A Most Needful Message
Keith approached the pulpit, looked at all the familiar faces and gulped:
"Brothers and sisters, I was moved profoundly by something which I read last night about the priesthood of all believers. I am going to speak now from the heart. I love you. I want to see Jesus glorified in you. You will probably be upset by the following, but I am not deterred.
A comfort has set in around here. A luke-warmness. A busy-ness without fruit. I see faces repeatedly which seem to say 'Pastor, pray for me. Pastor teach me what I must know. Pastor affirm me and reassure that I am in the heavenly flock. Pastor show me what I must really know from John's Gospel, or Romans, or Daniel, or Proverbs, or Revelation. Smooth out all the knotty points. Pastor win souls for me. Pastor bring in God's presence for me.' I can entertain this sort of thing no longer.
I assure you that things are going to change. A coach demonstrates strategies, conducts fitness drills and then lets the team go out on the field... AND PLAY! I am going to release you to play ball. Basic Bible study. Yours. Regular use of concordance, dictionary, commentary. Yours. Extended study hours in our Church Library. Yours. Regular burdened corporate prayer in the services. Yours. Regular testimonies of challenge and victory in our gatherings. Yours. Exercise of spiritual gifts for the edification of the Body. Yours. Regular efforts to invite the unchurched to more relaxed gatherings. Yours. Street witness teams on an ongoing basis. Yours. The training of such witnesses. Yours. The mentoring of new believers. Yours.
So, lovingly, I repeat that things are going to change. Expect now to see in me more of the coach or conductor, and less of the surrogate. You are going to become increasingly a conditioned force for righteousness, comfort and truth in this community. Henceforth we will leave many of the other programs to the theatres, restaurants, gymnasiums and social clubs which abound. We are going to make the Body of Christ a vital issue which offers help and hope. We are going to make our Master smile. God help us."