I preach boring sermons to weed out the pretenders and scare off the entertain-me-now crowd. And also because I’m boring.
I really am a failure at being a pastor. The results are in: I suck at this.
When I examine how I do my job and the pathetic results I’m getting, defensiveness enters the picture. Maybe I’m not that bad. Maybe it’s this church and these people. Maybe it’s the society we live in. Maybe it’s our location and how our church is set up.
I can find spiritual sounding reasons why I get the results I get: My sermons are tough, they are in-depth. I’m probably too spiritual for most people. People can’t handle the sound doctrine I drop on them every week. They can’t bear up. It just means I’m preaching the offense of the cross and confronting sin. People hate the light! I must be throwing lots of light out there, because people sure seem to hate what I’m doing.
I will give some benefit of the doubt that this could be part of the problem. I do think I preach the cross and confront sin. I know a number of people who blatantly told me that’s why they left.
Preaching in-depth, doctrinally sound sermons is a good way to weed out pretenders, people who are there for other reasons. If our churches are massively entertaining, you don’t have any idea why people are there. At least if your church is boring, you know they’re not there for enjoyment!
I know, that’s a sick twisted way to think, but alas, it’s quite true! It’s along the lines of persecution. Persecution is a really good way to find out who is legitimate with their faith and who is playing games. Boring sermons are a safer form of persecution, and creates the same results!
But I know this isn’t the whole story.
It might just be that I suck and my sermons are boring.
This is one of the things I look forward to about judgment and eternity. First of all, with judgment, God will let me know if my sermons were any good and if my pastoring has any redeeming qualities. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of it anyway.
Secondly, in eternity no one will need to be taught anymore! I won’t have to be a pastor for eternity! I won’t have to wonder how I’m doing or what other people are doing. Everything will be righteous and good.
I cannot explain how much I look forward to being with Christ and all this being over. The not knowing kills me. The insecurity, the confusion, the justifications that may or may not be right. The inner tension that fills me when weird things happen in front of me and I have no idea how I’m supposed to respond. There will be no more guessing.
No more guessing might be the most brutal thing though! I will know and what if what I learn is devastating?!
I half expect the Lord to say, “Um, not sure why you kept on being a pastor. I made it pretty clear down there that this was not your thing. Most others pick up on this when 9 people show up for church three weeks in a row, but not you. How dense are you?”
Granted, I do think the Lord will be a little more gracious in how He states it, but boy howdy, this assessment seems like a legitimate potential.
I can justify my work but that doesn’t change the reality of what it is. Maybe I have high motives and righteous explanations for my failures, and maybe I just suck.
Either way, even so, Lord, come quickly, and be merciful to me a sinner.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.