As many of you know, I am now the pastor of a church down in Warthen, Georgia. You probably also know that I used to pastor South Soddy Baptist in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee.
Well, I thought it might be of interest to some of you to listen to two different sermons – one from my last day at South Soddy, and the other from my first day at Bethlehem Baptist.
But the reason I am sharing both of these back-to-back is so that hopefully you will notice a similarity between them. What I hope you will notice, despite the sadness of one and the excitement of the other, is a common thread of hope and assurance that God is still at work and the work for us to do is not done.
God bless you all, and I hope to get back to writing very soon – there sure is a lot to talk about!
Click on the pictures below for links to sermons.
I’m not going to be posting much by way of original stuff this week – I don’t think (one never knows when he will be inspired). I’m spending my time with our daughter and son-in-law and our new granddaughter in Charleston, SC.
But aside from the visiting, I’m spending a lot of time in resting and reading. No TV. No amusement rides. Maybe a little time today at the gun range with my youngest, Haley, but mostly a lot of time reading and studying.
Reading: The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching.
Studying: The Bible, specifically the book of Ephesians and John 3:16.
So, if you don’t hear much from me this week, understand that I’m retooling, refreshing, rearming, recharging in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in America.
And I’m sure there’ll be a bowl of shrimp and grits in my future 🙂
Ever been to an old-fashioned tent revival? Well, here’s your chance!
I mean, here’s your chance to at least watch one night’s meeting from one.
The video link below was originally uploaded from my phone on Facebook live. It was filmed during the evening service on June 5, 2019. The event was a city-wide community revival, each night featuring 2 local pastors.
My daughter and I take the stage in the second half, after which I preach. For you preachers out there, it was a perfect homiletical lesson in the importance of learning how to preach extemporaneously (without notes).
I pray it’s a blessing.
With so much being posted on social media these days, even those in ministry have available to them a plethora of helps, lists, and general advice from experienced clergy folk.
Much of what is shared on Facebook and Twitter are written by the “pro’s” in ministry research like Thom S. Rainer, or long-time veterans of ministry like Joe McKeever. What rarely gets shared are articles and posts written by ordinary guys like me – probably because we aren’t professional authors or researchers.
Well, I want to share some helpful hints from an old-school, bi-vocational, small-church, in-the-trenches pastor with no access to research teams, only personal experience, and some common sense (but Logos software doesn’t hurt).
Hopefully, you will find the following 10 points helpful.
10 Words of Wisdom for Those Entering the Pastorate
- Get a biblical education. Seriously, it doesn’t matter if the school is only a rag-tag, non-accredited hole in the ground, get an education from someplace that will teach you how to study the Bible by making you study the Bible. Those who call a seminary a “cemetery” are nothing more than illiterate bigots who should be avoided – unless you want to show them how to get saved.
- Listen to your wife. I know, sometimes wives have actually been the reason men have left the ministry. However, a good, godly wife will offer you insight that no one else can. She really does have an intuition that sees what our eyes can’t. She is also going to be the only one in the church you can trust 100%
- Don’t think every sermon needs to be alliterated. Guys, not every sermon is best delivered with four points, all alliterated with a certain letter or phonetic sound. Sometimes the best way to outline your sermon is just go with the way the Scripture leads.
- Be a sheepdog. Do whatever it takes to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to protect not only those in your church but your own family. Be prepared to fight – literally – for those you love. Always be on the lookout for wolves in sheep’s clothing, especially sexual predators. Believe me, I wish I’d prepared better.
- Draw your lines in the sand early on – the earlier the better. Don’t wait for church trouble to draw your lines in the sand. Don’t wait until you are in a struggle with disagreeing leadership before you say, “This is the way it’s going to be.” Start early by saying that…be the thermostat, not the thermometer.
- Learn to preach without notes. There’s going to come a time when you need to preach and you won’t have time to prepare an outline. There is going to come a time when you are asked to preach a funeral or a revival service, and all you will have is your Bible. Read it…learn it…know it…and be able to preach from it without a man-made crutch.
- Check your pride. The day you go up to the pulpit all cocky, that’s the day you will be an utter failure. Ascend to the “sacred desk” with your knees shaking under the weight of the seriousness of what you’re doing and you will come down humble, but confident God’s Word will not return void. As long as you are humble and dependent on God, that’s when even the most basic of sermons can shake the foundations of hell itself.
- Don’t grow too dependent on technology. Men, there may come a day when we don’t have the internet, iPads, microphones, and projection screens. At any moment you could lose one or all of those things, so learn to prepare and to preach like the great warriors of the past – because history has a tendency to repeat itself.
- Love your family more than your ministry. You’ve probably heard it said before, but it’s true; your family is your first and most important ministry, not the congregation you serve. Don’t lose your wife or kids for the sake of any church.
- Never stop studying and learning. Even if you go to Bible school and seminary, never think you’ve learned enough. Always be learning, reading, researching, and studying. If George Washington Carver could squeeze all he did out of the lowly peanut (to the glory of God), imagine how much you will be able to find if you keep digging deeper into the Holy Writ!
So, there you have it. Do you have some words of wisdom you’d like to share? Why not write them in the comment section below? I’m sure we all could benefit from our collective experiences.
It’s not often I post a video of me preaching, but I hope this one is a blessing.
A couple of years ago, not long before I became pastor of South Soddy Baptist, I was invited back to Mile Straight Baptist Church to preach for the evening service. It’s always an honor when Dr. Tom Goss extends the invitation.
That night I felt led to preach a sermon based on one of my personal ministry objectives. The title of the sermon was “How Do You Want to be Known?”
So, if you’ve ever wondered what I looked like preaching, this is me! I don’t look any different, today, by the way. 🙂
Every once in a while I come across a blog that doesn’t get near the attention it deserves. This is one of them.
I would recommend you check it out, especially if you are a teacher, preacher, or pastor.
Just make sure to check out more than one post so you can get a feel for what is there.
I know I’m not the only blogger in the world. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of great blogs out there, some of which I read on a regular basis – and others I avoid.
Two very popular blogs in Christian circles are those of Thom S. Rainer and Chuck Lawless. Both are famous for lists like “Eight Characteristics of the New Bivocational Pastor” and “Things I’ve Learned about Corporate Worship.”
Well, I’m not the “other guys.” My blog is not as professional; I’m not a seminary professor (only minorly adjunct) or a contributor to denominational publications; and I don’t do enough research to come up with new lists every day.
However, today this guy is in total “list” mode! The following is a list from which ALL of us can benefit.
Are you ready?
6 Ways You Can Encourage Your Pastor When He’s Preaching
- Feedback. Don’t just sit there like a knot on a log when your pastor is preaching; give him some feedback! Say, “Amen!” Wave your hand. Throw a hymnal at the pulpit. DO SOMETHING! How is he supposed to know he’s getting through to you if you just sit there silently with a blank look on your face? At least nod your head in agreement once in a while.
- Sit closer to the front. Look, if you were going to a concert where someone was singing that you wanted to hear, where would you sit – if you could afford it? The front row! What does it convey to the minister when you sit all the way in the back? Especially when you’ve already admitted you’re hard of hearing?
- Actually show up to church! Let me tell you, it really does encourage a pastor to have his congregation actually show up on Sunday morning. Sunday evening is even better!
- Get Your Sleep – At Home. Please, make sure that you go to bed on Saturday night at least by midnight. When a pastor sees you nodding off all he can think is, “I’m boring the snot out of that person,” and that is NOT encouraging.
- Pray. Try not to do it with your eyes closed (see the previous point), but pray for your pastor when he’s preaching. Let him know beforehand and afterward that you lift him up before God while he’s slugging away from the pulpit. Courage builds when one knows someone’s got his back.
- Put a $100 bill in his hand when you shake it. OK, that’s a stretch, I know. But hey, I won’t stop you if you feel the urge 😉
OH! Do you know what would REALLY be encouraging? Leave a comment below! What would you add to this list?