Friday, September 07, 2007

Guest Speakers

I enjoyed this post by Vince Antonucci about guest speakers. I don't have very many guest speakers other than missionaries. I have even changed my approach to having them speak. If I don't know if said missionary can preach effectively then I often just give them a window to share. I have several friends who are full time "evangelists" meaning that they are itinerant preachers. My concern in having a guest is that I have spent almost six years working on a culture in our services. I have a style of preaching that works for us (as far as I can tell). Let me elaborate if I can.

I try not to be condemning. It is easy to condemn large groups of people such as gays, drug users, democrats, republicans, etc. It is also easy to go after vague categories such as the media, Hollywood, rock music, rappers, TV, etc. It is easy to use statistics to make a point but they are so easy manipulated that often statistics are meaningless. I try not to take scripture out of context and often preach verse by verse through whole books of the Bible. I don't use heavy manipulation in alter calls (although I do have them sometimes). We pray for the sick in every service and the altars are open for ministry but I never prolong and drag out the end of my message simply to get a result. I never speculate about the identity of the anti-christ or the date of Jesus return other than stressing that Jesus return is closer now than it was yesterday.

I have gotten plenty of complaints from Christians, many from our church (most of whom have left) about my not doing these things. But I feel like I am giving the messages that God wants our church to have. If I bring in some wild card that I don't know and a friend shows up who I or someone in the church have literally spent weeks,months or years building relationship with they can be scared away in one service by someone whose approach is radically different than mine. This is not to say that those speakers are wrong or don't love Jesus. I am saying that their style might not fit in our context and culture. I feel like I am the best judge of whether it is a good fit.

So that is my thinking on why we have so few speakers other than yours truly at Abundant Life. I am praying for and trying to build up others with the gift of teaching. In the future I hope for some home grown folks to teach and preach some of the time. Until then I am serious about my responsibility to guard the flock. Good post by Vince.

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