I know that most preachers (if not all) really want to make a difference in the world. Why else would anyone do this? It takes one willing to devote his life to the study of the Bible, working with such a wide variety of people, trying to keep the church active and faithful. It means being friendly enough to enjoy good relationships, but also distant enough to be able to say the hard things that need to be said to help brothers and sisters remain focused on Christ and abandon sin.
Leading a church to greater things often requires helping them navigate through changes that can be uncomfortable. A measure of grace is to be offered along with a measure of determination.
I think most preachers have an ‘ideal church’ in their minds. Sometimes this is ‘ideal’ because of admirable qualities such as faithfulness, love, mercy, and worship. These things result in outreach, growth, and maturity.
But sometimes preachers have an unrealistic ‘ideal church’ in mind and work very hard to try to push their congregations into those molds. This is when they stick their hand in the beehive. I have consoled many a preacher who has come to me with a swollen hand stinging with hateful barbs. Most of the time this is not because they have an unspiritual and uninterested church. Most of the time this is because they stuck their hand in the beehive and didn’t know the result of this!
It is my perspective that if a preacher has an ‘ideal church’ in mind, then he ought to find a church like that ideal and go there.
That doesn’t mean that preachers cannot preach for change… and lead the way toward a closer walk with God. It means that our efforts and preaching should not be related to the issue of the day … or being like the big church up the road. How many misguided preachers have taken a plan from a big church up the road and tried to implement it in their small church and come away with some barbs in their hands?
What I want to stir up in my church is not my position on the latest issues of the day. I do not want to stir up my church with controversy and new uncomfortable practices that take the focus away from the Lord.
I do want to stir up my church to a more faithful obedience to God, a Holy Spirit fire to be inflamed in their hearts, serving others, and growing in Christ-likeness. Sometimes that can give a preacher some bee-stings, but those are to be endured with the prophets in mind … who often suffered for bringing a word from the Lord.
But preachers take note! If you are keeping the church embroiled in controversy, stirred up through issues, irritated by sarcasm, and angry because you ignore who they really are … you are sticking your hand into the bee hive. In so doing, have drawn the attention to yourself, rather than God. And it hurts.
Thanks for reading,