Pulpit Time

Pulpit Time
 
 
The New Testament clearly presents the qualifications for church leaders (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and other related scripture). Therefore, a church body must prayerfully and carefully fill its pastoral position(s) based on these scriptural requirements. But once a pastor is selected and becomes fully accepted by the congregation (a transition time is always to be allowed/expected), how often is a pastor’s overall effectiveness in leading the church in obedience to God evaluated?
 
 
There are many aspects to a pastor’s overall duties (counseling, witnessing, visitation, etc.). But the primary duty of the pastor is to faithfully preach the Word of God to the flock entrusted to him (Acts 6:1-4). To allow the pastor time to effectively bring forth the Word, elders, deacons, administrators, teachers and others in the church support the overall ministry needs.
 
 
Critical Point – Before you consider evaluating your pastor’s sermons, you must start by evaluating your attitude. We often talk about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sermons. How often do we prayerfully consider if we have properly prepared to hear the Word of God and if we have a good or bad attitude as we sit in the congregation? Ask yourself before God, ‘Do I have a critical spirit? Have I spent the last week studying Your Word?’
 
This devotion is focused on evaluating three specific aspects of your pastor’s Pulpit Time. When he preaches, is your pastor:
 
 
Engaging or Entertaining
  • Keeps your attention with the truth, power and application of God’s Word OR plays on your emotions with jokes, stories, and drama.
  • Committed to challenging and convicting your spirit OR determined to tickle your funny bone and/or getting you to cry.
    • There is absolutely nothing wrong with jokes and stories. Often these help set the tone, illustrate a point, or prepare a heart. But what is the primary focus of the sermon?
      • 2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
 
 
Prepared or Proud
  • In-depth analysis and explanation of God’s Word OR endless examination of the pastor’s life, experiences and personal preferences.
  • Seeking God each week in His Word and prayer; learning as He prepares to humbly bring the message OR dedicated to self-fulfilling activities and pursuing opportunities to demonstrate his self-proclaimed holiness; knowing he can rely on his wit and charm to deliver a stirring speech on Sunday.
    • Our pastors must have time to: focus on their families; relax and enjoy life; build strong relationships with other faithful men of God; etc. But is the pastor spending adequate time in prayer, Bible study and sermon preparation?
      • 1 Timothy 6:3-4 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
 
 
Focused on God or gods
  • The Lord God Almighty is at the center of the sermons OR the focus of the message is programs, promotions and politics?
  • The full counsel of God’s Word is shared by speaking the truth in love OR seeker friendly talks leave everyone feeling good about themselves, their lives and their possessions while no one feels convicted of their sin or the urgent need for salvation in Christ
    • A healthy church will always have some programs to serve its members and its community; promote various activities and fundraisers; and engage in meaningful discussion and prayer concerning our governmental leaders. But the focus of a sermon must be on lovingly sharing the height and depth and width of God’s Word such that the lost are saved and that Christians continue to grow in grace and truth.
      • Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ
This devotion can’t possibly cover all the various aspects of evaluating the effectiveness of your pastor’s sermons. The idea is to get you thinking about the content and primary focus of what you here delivered from the pulpit of your church. Please, pray for your     pastor(s) and always treat them with respect. You are under the authority of your pastor as long as you are part of his flock (1 Peter 5:5).  Also, I am not talking about one sermon you didn't like; an honest evaluation could take months or longer.

Praise and thank God for those pastors who are Engaging, Prepared and Focused on God!  Soak up the blessings as you sit under their teaching and pray that God will continue to use them powerfully.  Pray diligently for any pastors who may be Entertaining, Proud and Focused on gods.  Humble seek God's direction about if you can positively impact the situation while ensuring you and your family are in a church that faithfully proclaims the Word of God.
 
 
Prayer
 
 
Father, forgive me for the times I have not openly received Your Word as it was faithfully preached; and thank You for the multitude of sermons that have helped educate me and shape my faith in You. I pray that this devotion will convict those who sit in congregations with a critical spirit. I also pray that it would help those who may be sitting in churches under preaching that does not honor You and Your Holy Word. Blessed be Your Holy name LORD! I pray in the name of my savior Jesus Christ, Amen.