jonah, and bumbling fools like Peter. He speaks truth through the mouth of an ass, and if you wan’t get real nit-picky— A true theological understanding of the “talent” you bring to the table would come in second to the ass. The best sermon you have ever preached may have been something God used powerfully, but the spiritual reality is that it still slowed God down. He chose to use it for His purposes but if He chose instead to just speak directly in the hearts of His people, you would have seen more fruit.
He doesn’t need you. He chooses to use you. And He is perfectly capable of using someone else. A lot of pastors fall into the rut of believing they’re the only one in the church who should preach because they’re the only one in the church who CAN preach.
Brother pastor, but for the grace of God, you can’t preach either. God most assuredly equips specific people in specific ways. And to point to obvious gifts and use obvious gifts is no sin. But God is not handcuffed to using the gifts He’s seen fit to give you. Ordinary means are valuable to the life and ministry of the local church, but our God is a God Who delights in showing His bigness through using the unordinary. He delights to show His goodness by working powerfully through the last one you would expect Him to work through.
Let someone else step up into your pulpit—Not because they’re a better preacher than you but because they’re not. Do it because you trust God’s ability to use them powerfully and you want to teach your church to do the same.