In my middle years, I was caught up in a move, on the part of a handful of congregants, to remove the Senior Pastor of the church in which I served as lead deacon. The complaint was that his preaching style was too simple, too pedestrian, lacking intellectual rigor. There was some truth behind this opinion.
But as I was later to learn, it overlooked one thing.
One Sunday evening, at the same time these machinations about the Pastor were going on, my oldest daughter and I sat in the church as this Pastor delivered another ‘light-weight’ sermon. I had some difficulty staying focused on his message, but this was not a problem for my daughter. In fact, as the sermon progressed it became clear to me that she was squirming in her seat under much conviction. At the conclusion of the service, as was this Pastor’s practice, he gave the congregation an opportunity to respond to the call of the Lord. My daughter almost climbed over the empty pews in front of us, so anxious was she to get to the front to declare her faith.
Later that evening, as we were driving home, she commented, “Dad, I can’t understand why everyone in the church didn’t go forward.”
Out of the mouths of babes! This is what the discontented, myself included, had overlooked. God uses the simple words of a faithful servant to carry out His purposes. True – this Pastor may have been a mediocre preacher – but when the Holy Spirit empowered his words – he was a giant.
One final thought.
Naturally, this event stopped my participation in the demise of this Pastor. With the Lord’s help, I used this story to convince the discontents to listen to the Pastor with a new spirit. As we did, though his sermons remained simple, the message they conveyed were profound.