Bruce, thank you for playing along and responding. That’s what I’m talking about, people. Let’s get a discussion going. If you missed it, Bruce responded on Facebook, so check us out there, if you would like. I do understand that not every topic appeals to every person, but do me a favor, and at least pretend that you are interested.
Next on the list of trends for healthy churches: these healthy churches have pastors who love the members; the churches allow their pastors to spend time in sermon preparation. Very interesting. I can remember when I was a teenager listening to my pastor pray for a pastor’s heart. I asked him about it one day. I wanted to know what he meant. He told me that a pastor must have a heart filled with love and compassion for his people, and only God can give that.
Here’s the deal. Most of the time, people only call on the pastor when something bad happens: surgeries, deaths, accidents, marriage problems, raising children, etc. Unless you are a pastor, you cannot possibly comprehend what this is like. To be overwhelmingly concerned about the spiritual and physical needs of hundreds of people that you are not related to by human bloodlines. To listen to their cries of despair. To hear their heartaches. To know that they are hurting and you can do very little to alleviate their pain. You do this as a parent and a grandparent, but in this relationship, you have a little more authority over your family and can take care of them in ways that a pastor cannot.
You say, “Well, Preacher, all you talked about was the negative.” That’s right. Because that is typically what we get told. Very seldom does anyone call to give a praise report, but pastors still love their people. At least this pastor does. And he prays for you constantly. Early in the morning. Late at night. All throughout the day. We pray, and we ask God for healing, strength, comfort, and all the other things that are needed. (I did have one person to request prayer that they win the $1.5 billion Powerball Lottery, but I had to let that one slide. And just to show you that this preacher can’t be bribed, they even offered to share with me if they won.) And even though we may not say it every day, pastors of healthy churches (and even some that aren’t so healthy for other reasons) love their people.
And the churches give them time for sermon preparation. I know that lots of you think that preachers just wing it on Sunday morning. And maybe some of them do, but not preachers who have or want a healthy church. Every sermon requires hours of study and preparation. I work on some sermons for weeks before they ever see the light of day. If you ever get to thinking that your pastor’s preaching isn’t what it ought to be, ask him how much time is he spending on sermon preparation. And if he tells you it isn’t enough, find a way to get him more. Take some of the load off of his back. Get the church to give him a sabbatical so that he can spend time in prayer and sermon preparation for the year. Healthy churches require powerful sermons, and powerful sermons come from in-depth Bible study and prayer time. Do you see the connection?
Okay, now it’s your turn. What do you think about this?