I was overcome with joy this Sunday as I listened to a young man preach God’s word in my church: he was faithful to the text, he heralded the gospel of Jesus, he stirred my soul. Tragically, many church planters and pastors never experience this. They never share their pulpits. Fear, pride, and laziness generally drive this, and it harms Christ’s church and, ironically, the pastor himself.
1. You need a break
Do you want to preach God’s word for the long haul? Take regular weeks off to let God refill your tank and let others feed your soul. Don’t burn out by trying to preach 52 weeks a year. Many fear that the church won’t succeed apart from such a commitment. Don’t fool yourself. You are not that important.
2. You need to share
Do you see a plurality of elders taught in Scripture? Share the teaching load with those leaders. Not all elders will be suited for preaching, but many will. Leadership and teaching are closely tied together in biblical eldership. Let them influence Christ’s church and take some of the burden of leadership from you through preaching. Many fear that listeners will prefer the preaching of those other men to themselves. Don’t buy that. You are not the point.
3. You need some sympathy
Do you feel alone in the struggles of preaching? Let someone else take a stab at it. The old joke that a pastor only works on Sundays won’t garner many laughs as other men take turns wrestling with God and a text and then proclaiming the results to God’s people. Many fear that sharing the pulpit will invite further criticism of their weakness, but generally the opposite occurs. Don't be so insecure.
4. You are called to equip
Do you want to raise up other leaders in your church? Give men an opportunity to preach. Ephesians 4:12 says that we are "to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Pastors aren’t called to do all the ministry.
The health of our churches and the future of His kingdom depend upon saints being equipped and entrusted to do Christ’s work. This includes preaching. Many fear the quality of preaching will suffer if others are empowered, yet this is generally overstated. Don’t believe that. You are not that gifted.
Share the pulpit!
Yours may not be the fastest-growing church out there, there may be a rough message here and there, but God may use one of those men to change the world. Take some breaks. Train men. It’s not about you.
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