There are two questions that every pastor will ask when preparing a message.
The First: “What do these people want me to say?” is dangerous because if this is your goal you will never preach a good message. Why?
- You won’t be reformed enough for some people…and too reformed for others.
- You will be too serious for some…and not serious enough for others.
- You will use too much Scripture for some…and not enough for others.
- You will come across to some people as too nice…and to others as too harsh.
- You will really encourage some people…and really frustrate others.
- You WILL say something at some point that will be completely politically incorrect…will offend someone…and they will let you know.
- People WILL take what you say out of context…and tell others that you said things that you never did actually say.
I could go on…but I think we all know that preaching to impress people leads to a dangerous place in ministry…because we can never please the crowd all the time, and doing so is a recipe for insanity! (Paul was on to something when he wrote Galatians 1:10!)
The second question is: “What does Jesus want me to say?” When what He is saying gets in our hearts and sets us on fire (Jeremiah 20:9), that is what we must preach!
- We must be consumed by Him and not controlled by others!
- We must be obsessed with the Almighty and not with what all the people think.
- We must seek to honor HIS call on our lives rather than “their call” to the church!
- We must share Christ.
We cannot allow the One who called us to merely be our “good luck charm.” You know: we throw together a message and then ask Him to bless it.
We must hear His voice and then preach, knowing people will be offended, people will get upset, but ultimately people will come to Christ and His name will be lifted higher!
His name, not our reputation, should be our obsession.