Tuesday is for Preaching
This week I will be preaching at First Baptist Church, in Bolingbrook, IL. First Baptist is led by a bright young pastor from Texas with a great mind, a superior education in the biblical languages, and a fantastic heart for God. This week, he is away and has asked me to deliver the word of life to the congregation of First Baptist.
I will also have with me three boys from our neighborhood who are coming to hear me preach. They are all African-American junior high age whose family is going through significant upheaval right now. They are part of a crowd of boys from the neighborhood who regularly play basketball on our driveway. Their presence on our driveway is part of our outreach to the community and a bone of contention with one of our other neighbors.
Never having had children, this neighbor finds the presence of a dozen young boys on our driveway, feet from this neighbor’s driveway, to be unsettling. The really unfortunate thing about this state of affairs is that the person in question is a professing Christian. We have chosen the advance of the gospel at the cost of our neighbor’s ire.
I have never heard Andy Stanley preach, but I did hear him speak over the internet to a group of pastors. Here’s one of the things he said that resonates with me:
“When you make decisions based on keepin’ rather than reachin’ you are headed for decline.”
I may not have the quote exactly right, but you get the gist.
Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, NY has said:
“I find that if I preach as if non-Christians are there in the congregation, our people invite their non-Christian friend.”
Admonitions to Preachers:
- Stay engaged in your neighborhood.
- Choose evangelism over harmony, but keep working at harmony.
- Spend the bulk of your time reachin’ and you will pastor a church that grows.
- Spend the bulk of your time trying to keep sheep happy and you will pastor a church in decline.
- Preach as if non-Christians are in the audience and soon they will be.
- My preparation for this week’s message.
- The response to the gospel in the heart of my young neighbors coming to worship this week.