A few weeks ago I got the best compliment I have ever had in ministry.
As a pastor, I understand the art of empty flattery. I know that I am not Billy Graham. I know that I’m not Charles Stanley.
There are Sundays after a week of preparation, I approach the pulpit excited to preach only to completely and miserably fail in my communication of God’s word. After preaching I head back to my spot in the lobby. I love to see the folks of the church and get to hear about what’s going on in their lives. The weeks of my poorer sermon it feels like the walk of shame a pitcher faces as he walks to the dugout after giving up a grand slam. That said, the worship service ends and people start to file their way out towards me. “Great sermon pastor.” It’s the same phrase I hear both when I knock it out of the park and when I strike out.
I know it’s difficult trying to figure out what to say to a pastor. It’s like when a woman looks at you and asks you if the dress she is wearing makes her look fat. It may, but every ounce in you tells you not to say a word. The sermon may have been boring, unintelligible or even worse just plain bad, but even the most blunt of folks will simply say “great sermon pastor.”
Ok back to my compliment. A few weeks back I was told a compliment far different than “great sermon pastor”. I had a kind gentleman come to me and tell me “I have been in church along time and you are the first preacher that makes the bible easy enough that I can understand it.”
Deep down my job is to communicate God’s word in such a way that every person in our church can understand it and live it out. I can tell story after story and joke after joke, but if I do not communicate scripture at a level that any person can understand it, I have failed in my primary task.
Just as a side note, for those of you who have graciously and lovingly told me “great sermon pastor” after I fail, thank you. I need the encouragement in my bumbling too.
Just wondering, what’s the best sermon you have ever heard? Why?