In response to the teaching that the Holy Spirit has given a spiritual gift to each believer, one elderly man, who had been attending the church for twenty-three years, was overwhelmed that he had been asked to serve communion. Maybe our attempt, in spite of its eventual demise, was validated by such small steps as these.
On the other hand, there were those who bucked the concept. Accustomed to previous ministers’ making visitation calls, they could not understand why this was not a part of our pattern. Al explained that the minister’s role was to help develop these gifts on the part of the laity. When visitation was necessary, in his role as the player-coach, Al would take men from the church with him in an attempt to teach them how to take over.
Even though they had acquiesced when we had explained that developing the gifts of the Holy Spirit was a major foundation to our philosophy, the application which expected them to do their share of what the pastor was being paid to do was difficult to understand.
For Al there was no textbook available for a consulting source when he became enmeshed in these problems. He had to find out by doing. In my evaluation, for a young man facing tremendous problems with limited experience, he did a remarkable job. We spent hours together. I was grateful that God had blessed Al with a sense of humor, because he was able to laugh on many occasions when it might have been more appropriate to cry.
I remember the first Pastor’s Class I conducted, in which I began by asking the people to tell who they were and give some background. “After all, it is hard to discuss if we don’t know a little bit about one another.”
The first man was one of the members of the church board. “ My name is Richard, and I am a retired letter carrier.” As he spoke, the wife of the Board chairman gasped, “I didn’t know you were a mail man!”
We can never know everything about anyone, of course, and if this had been an isolated incident we could have accepted it. But, more and more, as people opened to one another in the discussion groups, they discovered facts which should have come out in the previous years of church attendance. That Richard had been a letter carrier clearly revealed the basic elements of his livelihood. If these primary facts were not being communicated, how could they possibly expect complicated trials and needs and despairs to be freely shared?
Sunday’s coming. Do you have your sermon ready? Is it relevant? Will it effectively motivate your congregation to walk more in step with the Master? What about that Sermon Series you’ve been thinking about?
Or, if you’re someone who plans well ahead, have you asked yourself what you will preach for your Easter Sermon, your Advent Sermon, your Christmas Sermon?
David Mains and Mainstay Ministries can help. We offer a wide variety of Sermon Starters and Full Sermons that will give you Sermon Ideas to help you prepare for regular Saturday or Sunday sermons, Mid-week Bible Sermons, and Sermons for special occasions.
We also offer assistance as you create Topical Sermons, Sermons Series, and sermons for special times of the year. We have resources available to help you with Advent Celebrations, Advent Sermons, Christmas Sermons, Easter Sunday Sermons, Patriotic Sermons, and more.
For more information on how to create better Bible Sermons and how to turn Sermon Ideas into Sermon Outlines, and then into effective, meaningful Sunday Sermons, please click here to visit David Mains’ website.
You will also find a variety of resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries website. Just click here.