Cutting corners, sounds easy but it is not sustainable, it is selfish and it is fraudulent. The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and came across this tweet from Brian Croft;
“Pastors, I know you are busy, but write your own sermons. A sermon written, prayed over, and internalized for a particular group of people, deeply known by the actual preacher, is uniquely used by God in the life of that church. The hard work of sermon writing is worth it.”
Brian Croft tweets some really helpful stuff and often raises great points and talks about really good resources. He’s one to follow on social media if you aren’t already. But this tweet made me sad.
The tweet made me sad because I hate the fact that this even needs to be said. No pastor, regardless of how busy they are, should think it’s appropriate to just preach someone else’s sermon. I’ve heard stories of it happening, but never witnessed it first hand, to my knowledge anyway.
I think one of the big contributing factors to this happening is that sermons are elevated and often seen as the most important part, if not the only part, of ‘real pastoral ministry’.
Don’t get me wrong, the sermon is hugely important. Pastors are called to teach and equip the Lord’s people, that happens through the teaching of God’s Word. But we’re also called to care for the church, to correct them, to draw alongside them, to live with them. Sure, preaching is very important, but it is one of the many tasks of a pastor. Preaching is not the only thing a pastor does.
Sermons need to be written, therefore, pastors must spend time behind a desk writing. But we must also be in the homes of our members, caring for them well and pointing them to Jesus every day. Time should never be an excuse to not care adequately for the church.
Another reason why pastors might be tempted to preach someone else’s sermon is because it can sound better. Well known preachers are often well known for a reason, they are gifted men. However, just because they are faithful, theologically sound and glorify God with their ministry, it does not mean that it’s what your people need week in and week out.
Churches need to hear from men who love them, they need to hear men who want nothing more than to spur them on in the Lord and see them grow in Christ. The church needs to hear men preach to THEM, not to a different context, often in a different culture and at a different time.
Church members, this also means that you can’t compare your pastor to a well known preacher that you’ve been listening to all the time. Don’t substitute your pastor for a screen.
Pastor, you know your people. You know their joys and their sorrows, you know their pains and their losses, you even know their struggles and temptations. So why on earth would you even consider letting a stranger speak into their lives, with you as a puppet, when the Lord has given you that task?!?!
There are other reasons about why this happens and there are other areas in ministry, and preaching, that are sacrificed on the altar of time. But those are for a different post 🙂
Cutting corners might sound easy, but you’re setting your church up to be hurt when the truth comes out. And it will come out eventually. Invest the time. Invest in people. Point people to Jesus and set them a good example of what it means to serve the Lord without looking at the clock.