We are half-way through a series of posts unpacking reasons why I believe that you should be intentional about letting other men in your church preach on a regular basis. To start at the beginning (or to even get a sense of the main thesis I’m aiming at) click here.
Because we want new lay leaders to aspire to service
“People shouldn’t be allowed on the stage if they’re in it for themselves!”
Most of the time, I would agree with you. We are very adamant around our parts about making it clear that people looking for a platform, need to look somewhere else. Our focus any time we gather together as a body of believers is to point to Jesus instead of ourselves. It’s not just an unwritten rule, it’s officially a part of our new member conversation. Using the bride of Christ for selfish gain is something that we not only want to protect against but something the individual involved will likely have to stand and give account for.
But aspirations in and of themselves are not sinful.
Paul makes it clear in 1 Timothy that aspiring to be an elder is a noble thing. Why? Because dragging someone kicking and screaming into church leadership hurts everyone. Because God uses Spirit-filled giftings through leadership the same way He uses them through evangelism and service. It is for the good of the church and for the furthering of God’s glory that people would aspire to lead the church. Not out of selfish desire but a genuine attitude that says to itself, “I want to do something about this”. “I want to step up here.” And if God uses that core-level attitude in the heart of aspiring elders, He can most certainly do so in the heart of aspiring preachers.
So, what marks the difference between the qualified and the unqualified? The same things that mark the difference for any other leader in the church— Biblical requirements, basic competency with room to grow and a humility bent toward service above being recognized.
There is absolutely a sinful type of aspiration. Do everything you can to kill it in your church. But there is also a righteous type as well. And by creating a culture where people see that they have opportunities to take the next step, God will begin to work in the hearts of some of them and He will give them a holy aspiration to lead. The end result will be that your church is always creating new leaders. And last I heard, people are calling that a good thing.
Now, does this mean that you will have to do your homework on individuals and maybe even create a system to vet them properly? Yeah. Yeah, it does— It means exactly that. But it’s also extremely worth it.
So brother pastor, take a seat every once in a while and let somebody coming down the pipe get some reps in. Put the responsibility every once in a while in the lap of someone who’s not even sure yet, and let God use that opportunity to help them figure it out.
You’re supposed to be playing the long game here. And a pipeline of Godly men taking aspiring to lead and being given opportunities to step into that leadership will serve your church well far longer than your touch.