"Pastor Rundell slammed down the cover of his laptop. He had enough. This church was either going to preach the Word of God as it should be preached, or this church, like others, will start to fade away."
Pastor Tony Rundell was in his office trying to get that "thing" which most pastors get when preparing a sermon. That "thing" being the magic thread which connects scripture to real life events. This important, as it usually makes the sermon come to life in today's world.
As Pastor Rundell sat at this computer, staring at the blank screen, the screen seemed to stare back at him. The pastor had nothing. No ideas, no inspiration, nothing. In his heart, he knew what he should be preaching on, and yet, he was told by the church council to "play it safe." This was not a new conversation - it had been going on for some time now.
"Play it safe", because the attendance numbers had been dropping for the past few years. A once vibrant church, was not so much anymore. One of the newer council members, a young man in his late twenties, had a theory. He asked if he could have a one on one meeting with Pastor Rundell.
"We have to get with the program. If we want our numbers to grow, we need to change. We are old and stuffy. The world is changing. Society is changing. Values and norms are changing. If we keep preaching about old stuff that happened two thousand years ago, we will go the way of the Dodo Bird."
When Tony Rundell heard that, he was shocked beyond speech. Two thousand years ago was when Christ walked the Earth. It is what the New Testament is based upon. Part of Pastor Rundell wanted to "school" that young man, right then and there. But the other part, knew there was some truth in what the young man said. Society was changing, and more and more people were tuning out with what the churches had to say.
What is the bottom line? Many of the churches today had "changed" so much to accommodate the crowd, they barely resembled the Bride of Christ. Instead of the Word of God changing people, churches were now changing to "go with the flow". Scripture was being rewritten or interpreted to be worldly instead of Holy. Satan had indeed been doing a job on some of our most important churches.
That is when it hit him like a bolt from the blue. He remembered a sermon he had heard many years ago, when he attended a rally. The sermon was called, "When the church starts acting like the church". It was a powerful and impactful message. Why Christ thought the church was so important for us once he had left. And because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, churches don't thrive when they lose their message - they thrive. And the message they need to thrive is the Word of God.
Pastor Rundell started to think. His mind was spinning from so many ideas. Many things today, which should be addressed from the pulpit - are not. Sin, abortion, serving, forgiving, loving God, loving others - all the things the Word of God tells us, which are important.
Pastor Rundell slammed down the cover of his laptop. He had enough. This church was either going to preach the Word of God as it should be preached, or this church, like others, will start to fade away.
The pastor's mind continued to race. He could write a six or more sermons in one day about topics which are Biblical, even though they might make people squirm. Then he thought, "What would Jesus do? Would Jesus worry about making people squirm by preaching his Father's Word?" That would be a "no".
He called the President of the church council at his place of employment. He knew this might be a tough phone call. One which could end up with the church calling a new pastor to replace him. But he did not care. This was the right thing to do. In fact, he already thought of a name for this Sunday's sermon. And the sermon will not be on a single topic, but rather what the new course will be for the church to follow. And that new course is tackling today's most pressing problems, from a strictly Biblical viewpoint.
When council president Bob Johnson answered his phone, Pastor Rundell gave him the news. About the new direction in the sermons he wanted to take. After Pastor Rundell finished explaining to Bob why this was so important for the church, to keep it Biblical, there was a silence over the phone. "Are you sure about this Tony? Sounds like a big risk to me."
Pastor Rundell felt a big smile come across his face. "Yes Bob, it is somewhat of a risk. But this journey was never meant to be smooth and easy. The Bible tells us that. I think when the people start hearing the bedrock principles the Word teaches us, and how we can take those those principles into the world to really practice The Great Commission, this church will be where it should be."
After the phone conversation was over, Bob had given Pastor Rundell a "soft" okay to proceed. Before the final approval, this matter would need to be discussed with the full council. That being said, Pastor Rundell knew that this first sermon following the new direction would have to be something which would really grab people's attention.
He already had the name for this first sermon, as it would set the tone for the rest of the sermon series. Maybe the rest of the life of the church. A brief smile spread across the pastor's face as his started to type the title of his first sermon. It was based on one of his favorite boyhood hymns. With quivering fingers, he started to type, "Go tell it on the mountain."