bits from bob....
One Sunday a few years ago while I was teaching at a Christian university, I preached for a congregation that was looking for a preacher. They were well into their search, having narrowed the possible candidates to four, one of whom had already visited them to preach. They were probably within a few weeks of hiring a new minister. I was intrigued by the atmosphere and attitude I sensed.
The idea that the church is somehow more vulnerable during a "no preacher" time was mentioned in a prayer. A lack of direction was observed by one member as we spoke after the morning assembly. I attempted to encourage another brother by reminding him of the great potential before the church during the time no minister was present--opportunities for establishing identity, direction, and goals independent of the pulpit presence.
I mention these things because of the great difference I sensed in comparing that church with another body of Christ in another place. This second church was also looking for a preacher when I preached for them. Although uncertainty usually rises in times of ministerial transitions, the word in this church was not panic but opportunity. The elders were moving toward sensitive evaluation of hopes, goals, and dreams. The process of self-evaluation and the challenge that was arising from within the body were anticipated as wonderful possibilities. What a wonderful time of spiritual growth!
I encourage churches to appreciate the great spiritual challenge that comes when a church has the opportunity to rethink its identity apart from a pulpit presence. Pray for such churches, pray for their leaders. Encourage them in a process that is not easy but is valuable.
Go to Articles Index