Why You Shouldn’t Preach This Sunday

In many churches, the preaching pastor stands as the primary leader of the church as well.  While some are moving away from that model (which I hope to address soon), this stands as the primary model in many churches.  But even if you’re not the main preaching pastor, you may still have a responsibility to bring the Word regularly in your local church.

And maybe you shouldn’t.  Maybe you shouldn’t be preaching to your people or to any other people.  You may exegete the Word correctly, have the proper application, phenomenal delivery, and are loved by your people. Still–you may need to sit.  Here’s why:

  1. You don’t believe the Bible is fully inspired (breathed out) by God.  Paul urged Paul to preach the Word because this Word was the only reliable word of and from God (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5).  The Word is enough to make the man of God mature and complete, lacking nothing.  If you stand before God’s people questioning the plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, you should not preach.
  2. You’re preaching because it’s a job, not a calling.  Paul wrote:  “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28-29).  God provides the energy for the struggle due to His calling and galvanizing of our hearts.  If you’re preaching outside of the call, but only due to this being a job, you should not preach! 
  3. You don’t love the people to whom you preach.  Read Acts 20:17-38 and tell me honestly that Paul did not love the Ephesians church and the elders with whom he served.  If you fail to love your people do to a haughtiness and arrogance due to whatever reason, then you should not preach.
  4. You refuse to adapt to the context in which God has you.  God places us where He places us.  He is sovereign Lord of all, and therefore He knows where He has His people to serve.  I remember times when I allowed my personal preferences to be elevated to tests of faith when it came to programs, music, the works. God had to work some hard things in my life for me to realize that He knew where He wanted me, and that brought joy.  If there’s a refusal over a long period of time to adapt to the context in which God has you, then you shouldn’t preach.
  5. You’re looking to the next venture rather than the venture God has you now.  Do you see the place where you serve as the proverbial stepping stone?  Are you using the church in which you lead to simply gain experience for the next sweet spot of service?  If you are using your people for your own personal gain and not their pastoral well-being, you should not preach.
  6. If you harbor unforgiveness to a member without going and setting things straight.  Matthew 5:21-26 is clear about unforgiveness and anger toward a brother.  We should even leave our time of worship to set it straight. Even when people say or do things that slander you with false or misguided information and intentions, God still calls you to forgive.  If you refuse to do this, don’t preach on Sunday.
  7. Your marriage/children need you–and you need to step away for a season.  Your family comes first outside of God.  If your marriage is falling apart and your children are on the verge of stepping off a cliff, then you should step away to care for them as the only husband to your wife and the only father to your children.  Hopefully, your church will understand, but even if they don’t, step away.  Don’t preach.  Be there as Christ for your family.

Five Reasons to Identify and Equip Other Leaders

  • “We should leave the work of the ministry to the professionals!  After all, they’ve been to seminary and been trained.  We haven’t.  And that’s what they get paid for, right?”
  • “I have an idea of what the church should be doing.  I think I’ll suggest it to the pastors and deacons so they can get to work on it.”
  • “So the ministers do all the work?  I want to get involved in a church where I can make a difference for the Kingdom.  That doesn’t seem to be happening here—I think I’ll move on.”
  • “You mean the ministers expect us to be involved in ministry?  That’s not what I signed up for—I just want to go to heaven, and not go to hell.  Isn’t that why Christ died?  I don’t like these expectations—I think I’ll move on.”

These quotes above are examples of how people think the ‘work of the ministry’ should go in a church.  Some think it’s up to the trained people, while others don’t want that but want to be a part of Kingdom work in a local church.

Ephesians 4:11-12 gives a helpful (and Spirit-inspired) insight into the purpose of the leaders in the church—to identify and equip future leaders in the church for Kingdom work.  Why?  What are some reasons and benefits that come from this.  Below are five.  It’s not a comprehensive list by any means, but a list nonetheless that will get the conversation started.

  1. This is a command of Christ himself.  This is sufficient—but as always, when Christ commands us to do something, reasons abound.  He never commands anything in a vacuum or to simply cramp our style.
  2. This is a reason He called you into the ministry.  We are called to “make disciples”—that is, we are called to reproduce ourselves.  This is part and parcel of our calling into the ministry.  If you have any doubt, read 2 Timothy 2:1-2.
  3. This builds up the body of Christ into unity and maturity.  The more people are involved in leadership, the less time they may have to complain about what’s happening.  They will see what it takes to make things ‘run’ (for lack of a better term).   But when we work in the same direction, captured by the same mission and vision that Christ has laid on us, a unity and maturity into the likeness of Christ takes place.  We are, as Tozer said, all instruments tuned to the same tuning fork.  And by virtue of that, we are tuned to each other.
  4. This safeguards the minister from believing he is irreplaceable.  Few things serve as stumbling blocks to leaders in thinking that the ministry of a church would fail without them.  This stems from a significant insecurity in the minister needing to believe he is irreplaceable.  This mindset is dangerous for the church and for the leader.  A leader must not consolidate ‘power,’ but give it away.  That way, things do not grind to a halt when he is out of the pulpit or out of his class.  The church keeps moving along because the true pastor is the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:4-5).
  5. This develops ownership of all of the members of the body of Christ, not just the leaders.  While you will have people content to spectate, more and more people have other options to take up their time.  If we as leaders do not equip and encourage and provide opportunities for people to learn and serve, we will lose them.  People wish to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Can you think of any other reasons why identifying and equipping leaders is necessary?

The Five C’s of Examining Christ’s Call Into Ministry

Leading with joy starts with the foundation of Christ’s call into the ministry.  When you know that the Sovereign ruler of the universe has called you into His kingdom work, a fair dose of terror but also of joy fills your heart.  You love Him more, you love His Word more, you love His people more–and you also begin to hate the sin in your heart even more!

When aspiring into the ministry, one must look at the five C’s to examine that call:

Calling:  Do you sense God calling you into the ministry?  Why?  Where did you sense this calling?  Is this an unrelenting passion?  What influences did you have in sensing this calling?

Paul had a passion to preach the Word to the Gentiles.  Romans 15:18-20 says:

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; 20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named,lest I build on someone else’s foundation.

His ambition, his passion, his calling fulled his joy!  What about you?

Consecration/Cleansing:  Are you working diligently to fight sin and all its effects?  Are your spiritual disciplines in place?

Paul told the Roman church to set their mind on the things of the Spirit, not the flesh.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8).

The Christian in general, but the minister in particular must set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  This intentionality fights the war against sin and anything that does not uplift Christ in thought, in word, or in deed.

Character:  Are you the same at work, at home, and at a church?  Do you have a ‘church’ facade and a home facade?  The key words are integrity and consistency.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord, and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free (Ephesians 6:5-8).

All of life is worship. As you sense that call to ministry, do you see that all of the Christian life is a ministry of worship before the Lord?

Communicate:  Are you sharing your faith regularly?  Are you being discipled by someone in the church?  Are you discipling someone in the church?  Have you shown an ability to teach and care for people whom seek to teach about the gospel?

“Go, and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) is not just for the apostles but for all Christians. Is this a reality for you?  Do you expect this to change once you become ‘official’ in ministry? No!  That should not be!

Confirmation:  Would your wife, your work, and those around you confirm your calling into ministry? What would the leaders in your church say? 

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:3-7).

When it came to Timothy, the apostle Paul, Timothy’s grandmother and mother, and all the church leaders confirmed God’s call into Christ’s ministry–and how that calling and confirmation should stoke Timothy to lead with joy and not fear.

Look for upcoming videos on these topics and others.