As the vibrations from the band fade away, the stage fog recedes, and the theater lighting dims, you saunter across the stage, place your Bible on the high-top table and settle into the matching chair. You take a moment to peer out at the thousands who are ready to hear you preach a motivational message perfectly timed to not a second more than 20 minutes ...
... or so goes the dream for many of today's church leaders.
One of the problems with that dream is current reality.
For most, the preacher stands on a simple stage before about 75 people in a modest meeting place and takes on various roles: making announcements, sharing a communion and offering mediation, leading prayer, and sometimes even leading worship.
Then he finally preaches, but not to the audience he has. Instead, he preaches to the audience he dreams of having.
That's because the dream of ministry stardom is his dream, not a shared dream of those comprising his audience.
The people in the pews make up a handful of families and singles. The devoted are more interested in seeing their neighbors come to Christ than the church reaching any kind of "mega" or "multi-" status, and the others are present out of a sense of duty or guilt.
God has a lot to say to this little fellowship of followers. The question is, will the preacher bring that message, or preach to the audience he wishes he had?
There's certainly nothing wrong with dreaming of being used to proclaim the Gospel to thousands. After all, Christ's commission to the church is to make disciples of all the nations. But to reach the whole world, you first have to reach and serve the people you're with.
You have to preach to the audience you have rather than the one you dream of having.
Which one are you preaching to?
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