I recently attended a conference with fellow pastors, and part of the day involved group discussions around tables. During these discussions I started talking about elements of our current preaching series that were pertinent to the discussion. At times I had trouble keeping the previous sermon separate from the one to follow the next day, and eventually said, “I can’t wait to preach tomorrow.” Several lay leaders were encouraged by my . . . enthusiasm. One or two of the pastors at the table just looked at me blankly.
What about you? Are you excited to preach your next sermon? What about the coming installment of your weekly Bible study? If you’ve lost the fire in your bones to speak, you may be in serious trouble, or on the verge of it.
A couple of years I left a meeting with a fellow pastor shaking my head (at least, I wanted to). He was another member of our local ministerial group and was quick to recognize and support my ministry when I first arrived in the area. In many I had great respect for him, for the spiritual battles he had won and his heart for prayer and worship.
In this casual meeting, I felt that I must ask him a very pointed question. He had mentioned that he’d had difficulty speaking to his congregation in recent months, not out of intimidation or power grabbing, but from a sheer lack of message. I asked, “What message has God given you for your church?” He replied that he didn’t have one. He had no new word for the church, the community, or himself.
I left that meeting wondering what happens to pastors who have lost their message to the community. Will God allow a pastor to continue when he/she does not have a revelation of His word for the community or the church? It seems that He will, for that pastor still serves the same church.
It’s my belief that every pastor should so believe in his message, consider it so applicable to the culture around him, that he cannot help but desire that the whole world hear it. Shouldn’t our message be so applicable, so necessary, that we honestly believe that it has the power to impact all who hear it?
Like the prophets of old, God uses us to speak His Word to a people who desperately need to hear it. If we are not excited to share it, why would anyone want to hear it? If we don’t feel that God is speaking through us, why do we bother speaking?