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 third 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 #3: Because our church needs to hear God’s word expounded from different voices
I adore the bible.
I know that sounds obvious out of the mouth of a pastor. But I really mean it. I love the bible because it tells me about Jesus. But I also love the bible because it is an absolute masterpiece of literature. The sovereignty of God over the canon is mind-boggling. Forty-ish authors over a thousand years writing—not only with multiple categories of genre—but with multiple shades of genre within those larger categories.
I love the bible because of how different Philippians is from Proverbs. Because of how different Judges is from 1 John. That our God would use as many voices and as many styles as He did is testimony to His bigness and His goodness. The story arc from Genesis to Revelation is impressive in it’s own right, but for God to use all the literature types He does to get from point A to point B, is testimony to His magnificence. He uses all of it in unique ways at different times for His purposes and for His glory.
And I think God is willing to be just as creative in using the preaching of a local church. Is He big enough to, not only account for multiple preaching voices, but even use it for His glory? I think so. My style and insight into the scriptures is going to be used by God for His purposes. But it is something to be celebrated that He would raise up a completely different style and insight.
This doesn’t mean that just anything goes. We don’t give every great piece of literature the title of “scripture”. Neither would we throw just anyone up on the stage to proclaim God’s word because they might offer a unique style. There are most assuredly qualifications for standing in the pulpit. But the window of who meets those qualifications is wider than just the Senior Pastor.
Romans is an incredibly valuable book in the bible. I’d even risk going out on a limb and arguing that it might be more important than many other parts of of the bible. But if Romans was all I ever read (even being Paul’s magnum opus), I’d obviously be missing a lot of really valuable stuff. God has intended for me be shaped by all of the scriptures. In the same way, a healthy diet of a great preacher is valuable. God can and will likely use it for the growth of the local body. But a lifetime of one preacher (even an outstanding one) sells your church short on a God Who is big enough and creative enough to use far more than that.
Brother pastor, raise up other preachers in your church. Even if they preach completely different than you. If they’re walking in faithfulness, and holding the job as sacred, everything else is just style. And your church needs to learn that a variance of styles can be a very good thing.