The 5 Comments Preachers Hate Most
5. "The Lord told me to tell you …" "… that you look tired," "… that you hurt my feelings," "… that this church needs more messages about stewardship/missions/culture wars/the Colbert Report," "… that you chose the wrong clothes." This sentence can end in a hundred ways, none of them happy.
Preaching is a mysterious business, and in some ways it's more mysterious to me now than when I started out. Sometimes the message you wish you could put in the discard pile will be the one God uses to change someone's life. Giving a bad message can bring just the humility you need to remember that preaching—and the kingdom in general—is never subject to human management or control.
What should we aim to hear when we're done preaching? After Jesus' first sermon, people were cut to the heart, and they asked what they needed to do to be saved. That's not a bad response to pray for. It sure beats Ruga Ruga Ruga.
John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.
John Ortberg is editor at large of Leadership Journal and pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California.